The impacts of globalization on environment sustainability are hotly contested, with major environmental protests held at international economic meetings or prominent multilateral trade forums. A major assumption was that the degradation of the environment in developing countries was due primarily to poverty.
Some advocates of globalization consider free trade to be a solution to alleviate poverty and subsequently, reduce pollution. However, the arguments depend upon corporate social responsibility, managerial knowledge of environmental sustainability, and a level of ignorance in the developing community.
Critics find that often large MNCs have greater financial resources than some developing countries, which can be used to compromise and derail regulatory regimes from protecting the environment. For example, while a MNC may not produce or sell certain environmentally damaging products in a country with tight regulatory controls, they may find their way to markets with fewer environmental regulatory constraints—”pollution havens.” This line of logic leads to the notion of globalization becoming a “race to the bottom” as countries compete with lowering of environmental standards to attract foreign capital for economic development.