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 7: The Adoption and Impact of Fisheries Certification

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


In 2009, MSC celebrated its first ten years as an independent and operational certification program. Given the experience of a decade of operations, it is interesting to undertake a critical examination of MSC’s achievements and effectiveness in delivering on its promises to reverse the decline of fish stocks and enhance marine conservation. This chapter examines the effectiveness of MSC by looking at producer adoption of the program, patterns of adoption, the effects of the certification process, and criticisms of and challenges for the program. As in Chapter 4, particular attention is paid to the question of how patterns of adoption influence the effectiveness of the program, and a distinction is made between the direct effects of a certification scheme and the broader consequences that flow from the emergence of that scheme. Using a narrow definition of effectiveness, fisheries certification would be judged effective if it contributed directly to the resolution of the problems it was created to address (overfishing, environmental harm resulting from fishing). Yet a broad conception of effectiveness would consider not only direct effects, but also environmental, social and economic effects that were not necessarily intended or anticipated. This chapter examines both narrow, problem-solving effectiveness and the broader consequences of fisheries certification. The chapter begins with an examination of patterns of producer adoption of the certification program. The second section seeks to explain patterns of adoption, paying particular attention to the types of fisheries that participate in the program and the extent of participation in developing countries. In...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information