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Private Capital Flows and the Environment

Lessons from Latin America Edited by Bradford S. Gentry, Project Director, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University, US
With the dramatic shift from foreign aid to private investment as the engine of growth in many developing countries, what are the environmental implications? Can private capital actually be used to put us on the path to sustainable development? These are the questions tackled in Private Capital Flows and the Environment.
Extent: 400 pp
Hardback Price: $181.00 Web: $162.90
Publication Date: 1999
ISBN: 978 1 85898 957 0
Availability: In Stock
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  • eISBN: 978 1 84064 771 6

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  • Economics and Finance
  • Environmental Economics
  • International Accounting
  • Environment
  • Environmental Economics
Many different types of private investment are described and their impact on the environment analyzed, leading to the conclusion – surprising for many – that improved environmental performance can accompany foreign direct investment. The book, the first in-depth study of these important links, is built around a series of case studies of various industries in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica. The authors, a multi-national, multi-disciplinary team of experts, show how governments of developing countries can actually attract foreign investors by integrating environmental considerations into their investment promotion efforts. The book also identifies points of leverage for actions by governments, investors, environmental groups, and customers to increase even further the environmental benefits that can accompany private capital flows.

This book makes an important and timely contribution to the debate on foreign direct investment and sustainable development. It will be of great interest to scholars and students of environmental economics, development economics, international finance, law, and management as well as to policymakers, environmental advocates, and private investors.
‘Gentry and his co-authors provide a set of case studies of the environmental impact of private capital flows into four Latin American countries. What emerges are some important insights into, first, how these flows affect the environment (with some surprises), and, second, how public and private agents can work together to accommodate both commercial gain and improved environmental performance. Private capital flows, properly channeled, can contribute to our goal of sustainable development.’
– Wallace E. Oates, University of Maryland, US

‘The authors succeed admirably in introducing the reader to the main issues and complexities surrounding this topic. . . . The book’s major contribution, in my opinion, is that it challenges the conventional wisdom–widely held in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world–that governments have sole responsibility for ensuring that environmental standards are met.’
– Dennis J. Mahar, The World Bank, US

‘Gentry and his colleagues have written a comprehensive and authoritative assessment of private capital flows to emerging market countries and of their impacts on the environment. They emphasize the critical role that private capital plays in the financial transfers from post-industrial to developing nations (far exceeding foreign aid) and illustrate the impact on four Latin American countries. Their analyses of the impacts, both positive and negative, of capital investment on environment and natural resources in emerging market countries yield the first objective assessment of how capital flows affect the prospects for sustainable development. This book will become a basic reference for policy makers, business executives, students of development, and environmental groups in discussions of the environmental consequences of economic globalization in the 21st century. The lessons of experience summarized here provide a strong set of directions for putting both wealthy nations and emerging market countries on the path to sustainable development.’
– Dennis A. Rondinelli, University of North Carolina, US

‘An important and timely contribution to the debate on sustainable development in the developing world and--implicitly--on the future of foreign aid. . . . It provides a balanced and much-needed assessment of the environmental effect that private capital flows--notably foreign direct investment--can exercise on the state of the environment in the developing world.’
– Cord Jakobeit, Stanford-in-Berlin Centre, Germany

With the dramatic shift from foreign aid to private investment as the engine of growth in many developing countries, what are the environmental implications? Can private capital actually be used to put us on the path to sustainable development? These are the questions tackled in Private Capital Flows and the Environment.
Contributors: E.R. Brenes, V. Burijson, L. Castelli, A.B. de Castro, A.C. Castro, L. Castro, L.O. Fernandez, B.S. Gentry, V. Gonçalves da Vinha, B.W. Husted, N. Kapur, D. Lavalle Cobo, P.H. May, G. Quijandria, A.K. Reynolds, J. Rivera, E. Rodriguez, J.R. Walsh
Contents: 1. Overview – Private Capital Flows and the Environment Part I: Flows 2. Taxonomy – Foreign Private Investment in Emerging Markets 3. Experience – Private Capital Flows to Four Latin American Countries Part II: Environmental Aspects of Foreign Direct Investment 4. Agriculture – Cases from Brazil and Costa Rica 5. Manufacturing – Cases from Mexico and Costa Rica 6. Privatization – Argentina and Mexico 7. Public–Private Partnerships – Costa Rica and Mexico Part III: Ways Forward 8. Lessons – The Environmental Content of Private Capital Flows 9. Policy Implications – Leverage Points and Changing Roles 10. Opportunities – Increasing the Environmental Content of Private Capital Flows 11. Further Work – Steps on the Path to Sustainable Development Bibliography