The Environmental Policy Group has invited Dr. Gulbrandsen to give a Seminar, entitled 'How can we assess the effectiveness of non-state eco-certification schemes? Examining the environmental outcomes of forest and fisheries certification'
Certification of products has long been used as an assurance of quality or authenticity of origin, but the emergence of non-state eco-certification schemes is a more recent development. Sometimes referred to as ‘private authorities’, numerous non-state certification schemes have been created over the past two decades and established environmental and social performance standards. The certification model has spread rapidly across policy sectors and industries, including forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, organic agriculture, coffee production and palm oil production.
Dr. Gulbrandsen has studied the emergence, evolution and effectiveness of non-state certification schemes for roughly a decade. His research has focused on forest and fisheries certification schemes, particularly the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and producer-dominated programs in forestry, as well as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in the fisheries sector. One of the key questions examined in his past and ongoing work is how we can think about and assess the effectiveness of such schemes in resolving or ameliorating the environmental problems that motivated their establishment.
The presentation will present findings from this research and discuss the implications for future research on non-state certification schemes. Specifically, the presentation will provide an overview of commonalities and differences between forest and fisheries certification, examine the auditing process and ‘on-the-ground’ impacts of certification, consider linkages to public regulations, and look beyond the instrument itself to assess broader consequences that flow from the emergence of the certification model. In closing, the presentation will discuss the challenges of ‘measuring’ or examining the environmental outcomes of certification.
Dr. Lars H. Gulbrandsen is Research Professor and heads the research program on Global Environmental Governance at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway. His research interests are in the area of global environmental politics, with particular focus on environmental and social certification programs, non-state governance and corporate social responsibility. He has published a number of journal articles and is the author of Transnational Environmental Governance: The Emergence and Effects of the Certification of Forests and Fisheries (Edward Elgar, 2010). He serves regularly as reviewer for a number of international journals and is editorial board member of the journal Global Environmental Politics.