The Corporate Sector

Corporate activities drive deforestation processes. To distract from their role in forest destruction, corporations engage in public-private initiatives, preferably with conservation NGOs. These fora play a crucial role in greenwashing their image, and in implementing strategies to weaken community resistance to corporate destruction. The corporate sector lobbies governments and politicians, often aggressively, to obtain priority access to land, incentives and subsidies. Corporations also put pressure on international policy processes in order to protect and expand their profits.

British firms not only controlled 80 per cent of the established ‘logging lands’ in Thailand, but they also influenced the establishment of the Royal Forest Department, which came to have total power over the nation’s forests. Massive land grabs and various colonial laws made half the country’s territory into a colony of the central state.
Colonial and anti-colonial movements’ have deeply shaped the patterns and impacts of concessions in SE Asia. In some cases, communities have experienced dispossession through land grabs dressed as concessions. In others, concessions are part of a re-concentration of land holding. Either way, the concession model fits well with ideologies of modernisation.