The discourse of sustainable development : business groups, local government and NGOs in Juarez (Mexico) and El Paso (USA)
The thesis proposes and develops a threefold categorisation as a framework for the analysis of the sustainable development (SD) discourse of business groups, local government and NGOs in the Mexico-US border region and specifically in the border cities of Juarez (Chihuahua, Mexico) and El Paso (Texas, US). The SD categorisation proposed in this thesis consists of three schools of thought, namely, Ecologism, Ecologically-sustainable-Development (EsD) and Corporate-Environmentalism. The thesis investigates how and why Corporate- Environmentalism came to dominate sustainable development discourse in the 1990s. Based on data collected in the border region of Juarez and El Paso, this thesis argues that Corporate-Environmentalism strongly influenced the sustainable development discourse of business groups, local government and NGOs and became the prevailing orthodoxy in the sustainable development discourse of the region during the 1990s. In the course of the same decade, ideas of Ecologism and Ecologically-sustainable-Development were marginalised and lost significant support, whilst Corporate-Environmentalism shaped the majority of respondents' sustainable development discourse and practices. The complex interrelations between the sustainable development discourse of the 1990s and the views of business environmental managers, local government officers, and NGO members/leaders in the region of Juarez/El Paso are discussed. Career mobility of personnel of the three groups (business groups, local government and NGOs), and other factors such as their different educational and professional background, and training shed light on how and why Corporate-Environmentalism became the dominant view within the sustainable development discourse of the 1990s. This research is grounded on the qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out with business environmental managers, local government officers and NGO members/leaders. The interviews were conducted with those responsible for the implementation and promotion of SD policies that embroil mid-level and senior environmental professionals. The analysis in this thesis is comparative in as much as it analyses the differences and similarities of the SD discourse and practices within and between business groups, local government and NGOs. Finally, the thesis analyses the extent to which SD discourse affected approaches to the natural environment of the region of Juarez/El Paso, as well as in other regions in developing and developed countries during the 1990s.