Capitalization of the Global Green Economy: An Analysis of South Carolina’s Current Foreign Direct Investment Efforts and Suggestions for Continued Sustainability

As a national role model in its approach to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), South Carolina depends on the global economy and relies on a sizable proportion of foreign corporations for its long-term economic welfare. Since the colonial days, South Carolina has had a long history of success in the global market, recognizing opportunities and creating the conditions necessary for future success. Given South Carolina’s economic reliance on FDI, it is imperative the state maintain its international status as a premier destination for foreign businesses looking to access the United States.

Evidence suggests that the global economy is trending toward a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) understanding of corporate societal roles and that corporations are increasingly considering a broader range of stakeholders in their decision-making. Both large and small corporations face increasing pressure from consumers, competitors, government regulators, shareholders, and the global society to act in more “socially responsible” ways. As these pressures grow, it becomes increasingly clear that it is in corporations’ long-term best interest to broaden the scope of stakeholder considerations in decision-making. This Note focuses on the manifestation of environmental sustainability in CSR—an issue especially critical to South Carolina’s leading investors, which include German and other European businesses.

In South Carolina, the relationships and infrastructure needed to continue successful inbound FDI in a changing global economy already exist. It is time for the state to recognize these trends and consider how best to incorporate them in its approach to attracting FDI. By recognizing the push toward environmentally sustainable business, South Carolina can capitalize on an opportunity to maintain and even increase its preeminence in the national inbound FDI market, ensuring a lasting, healthy state economy. To that end, this Note highlights changing global market conditions and suggests measures that South Carolina can implement to remain a premier destination for inbound FDI—positioning itself for generational success and economic development.

Part II discusses South Carolina’s strategic approach to attracting inbound FDI, including its high-level governmental support, use of various legal incentives, and implementation of statewide programs to ensure a qualified workforce capable of meeting the needs of foreign businesses. After looking at the state’s strategic approach and recognizing its success, Part III highlights the ways in which the global economy is becoming more environmentally sustainable and acknowledges the pressures placed on South Carolina’s potential investors because of that change. Finally, Part IV offers suggestions for how South Carolina can support businesses responding to global pressures and, in the process, add to its arsenal of strategic FDI recruitment tactics.