Forest Management: Killing The Goose

By Robert Hrubes
Aug 10, 2016 11:30 AM ET

A curious dilemma has emerged for the environmental community seeking to encourage companies to adopt sustainable production practices through the vehicle of market-based, voluntary certifications. Until this dilemma is resolved, it could drive the very companies who are engaged in the best practices away from participation in these certification programs.

The Voluntary Certification Paradigm

Voluntary certification schemes, particularly those such as the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) with rigorous, stewardship-based normative standards, are largely the product of civil society and, particularly, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs). Certification is seen as an alternative and more effective mechanism, compared to governmental regulations, for bringing about socially and environmentally responsible commercial behavior in targeted industries such as forest and wood products, fisheries, and agriculture. It is also viewed as giving voice to individuals and groups that typically have little influence on resource management decisions...

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