Transnational Environmental Governance
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Transnational Environmental Governance

The Emergence and Effects of the Certification of Forests and Fisheries

Lars H. Gulbrandsen

In recent years a wide range of non-state certification programs have emerged to address environmental and social problems associated with the extraction of natural resources. This book provides a general analytical framework for assessing the emergence and effectiveness of voluntary certification programs. It focuses on certification in the forest and fisheries sectors, as initiatives in these sectors are among the most advanced cases of non-state standard setting and governance in the environmental realm.
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Chapter 5: Forest Certification in Sweden and Norway

Lars H. Gulbrandsen


Understanding the emergence and impact of forest certification requires a study of the way certification processes play out in specific political and socioeconomic contexts. This chapter examines the emergence and effects of forest certification in Sweden and Norway. These two forestrich Scandinavian countries have been selected not only for their many similarities, including forest biodiversity and ecology, dependence upon paper product exports, administrative traditions, and relationships among business, non-governmental actors and the state, but, crucially, for differences in their forest industry structure. The story told in this chapter demonstrates that the structure of the forest sector influenced industry and landowner responses to certification pressures and their adoption choices, as well as the unfolding of the standard-setting process. The processes investigated also reveal that certification choices at critical decision points created path dependencies that shaped and constrained the unfolding of certification processes. This chapter begins with an examination of the formation of forest certification programs in Sweden and Norway. The second section compares the stringency of certification standards, demonstrating that the poorer performers have increased the stringency of their standards over time. The third section examines patterns of adoption and a discussion of mutual recognition of certification schemes in Sweden, where two competing certification programs exist. The fourth section reviews evidence that sheds light on the crucial question of what is known about the on-the-ground environmental impact of forest certification. The fifth section turns to the broader consequences of certification, examining whether or not collaboration among environmental, economic and social stakeholders...

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