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Biodiesel and social inclusion: An analysis of institutional pressures between biodiesel plants and family farmers in southern Brazil

Barros Ribeiro, Eliene Cristina, Moreira, António Carrizo, Ferreira, Luís Miguel D.F., da Silva César, Aldara
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.204 pp. 726-734
auctions, biodiesel, case studies, certification, cooperatives, farmers, qualitative analysis, raw materials, Brazil
The objective of this study is to identify, through motivating, inhibiting and facilitating factors, responses to institutional pressures on the relationship between biodiesel plants and family farming cooperatives via the Social Fuel Seal (SFS) in the South region of Brazil. This region is characterized by well-endowed family farming cooperatives. This paper adopts as theoretical lens the institutional theory. It is based on case studies involving qualitative research drawing results from four biodiesel plants with SFS certification and eight family farming cooperatives. The results indicate that the institutional biodiesel framework influenced the SFS-based relationships. This coercion mechanism led the plants to comply with the promotion of family farming via cooperatives. The plants seek legal legitimacy and opt to accept institutional pressures, primarily due to the guaranteed sale of all biodiesel produced via government sponsored auctions. Cooperatives are attracted by the receipt of the social bonus, seen as a prime motivating factor, which can be interpreted as an informal coercive pressure. Considering the context in which the plants and cooperatives are inserted, the SFS promoted changes in the sale of raw materials. It was also found that cooperatives facilitating factors are inversely related with plants inhibiting factors.