Transnational Business Governance Interactions
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Transnational Business Governance Interactions

Advancing Marginalized Actors and Enhancing Regulatory Quality

Edited by Stepan Wood, Rebecca Schmidt, Errol Meidinger, Burkard Eberlein and Kenneth W. Abbott

From agriculture to sport and from climate change to indigenous rights, transnational regulatory regimes and actors are multiplying and interacting with poorly understood effects. This interdisciplinary book investigates whether, how and by whom transnational business governance interactions (TBGIs) can be harnessed to improve the quality of transnational regulation and advance the interests of marginalized actors.
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Chapter 2: Transnational business governance interactions in food safety regulation: Exploring the promises and risks of enrolment

Paul Verbruggen and Tetty Havinga


Private actors have assumed an indispensable role in today’s global governance of food safety. One of the most prominent private actors in this domain is the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a non-profit industry-led organization that benchmarks private food safety standards with a view to coordinate, converge and ratchet up existing standards and enhance compliance with public food safety laws. In this chapter we discuss the unfolding interaction between GFSI and domestic state actors in the regulation of food safety. We offer an empirical account of how and to what extent national food safety agencies in Canada, China and the Netherlands have engaged with GFSI and its benchmarked schemes. We analyse these transnational business governance interactions (TBGIs) using the framework proposed by Kenneth Abbott, Julia Black, Burkard Eberlein, Errol Meidinger and Stepan Wood. We show that the interaction between GFSI and public agencies has developed for different reasons and in different ways, with different results. To critically discuss these findings, and to deepen the TGBI analytical framework, we draw on the concept of enrolment as developed by Julia Black. We argue that this concept adds to the TBGI framework a critical perspective on why and how certain actors link with each other, and with what results.

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