The present research aims to investigate the role of states in governing the sustain- ability trajectories and decisions of companies and their local communities. Drawing on Dean’s (Governmentality: power and rule in modern society, SAGE, London, 2009) “analytics of government” as the theoretical framework, the paper focuses on detecting how the Italian Government “problematised” the sustainability-related risks associated with the ILVA steel plant in Taranto, whose levels of pollution have worried both the Italian authorities and the European Union Commission. The anal- ysis also considers the “regimes of governance” under which the risks have been addressed and then explains the “utopian ideal” that the Italian Government tried to achieve by allowing the company to continue its activity, contrary to the Italian Judiciary’s provision to halt the hot working area of the steel plant in July 2012. Patterns related to Dean’s framework were identi ed through an iterative process of manual elaborative coding of the o cial documents ascribable to the main actors involved in governing the sustainability-related risks at ILVA. The ndings show that the Italian Government took its decisions on ILVA in the name of relevant risks of unemployment, economic development and territorial competitiveness. The Ital- ian Government adopted several practices of governance to make these risks more “visible” and to silence the environmental and health risks that, otherwise, would have emphasised the unsustainability of the business activities. The paper extends the growing body of research that investigates corporate (un)sustainability practices by showing how states may directly in uence sustainability-related corporate risks in the name of a higher public interest.

The governmentality of corporate (un)sustainability: the case of the ILVA steel plant in Taranto (Italy)

Alessandro Lai
;
Silvia Panfilo;Riccardo Stacchezzini.
2019

Abstract

The present research aims to investigate the role of states in governing the sustain- ability trajectories and decisions of companies and their local communities. Drawing on Dean’s (Governmentality: power and rule in modern society, SAGE, London, 2009) “analytics of government” as the theoretical framework, the paper focuses on detecting how the Italian Government “problematised” the sustainability-related risks associated with the ILVA steel plant in Taranto, whose levels of pollution have worried both the Italian authorities and the European Union Commission. The anal- ysis also considers the “regimes of governance” under which the risks have been addressed and then explains the “utopian ideal” that the Italian Government tried to achieve by allowing the company to continue its activity, contrary to the Italian Judiciary’s provision to halt the hot working area of the steel plant in July 2012. Patterns related to Dean’s framework were identi ed through an iterative process of manual elaborative coding of the o cial documents ascribable to the main actors involved in governing the sustainability-related risks at ILVA. The ndings show that the Italian Government took its decisions on ILVA in the name of relevant risks of unemployment, economic development and territorial competitiveness. The Ital- ian Government adopted several practices of governance to make these risks more “visible” and to silence the environmental and health risks that, otherwise, would have emphasised the unsustainability of the business activities. The paper extends the growing body of research that investigates corporate (un)sustainability practices by showing how states may directly in uence sustainability-related corporate risks in the name of a higher public interest.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3713674
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