Commodities like coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, timber and fish are key components of world trade. They unite primary and intermediary producers with retailers, wholesalers and consumers in a global network of production and consumption. Yet, much of this global commodity trade is environmentally and socially unsustainable resulting in pollution, deforestation, overfishing, the exploitation of indigenous peoples lands and low-paid labour.
Governmental efforts to deliver better outcomes have been halting and half-hearted. Working within international organizations, they have been unable to agree strong rules to govern the global commons, prompting the formation of unique coalitions between business and civil society organizations to develop alternative governance mechanisms.One especially significant form of these new governance arrangements is certification and labeling such as the schemes developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
These organizations aim to secure the sustainable production of wood and fish products by developing standards, monitoring compliance, and certifying and labeling products for purchase in stores by consumers. This book builds on the policy network literature to develop a unique ecological political economy approach to analyzing the schemes. It provides a comparative analysis of the governance arrangements that underpin the FSC and MSC and engages in a forensic analysis of governmental responses to the two schemes in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.