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Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Edited by Peter Dauvergne

The first Handbook of original articles by leading scholars of global environmental politics, this landmark volume maps the latest theoretical and empirical research in this young and growing field. Captured here are the dynamic and energetic debates over concerns for the health of the planet and how they might best be addressed.
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Chapter 14: Environmental Regulation, Certification and Corporate Standards: A Critique

Ronnie D. Lipschutz


14 Environmental regulation, certification and corporate standards: a critique Ronnie D. Lipschutz In 1992, representatives of 180 of the world’s nations met in Rio de Janeiro at the Earth Summit. Among the documents they debated and considered was an Agreement on Forestry Principles. Carrying the unwieldy title ‘Nonlegally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests’, the statement was the result of several years of sustained, intensive negotiation and controversy, a product of growing concern during the 1980s and early 1990s about the future of the world’s remaining tropical forests. That this meeting was taking place in Brazil was especially apposite for two reasons. On the one hand, the burning forests of Amazonia had, during the late 1980s, served to focus global attention on their survival as well as their role in the global environment, especially the carbon cycle. On the other hand, the Brazilian government was strongly opposed to any hint of internationalization of its sovereign resources and territory (for background, see, for example, Goodman and Hall, 1990; Schmink and Wood, 1992; Fogel, 2002: ch. 3). Opposition to the statement was much broader than support for it, and the Forestry Principles crashed and burned. During the intervening years, there have been repeated efforts to resurrect some version of the principles in the form of an International Forest Convention but, although a number of UN-sponsored panels, commissions and forums on forests have worked on preparing such...

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