Global Standards, Corporate Diagrams and Indigenous Agency: ExxonMobil in Russia and Alaska

Authors

  • Maria Tysiachniouk Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
  • Laura Henry Department of Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College, USA
  • Leah S. Horowitz Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
DOI: https://doi.org/10.23865/arctic.v13.3549

Abstract

This paper examines how a transnational corporation (TNC) translates global standards and corporate policies into programs at sites of extraction. We explore this question through a comparative analysis of ExxonMobil’s operations in two different politico-economic contexts: the Sakhalin-1 project in Russia and the Point Thomson project on the North Slope of Alaska, with field work on Sakhalin Island in 2013–2015 and in Alaska in 2015–2018. Theoretically, we use the Deleuzian concept of “diagram” as a lens through which to examine corporate policies, and a governance generating network (GGN) approach to analyze similarities and differences in benefit-sharing programs in both localities. We show that while global commitments and corporate principles contribute to a standardized approach to community engagement, Indigenous movements and associations, the government, and other corporate actors may play important roles in influencing how corporate policies and global standards are implemented at sites of extraction. Moreover, adaptation of community engagement, benefit-sharing, and environmental monitoring in one location may shape how the company’s strategies are implemented in other sites of extraction.

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Author Biographies

Maria Tysiachniouk, Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Also: Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands; Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA; and Centre for Independent Social Research, Russia

Laura Henry, Department of Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College, USA

Professor

Published

2022-02-02

How to Cite

Tysiachniouk, M., Henry, L., & Horowitz, L. (2022). Global Standards, Corporate Diagrams and Indigenous Agency: ExxonMobil in Russia and Alaska. Arctic Review, 13, 1–31. https://doi.org/10.23865/arctic.v13.3549

Issue

Section

Original Articles

Keywords:

Sakhalin Island, Alaska North Slope, Arctic, benefit-sharing, corporate social responsibility, governance generating networks, transnational corporations, non-governmental organizations, global standards, Indigenous peoples