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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 Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has recently started a dual certified timber pilot project with the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) and is now recruiting a manager for it. While this may seem to be a mere routine, it is in fact an interesting and significant development for the FSC. It may help it strengthen its credibility as an environmental certification organization.

The FSC is an international nongovernmental organization that seeks to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests through the certification of forest management and supply chains. In order to achieve this, forest certification uses conventional market channels. In contrast, fair-trade organizations challenge the conventional market organization by providing poor farmers and communities in developing countries with higher prices for their products compared to global market prices. The adherence of the FSC to conventional market logics caused concern among the FSC stakeholders. They argued that communities and small-scale forests operations, especially in the tropics, did not benefit from the FSC certification program because they were excluded from global markets and because reforming their forest management practices would be too costly. By implementing fair-trade projects, the FSC addresses these concerns. 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.
December 2020
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