Private Standards and Global Governance
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Private Standards and Global Governance

Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives

Edited by Axel Marx, Miet Maertens, Johan Swinnen and Jan Wouters

The expert contributors assess the state-of-the-art with regard to private regulation of food, natural resources and labor conditions. They begin with an introduction to, and discussion of, several leading existing private standards, and go on to assess private food standards and their legitimacy and effectiveness in the context of the global trade regime.
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Chapter 11: Conclusion – Private Standards: a Global Governance Tool?

A. Marx, M. Maertens and J. Swinnen


3/7/12/final 11. Conclusion: private standards – a global governance tool? Axel Marx, Miet Maertens, Johan Swinnen and Jan Wouters INTRODUCTION During the last three decades, many scientists have discussed the impact of globalization. Some critics have argued that existing multilateral and governmentally driven initiatives are incapable of addressing the global challenges that result from trade liberalization and increased economic globalization. At the same time, one can observe the emergence of new non-state market regulatory initiatives. These private regulatory initiatives aim to govern supply chains across the globe according to a set of ‘private’ standards. The literature refers in this context to the rise of private standards in supply chain management (Swinnen, 2007), the rise of civil regulation (Vogel, 2008), the certification solution (Gereffi et al., 2001), the certification revolution (Conroy, 2007) and the proliferation of the voluntary standards movement (ISEAL Alliance, 2009). Many new private regulatory initiatives are developing very quickly and are gaining ground. Ecolabel Index, a global directory of ecolabels, counted 429 ecolabels, based on private standards, in 246 countries in 25 industrial sectors in the second half of 2011 (Ecolabel Index, 2011). In addition, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated the total number of private food safety standard schemes to be 400 in January 2007 (Wollf and Scannell, 2008). These private systems are becoming important instruments in the context of global governance and regulation. Dingwerth (2007) identifies private standards as one of three distinct forms of global governance besides intergovernmental governance...

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