Transnational Environmental Governance

Transnational Environmental Governance

The Emergence and Effects of the Certification of Forests and Fisheries

Lars H. Gulbrandsen

In recent years a wide range of non-state certification programs have emerged to address environmental and social problems associated with the extraction of natural resources. This book provides a general analytical framework for assessing the emergence and effectiveness of voluntary certification programs. It focuses on certification in the forest and fisheries sectors, as initiatives in these sectors are among the most advanced cases of non-state standard setting and governance in the environmental realm.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Lars H. Gulbrandsen

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, environment, corporate social responsibility, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy

Extract

A multitude of public and private organizations engage in international standard-setting processes. Some organizations establish technical standards to coordinate business or government behavior for a number of issue areas like the distribution of radio frequencies, international aviation, maritime classification and transportation, global communication systems, financial reporting and accounting, the size and shape of nuts and bolts and the like. Other organizations set standards for international games and sports, governing everything from international football events to the organization of local chess clubs around the world. Some organizations develop standards for voluntary information disclosure: two examples are the Global Reporting Initiative, a leading global standard in the field of nonfinancial reporting; and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a public-private initiative created to increase the transparency of payments made by companies in the extractive industries to host governments. Other organizations, like the chemical industry’s Responsible Care, develop industry-wide codes of conduct to promote specific principles, norms and guidelines for environmentally responsible conduct. It is evident, then, that standard setting is neither a new activity nor a phenomenon limited to specific industries or sectors (Brunsson and Jacobsson 2000). Over the past two decades, however, non-state actors have created a new type of institution for transnational environmental governance – in the shape of market-based certification programs. Various non-state certification schemes have emerged in response to perceived public policy failures, and have become particularly vibrant sources of rulemaking and governance. Sometimes referred to as the ‘privatization of governance’, non-state certification schemes have been launched in many sectors,...