Despite the criticism, frequent in the literature, of business influence on the formulation of pesticide risk regulation, there has been remarkably little systematic study of this practice. This article discusses Costa Rica pesticide producers’ business influence on global and national efforts to improve risk regulation. Generic pesticide producers, selling off-patent chemicals, contest the views of traditional, research-based pesticide companies, which demand stricter application of global regulatory guidelines. These business sectors use different forms of power (as identified in neo-Gramscian theory) for bending regulation to their advantage. The argument developed here builds on neo-pluralist business conflict theory for explaining shifts in environmental governance. It challenges a recently made argument that business conflict increases the state’s ability to issue more restrictive environmental regulation. Instead, to truly understand the outcomes of business conflict–environmental governance interactions and the implementation of global environmental standards, researchers should analyze the structural heterogeneity within states.

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