Upscaling the impact of sustainability certification initiatives; Enabling conditions and policy recommendations for regional development

Waarts, Y.R.; Judge, L.O.; Brons, J.E.; Ruijter de Wildt, M.J.M. de; Ingram, V.J.


Sustainability certification is seen by many as an important means to make supply chains more sustainable. Even though there is some robust evidence on farm-level impacts of certification, and more studies are underway, very little information is available on regional level impacts of certification initiatives. In this study, we offer recommendations to governments, businesses, standard-setting bodies and civil society organisations to help contribute to improvements in impact. Three research questions have been addressed: 1. What impact of initiatives, positive and negative, on farm level but especially on regional level, has been documented on the environment, the society and the economy in production areas? 2. Which contextual factors and regional conditions are required or have proven instrumental for the scaling up of impact and catalysing regional impacts? 3. What can certification initiatives, governments, businesses, international organisations and NGOs do to ensure that the abovementioned conditions are created, supported and promoted? In this study, we refer to the impacts on the regional level as impacts which result from farm-level or local level impacts. To answer the above questions, we reviewed literature sources and conducted semi-structured interviews with stakeholders involved in coffee, cocoa, soy and palm oil supply chains.