Global standards are important tools for promoting sustainable resource management. By articulating objectives and criteria and by monitoring and verifying compliance, they not only report on the ‘state of the art’, but also steer local practices in desired directions.
However, this is only possible if the global and the local are connected; if local practices can be held accountable at the global level by means of transparent information about compliance. This research focusses on the role of auditing, the information generated in auditing practices, and their contribution to transparency and accountability. It situates auditing practices at the global‐local nexus, highlighting not only the disciplining effects of standards but also the agency that is realized in auditing practices when auditors interpret standards, collect information, and assess compliance.
The research focuses on global forest standards for sustainable forest management and carbon sequestration. It selects two certification bodies that audit for these standards and analyses the auditing practices involved. It takes place in different locations, starting with the certification bodies themselves, and then moving with them to local monitoring and verification practices. The findings are used in interactive settings with practitioners to reflect on and enhance the quality and accountability of global standards.