Equity and forest certification — A case study in Brazil
Forest Stewardship Council certification aims to use markets to promote socially and environmentally responsible forest management, with a core principle of social “equity”. Yet there is no comprehensive framework for defining and assessing “equity”, nor is there a methodology for determining differences in definitions among forest stakeholders. We've employed an analytical framework to a case study of the FSC in Brazil to assess if FSC equity goals are coherent and adherent to its policies, standards and impacts, what factors in FSC's implementation are influencing that coherency, and whether FSC's policies on equity match expectations of stakeholders affected by certification. We found that contextual market factors, local capacity, and procedural rules governing the certification process influence FSC's implementation in an asymmetric way, favoring the certification of large industrial firms over community-based operations. Meanwhile FSC policies and standards prioritize procedural and contextual equity within the operations of individual certified firms. This contrasts with the expectations of local stakeholders focused on distributive outcomes. In general, FSC's ability to reach both its own and local stakeholder goals for equity relies on the proactive agency of actors committed to overcoming the many barriers to local benefit that are both external and internal to certification itself.
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- Newsom, Deanna & Bahn, Volker & Cashore, Benjamin, 2006. "Does forest certification matter? An analysis of operation-level changes required during the SmartWood certification process in the United States," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 197-208, December.
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- van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Nelson, Harry W. & Vertinsky, Ilan, 2005. "Certification of sustainable forest management practices: a global perspective on why countries certify," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 857-867, November.
- Nebel, Gustav & Quevedo, Lincoln & Bredahl Jacobsen, Jette & Helles, Finn, 2005. "Development and economic significance of forest certification: the case of FSC in Bolivia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 175-186, February.
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