Effectiveness of approaches to sustainable supply

Effectiveness of approaches to sustainable supply (certification, FLEGT)

Different approaches to sustainable supply, often related to multi-stakeholder processes, have recently emerged to define sustainability standards linked to wider certification systems. Yet the uptake of certification has proven slow due to several institutional factors and associated costs. In addition, private governance regulations have emerged aimed at the self-governance of private actors through codes of conduct, principles and guidelines, and wider commitments to sustainability.

Governments in consumer countries (for example, the European Union), are adopting measures (such as FLEGT and the Amsterdam Declaration) to constrain imports from unsustainable/illegal supply. While an important body of work exists to assess the implications of certification, it is not yet clear how other self-regulatory mechanisms contribute to sustainable supply. In addition, more knowledge is needed to understand how combined public and private initiatives may contribute to more effective transitions to sustainable supply, with no negative social effects.

FTA is examining the main innovations in the design and implementation of institutional governance arrangements for improved sustainable supply in forest landscapes. Primary attention is given to arrangements in consumer countries that aim to improve the governance capacities of producer countries, which aim to halt deforestation linked to agricultural commodities such as cacao and oil palm.

We are also examining the extent to which embracing wider territorial approaches can contribute to the uptake of sustainability standards and certification, and the institutional barriers that need to be overcome to support the scaling-up of sustainability practices in ways that benefit smallholders and the rural poor. This will inform debates on the measures required to support sustainable supply in ways that reconcile the interests of producer and consumer countries, and stakeholders along the value chain.