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Forest certification as a global environmental governance tool: What is the macro-effectiveness of the Forest Stewardship Council?

Authors


Axel Marx, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, Blijde – Inkomststraat 5, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Email: axel.marx@ggs.kuleuven.be

Abstract

Sustainable forest management is a key challenge for local and global governance. The Forest Stewardship Council has emerged as one of the solutions to global forest deterioration and is generally regarded as the prime example of certification as a global governance tool. This article examines the macro-effectiveness of certification on halting deforestation and examines the relationship between certification and governance institutions. The article finds that the macro-effectiveness of certification on halting deforestation is still limited due to the “stuck at the bottom” problem of developing countries, which are kept out of the certification process, and the market-driven nature of certification initiatives. The article does not find a relationship between certification and governance institutions at the macro level. It does find, however, significant variation in certification uptake between countries, pointing to the potential of this policy tool. The implications of the results are discussed.

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