The Evidence Base for Environmental and Socioeconomic Impacts of “Sustainable” Certification
AbstractInitiatives certifying that farms and firms adhere to predefined environmental and social welfare production standards are increasingly popular. According to proponents, they create financial incentives for farms and firms to improve their environmental and socioeconomic performance. This paper reviews the evidence on whether sustainable certification of agricultural commodities and tourism operations actually has such benefits. It identifies empirical ex post farm-level studies of certification, classifies them on the basis of whether they use methods likely to generate credible results, summarizes their findings, and considers the implications for future research. We conclude that empirical evidence that sustainable certification has significant benefits is limited. We identify just 37 relevant studies, only 14 of which use methods likely to generate credible results. Of these 14 studies, only 6 find that certification has environmental or socioeconomic benefits. This evidence can be expanded by incorporating rigorous, independent evaluation into the design and implementation of projects promoting sustainable certification.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-10-10-efd.
Date of creation: 26 Mar 2010
Date of revision:
sustainable; certification; eco-label; literature review;
Other versions of this item:
- Blackman, Allen & Rivera, Jorge, 2010. "The Evidence Base for Environmental and Socioeconomic Impacts of “Sustainable” Certification," Discussion Papers dp-10-17, Resources For the Future.
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
- Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2010-06-18 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2010-06-18 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-PPM-2010-06-18 (Project, Program & Portfolio Management)
- NEP-RES-2010-06-18 (Resource Economics)
- NEP-TUR-2010-06-18 (Tourism Economics)
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