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close this bookPartners in Time? Business, NGOs and Sustainable Development (UNRISD, 1999, 85 p.)
close this folderPart 1: The changing nature of business-ngo relations
close this folderToward an Understanding of Business-NGO Relations
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View the documentTheoretical Perspectives on Business-NGO Relations


One of the goals of this paper is to offer a clearer understanding of why and how business-NGO relations on sustainable development have begun to change in recent years. It is hoped that this will promote new thinking about the future role of corporations in the sustainable development of the South. As noted earlier, research on the specific area of business-NGO relations on sustainable development has, until recently, been limited. The literature on environmental management, civil society, conflict theory, public-private partnerships and inter-organizational collaboration offers important insights of relevance to this discussion. Recent action-oriented research on business-environmental group partnerships presents additional useful perspectives. Before considering what the three case studies reveal about the characteristics of business-NGO relations, we review briefly some of these theoretical perspectives.