Institutional Design of Voluntary Sustainability Standards Systems: Evidence from a New Database
Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) have become a common attribute of international production and trade. Even though VSS are not mandatory (required by law), in practice they often are necessary for producers to participate in global value chains. This paper uses a new international database to shed light on specific institutional dimensions of VSS systems that directly impact on the costs of compliance borne by producers and identifies a number VSS-specific features that are associated with the "producer-friendliness" of different VSS systems. These include membership in meta-standard organizations and stakeholder engagement in VSS decision-making.
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