Pros and cons of voluntary certification standards for conservation and livelihoods - new IUCN publication

 

 

 

The latest edition of Policy Matters: Certification and biodiversity - How voluntary certification standards impact biodiversity and human livelihoods, examines the benefits of such schemes as well as the shortfalls. Published by IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), the publication includes 10 peer-reviewed papers by contributors with broad experience in the certification field.

 

Voluntary certification standards are increasingly being promoted as effective alternatives to regulation and tools for promoting business accountability. However, this report finds that more comprehensive assessments are required for voluntary certification standards to have a real impact on biodiversity conservation and livelihoods.

 

“If voluntary certification standards are to contribute to ensuring corporate social and environmental accountability, we need greater insight into the methods and challenges of evaluating their impacts,” said Aroha Te Pareake Mead, who is the chair of CEESP. 

 

For example, the authors note how some certification schemes contribute to the value of indigenous products, while at the same time helping to preserve the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples. But other schemes fail to take account of the environmental impacts that are important for ensuring the long-term viability of biodiversity-dependent communities. 

 

“After decades of developing certification schemes to protect the environment and ensure better conditions for producers, these standards still lack a comprehensive framework that takes account of biodiversity and the cultural diversity of the people who most depend on these resources,” said Diana Shand, co-ordinator of the Policy Matters editorial team and Chair of CEESP’s Theme on Social and Accountability of the Private Sector.

 

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