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 9: Conclusions

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


The main contribution of this book is the theoretical and empirical investigation of an as yet under-explored area of contemporary environmental politics: the formation and effectiveness of non-state governance institutions. In this chapter, I review and discuss critical observations from the case studies that help to answer my three overarching research questions: ● ● ● How can we explain the emergence of non-state certification programs in the forest and fisheries sectors? How do certain program designs emerge, and how and to what extent does program design influence standard-setting outcomes? What is the effectiveness of certification programs in resolving or ameliorating the problems that motivated their establishment? This chapter begins with an examination of the factors that underlie the emergence of forest and fisheries certification programs. The second section reviews evidence that sheds light on the question of how program design influences standard-setting outcomes. The third section examines the organizational mimicry that has occurred among certification programs within and across the forest and fisheries sectors. The fourth section examines the crucial question of what is known about the problem-solving effectiveness of certification. In closing, the fifth section offers some concluding remarks and suggests directions for future research. INSTITUTIONAL EMERGENCE Certification programs in the forest and fisheries sectors developed from concerns about environmental degradation, resource depletion and insufficient governmental action to address the problems. Intergovernmental efforts on behalf of forests and fisheries were important for certification initiatives, in what they did and did not produce. Whereas forest certification was a response to the lack of...

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