Voluntary Sustainability Standards and Value Chain Governance: How sustainability standards affect the distribution of decision-making power in global value chains

By Jason Potts, Kathleen Sexsmith, Jason Potts on October 15, 2009
Sustainability standards affect decision-making processes in global value chains by appropriating and redistributing the power to set, implement and verify compliance with the terms of chain participation. If standards create a prominent role for disadvantaged stakeholders in organizational decision-making, they can make substantive contributions to participatory supply chain governance. This paper aims to assess the potential and actual impacts of select voluntary sustainability standards on participatory decision-making within global value chains in the coffee, forestry and fisheries sectors. A set of indicators is used to assess the compliance of standards organizations with seven principles of participatory governance: representation, accountability, checks and balances, equity, subsidiarity, effectiveness and efficiency.

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IISD, 2009