You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Environmental Standards’ category.

A recurrent topic across most fields covered here at governance across borders is standards. In the field of environmental standards, for example, Olga repeatedly discussed how transnational standards and local practices are interrelated (e.g. “From Transnational Standards to Local Practices“). In the field of copyright regulation, many posts deal with the issue of standard proliferation (e.g. “Money Buys You Standards?“) and diffusion (e.g. “Iconic Standards: Regulating and Signaling“) in the case of Creative Commons.

But as always, at least in our recurrent series “Wise Cartoons“, all our words cannot live up to the simple wisdom of illustrations such as the one provided by XKCD below:

Fortunately, the charging one has been solved now that we've all standardized on mini-USB. Or is it micro-USB? Shit.

(leonhard)

PS: For another wise cartoon on standards that features Scott Adam’s Dilbert check out “Google Books and the Kindle Controversy“.

In late May, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies published my paper on the implementation of transnational voluntary forestry standards in Russia in its discussion paper series (From Transnational Voluntary Standards to Local Practices: A Case Study of Forest Certification in Russia. MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/7). In the paper, I attempt to deconstruct the process of implementation and suggest that the current literature has paid little attention to two social processes that accompany – or even constitute – the implementation of transnational voluntary standards: collective learning and stakeholder interest negotiation. Basically, I argue that previous research examines carefully various factors that explain why certain companies in certain countries commit to voluntary environmental standards, but has so far mainly assumed that once standards are adopted, the improvements in practices will occur (if there is a gap between standards and practice, which is most often the case, as some research shows). Instead, I suggest that implementation should not be taken for granted and propose a framework for understanding how companies and activists translate transnational voluntary standards into on-the-ground practices, particularly in a difficult context of non-advanced industrial countries. Empirically, I apply this framework to the analysis of the implementation of the Forest Stewardship Council’s forestry standards in Russian forest enterprises. Read the rest of this entry »

The following video is a trailer of an ethnographic film that arose during the course of my PhD project at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies:

The implementation of the EU’s main nature conservation program, Natura 2000, has more side effects than Brussels’ bureaucrats envisaged. Two village communities own common forests and pastures in Natura 2000 protected areas – one located in Vrancea Romania and the other in Galicia, Spain. Both are struggling to defend their rights to access natural resources, vital for the local economy. However, communities are not homogenous and different discourses get shaped during the village assemblies where people seem to prime their immediate needs.  Culiţǎ, a 45 year old forestry worker, and Henar, a Galician farmer, build on the collective memories of disspossetion an active resistance behavior against the EU’s Natura 2000 program. Yet, the makeshift ethos in the first community, and the demographic decline in the second seem to lead to the failure of a coherent collective resistance.

(liviu)

About 10 months ago, I posted an entry on the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, in which I outlined three scenarios that I thought were likely to occur after the Deepwater Horizon crisis. They can be labeled as no regulatory consequences, stronger public regulation and new private regulation of safety in the oil drilling industry. Today, exactly one year after the explosion of the BP’s oil drilling rag in the Gulf of Mexico killing eleven people, I have to admit that the Deepwater Horizon did not become the beginning of the new regulatory era for the oil industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Interdisciplinary workshops are always a good opportunity to discuss and exchange differences and shared perspectives on a common empirical research field. Such a workshop (“Transnational private regulation in the areas of environment, security, social and labor rights: theoretical approaches and empirical studies”) took place in Berlin, at the Freie University, at the end of January. Researchers of various backgrounds including sociology, international relations, industrial relations,  organizational studies and political science came together to discuss global developments and its local implications of transnational private governance in various empirical fields (labor standards, environmental standards and security)

The role of transnational companies and private actors in governance beyond borders is approached and conceptualized from a variety of theoretical and empirical angles. A shared language and common understanding has not yet fully emerged. To start this interdisciplinary exchange across different governance fields three set of questions have been discussed at this workshop: Read the rest of this entry »

Environmental groups and the public worldwide are seriously concerned about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig. The disaster has turned into a catastrophe and is likely to affect the environmental, social and economic condition of the Gulf of Mexico’s shore in years and decades to come. Neither the BP nor the U.S. Government really knows what to do to stop the oil leak. The U.S. Government blames the oil multinational. The BP seems to be unable to deal with the situation. Moreover, other oil companies do not seem to possess any adequate means to deal with similar situations. The BP’s stock price has gown down dramatically. It postponed dividend payments to its shareholders. Thousands of people, e.g. fishermen, have lost the source of income. What are people going to learn from this story? What are the probable scenarios of further developments and what are the likely consequences for the oil industry? Read the rest of this entry »

In his recent paper, Tim Bartley (unpublished working paper, see references) argues that implementation of transnational standards, particularly in developing countries, often remains a black box. He starts by showing that some scholars imply that local conditions do not matter, while some others suggest that the effects can be read off programs’ principles and design. Using a case study of certification of forests and labor conditions in Indonesia, Bartley convincingly shows that neither is the case. Motivated by his contribution, I would like to reflect on why it is important to open up the black box of implementation. I focus on four aspects here: mechanisms, politics, implementation gap, and local actors. In part, I use forest certification as an example to illustrate how the study of the implementation of certification standards can enrich our knowledge of transnational governance. Read the rest of this entry »

The last several weeks have been extremely frustrating for many activists, international organizations and general public. Several international summits have shown that the global governance system was significantly damaged by the global financial crisis. The crisis created uncertainty about the future and made governments of the world’s leading economies careful about their commitments. After the meeting of parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on 2-4 November 2009 in Barcelona it became clear that the conference of parties to be held in Copenhagen in December was not likely to result in any legally binding arrangement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The World Summit on Food Security held on 16-18 November also did not result in any significant binding commitments. Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN reports that due to the global economic recession, the number of hungry people in the world will exceed one billion in 2009. In 2008, it was 850 million people. Only the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009 can be seen as a success of international regulatory efforts, at least to some extent. G-8 was transformed into G-20. The general principles of the new global economic architecture were approved. One of such principles is tough regulation of financial markets. Read the rest of this entry »

Sounds ridiculous? Yet, it is becoming possible. The Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) announced last week that the Italian brewery Gino Perisutti now offers two types of beer that carry a PEFC logo. PEFC offers certification services to forest operations practicing responsible forest management in accordance with the PEFC principles and criteria of good forest management, as well as to producers using certified material in their final products. Its logo enables buyers and consumers to identify products coming from well-managed forests.

The two types of beer are brewed on the ingredients coming from PEFC-certified forests: spruce bark, mountain pine buds and Scotch pine needles from PEFC-certified forests in north-eastern Italy. In addition to the PEFC-certified ingredients and classical beer components, Gino Perisutti’s beer also contains fair-trade species.

Although it may sound funny, such events may be interpreted as evidence of the increasing scope of forest certification as a form of governance and of the growing market visibility of products that have been certified as meeting the standards of responsible management of natural resources. In turn, the growing visibility helps consumers identify and recognize more responsibly produced products and purchase them and thereby support systems of governance aiming at promoting the sustainable use of nature. No doubt, as consumers, stakeholders and researchers we should also be aware of what is behind the logo but even the very fact that such logos are becoming increasingly important in the market can become one of the crucial drops in the ocean of local and global politics of nature.

(olga)

On May 22, 2008 the U.S. Congress passed amendments to the Lacey Act of 1900 that make it unlawful to import, export, sell, purchase or transport in interstate or international commerce any plants or products made of plants harvested or traded in violation of domestic and international laws, including timber and timber products. These amendments may open a new era in the development of global forest governance.

For one thing, this is a U.S. law that not only bans domestic trade in goods that were produced in violation of domestic laws of the United States, U.S. States and foreign countries but also attempts to indirectly regulate the production in foreign countries. At the same time, the Lacey Act itself does not violate international free trade regulations. The Lacey Act therefore brings public forms of forest governance back in the transnational space. Another interesting thing about it is that public and private actors reactivate an old piece of legislation to address a current issue. The case of the amended Lacey Act demonstrates that actors can effectively export dormant or taken-for-granted rules from one issue domain to another to achieve their goals. Finally, the Lacey Act opens up new opportunities for a public-private cooperation: if public authorities recognize certificates issued by nonstate certification programs similar to the Forest Stewardship Council forest certification as a sufficient proof of legality of timber, this may become an incentive for producers to certify their forest management. Nonstate actors can therefore use the Lacey Act as a leverage to promote better standards of forest management among or to reward well-performing producers. Read the rest of this entry »

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Twitter Updates

Copyright Information

Creative Commons License
All texts on governance across borders are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.