Handbook of Research on NGOs
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Handbook of Research on NGOs

Edited by Aynsley Kellow and Hannah Murphy-Gregory

This volume provides a critical overview of research on Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). While it notes that the definition of NGOs is contested, and can include both business and national groups, it focuses primarily on international NGOs engaged with human rights, social and environmental concerns, and aid and development issues. With contributions by Peter Willetts, Tom Davies, Bob Reinalda and other leading scholars, it provides a series of critical essays on both general aspects of NGOs and significant issues of particular concern.
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Chapter 16: NGOs and private governance/certification challenges

Fred Gale


This chapter analyses NGO involvement in private governance, especially schemes employing certification and labelling that enable supply chain actors to discriminate between sustainable and unsustainable products. Dividing NGO involvement functionally into organisation management, standards development and scheme implementation, it shows through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) case how ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ NGOs operating at local, national and global levels actively seek to ensure responsive management, rigorous standards and effective implementation. Building on a new theory of economic value that integrates sustainability’s diverse economic, environmental and social dimensions, the author argues that its realisation is contingent on how well schemes give voice to the multitude and diversity of firms and NGOs with a stake in outcomes. He claims it is the unique features of FSC’s organisational structure for giving voice to business, community, worker and environmental interests that account for it being consistently being ranked as the field’s ‘Gold Standard’.

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