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Direct Targeting as an NGO Political Strategy: Examining Private Authority Regimes in the Forestry Sector

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Abstract

In recent years, International Political Economy literature on "politics beyond state" has emphasized the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in broader policy processes, both national and international. In addition to their impact on states, NGOs influence the policies of non-state actors such as firms via public and private politics. Dissatisfied with the progress firms have made in response to public regulation, NGOs have sponsored private authority regimes in several issue areas and pushed firms to participate in them. Across the world, the contest between NGOs and firms has provoked substantial behavioral and programmatic change--including widespread participation in these private authority regimes--among firms seeking to escape NGO pressures. Using firm-level data, this paper examines why direct targeting has not led firms in the U.S. forest products sector to participate in an NGO-sponsored private authority regime, the Forest Stewardship Council. This global regime has been adopted widely in Europe, but U.S.-based forestry firms have tended to favor a domestic industry-sponsored regime, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Our analysis suggests that the desire of firms to maintain control over their institutional environment in light of hostile relations with NGOs has led US-based firms to favor the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

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... First, social movement pressure is a key variable discussed in the private governance literature. The direct targeting of firms through naming and shaming campaigns is an important strategy in the repertoire of NGOs to put pressure on firms to participate in private governance (Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006). For example, Bartley (2009) describes how in the apparel sector NGO campaigning activities played a key role in getting firms to support private labor governance. ...
... He argues that social movement pressure operated as a catalyzing force that can hardly be understated. Accounts of the formation of private governance programs in the forestry and diamond sectors provide further evidence for the importance of NGO pressurebut sometimes with mixed results (Haufler, 2009;Sasser et al., 2006). Against this background, we hypothesize that varying levels of activist pressure in China and India were a determining factor. ...
... The freezing of assets of Greenpeace India is a prominent example of the government's more restrictive approach. In the countries of the Global North, NGO activism has been a key driver behind Corporate Social responsibility and private sustainability governance (Bartley, 2009;Sasser et al., 2006). However, in the palm oil industry, we find that corporate naming and shaming is weak (India) or lacking (China) in emerging markets. ...
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Private governance programs are now an important source of regulation in global value chains – particularly in context of North–South trade. But can these programs play a similar role in the value chains feeding into fast-growing emerging markets like China and India? Most scholars doing research on the topic draw a pessimistic picture. They argue that the scope conditions for private sustainability governance are not yet present in these markets. Our analysis of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – a leading non-state certification program – in China and India partially confirms this view. At the same time, however, we find that emerging markets are not a unified category. We observe that sustainable palm oil is beginning to gain momentum in China, whereas uptake in India remains much weaker. We trace this back to a number of key market conditions, which we show are more favorable in China. In addition, our analysis highlights the role of the Chinese state in creating awareness of and shaping firms’ interests in sustainable palm oil.
... The use of private standards to govern supply chains has become a significant concern for researchers de Vries and Ferrarini, 2017;Kogg and Mont, 2012;Manning et al., 2012;Mitiku et al., 2018;Pinto et al., 2014;Schouten and Bitzer, 2015), and several document a rise in private standards as environmental governance tools (Auld et al., 2015;Pattberg, 2005aPattberg, , 2005bGreen, 2014;Gallemore & Munroe, 2013;Sasser et al., 2006;Vogel, 2010). Green (2014), for example, finds 119 standards in the environmental sector in 2009 (Vogel, 2010;Zadek, 2001), of which 58% were originated after 2000 and 90% after 1990. ...
... Much of the current literature on bargaining over rigor focuses on identifying factors that account for when, why, how, and how many environmental certification programs are developed in different arenas, with what membership numbers and rigor (Auld, 2014;Cashore et al., 2004;Bartley, 2003Bartley, , 2007Bartley, , 2009Fransen and Conzelmann, 2015;Green, 2014;Jaffee and Howard, 2016;Potoski and Prakash, 2009;Sasser et al., 2006). Auld (2014), for example, examines the barriers to change in new certification initiatives, but primarily in the context of whether or not it is possible to take a standard global and whether or not new competitors emerge. ...
... Both the market-based and political construction perspectives expect firms to attempt to create, join, or strengthen standards only if such a move is expected to be in their long-term interest (Cheyns and Riisgaard, 2014;Lynch-Wood and Williamson, 2014;Prakash and Potoski, 2014). For the bulk of firms, the primary motivations for strengthening should come from civil society demands and institutional incentives (Berliner and Prakash, 2015;Sasser et al., 2006;Reinecke et al., 2012;Reinecke, 2010;Vogel, 2010). If reputational risks are a key motivator for adherence to and support for the rigor of a standard (Chrun et al., 2016), we would expect to see differences in firm attitudes toward rigor to the extent that they are exposed to differing levels of reputational risk. ...
Article
While there is considerable literature on firms' motivations to form and join private environmental standards, less has been written on motivations to strengthen standards, once created. Using the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as a case, our study examines the politics of rigor, understood as value-chain traceability and on-the-ground requirements, within private environmental standards. We use polytomous variable latent class analysis to cluster RSPO members' reported challenges in sustainable palm oil and model the membership in clusters expressing concerns that the standard is either insufficiently rigorous or too difficult using random effects panel logistic regression. We find that more brand-exposed members are more likely to request greater rigor. Members in the middle of the value chain are more likely to voice concerns about the standard being excessively difficult, particularly noting costs and the challenge of securing supplies. We argue that avoiding reputational risk is a primary motivator for standards adherence, and, as a result, demands for increased rigor come primarily from firms with higher brand exposure. We conclude that the distribution of standard members across the supply chain can be a significant determinant of the way private environmental standards evolve and the level of rigor they achieve.
... A stand-alone NGO will set up a more stringent standard than an industryled standard setter will do (Bottega & De Freitas, 2009;Fischer & Lyon, 2014). 5 This has been observed in the forestry case, where the NGO-driven FSC coexists with the weaker, industry-induced PEFC/SFI (Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006). The interactions between both co-creators have led the MSC standard to lie between two polar policies identified by . ...
... Standards in less opaque settings face considerably less controversy. For instance, the competition of the FSC, PEFC, and SFI standards in the forestry sector stems from divergent stakeholder interests, not from uncertainty over design or assessment (Sasser et al., 2006). In a similar vein, the simple and often singleattribute nature of energy-efficiency standards entails less controversy than encompassing, 'seal of approval' standards such as the MSC (Banerjee & Solomon, 2003;Horne, 2009;Gulbrandsen, 2005). ...
Article
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Voluntary standards certifying environmental qualities of labeled products have proliferated across sectors and countries. Effectuating these standards requires the collaboration among and between creators (typically firms and non-governmental organizations) and adopters (firms across a particular supply chain). However, the need to collaborate does not rule out the presence of controversy. Drawing on the case of the Marine Stewardship Council, a leading seafood standard to conserve the world’s threatened marine fauna, we analyze how this controversy, from economic and sociologic vantage points, impacts a sustainability transition. In essence, interest divergence drives controversy over standard design, which spurs controversy over standard effectiveness and prompts the proliferation of competing standards. Controversy is magnified by the opacity or non-transparency of the fields which such standards seek to govern. We conclude that, while interest divergence and field opacity entail inherent controversy over voluntary environmental standards, the impact of this controversy on sustainability transitions is typically predominantly positive.
... Conroy (2007), for instance, provides a detailed account of the media impact on the creation and adoption of various eco-labels. Sasser et al. (2006) provide evidence from four forestry firms that pursued an eco-label (FSC or SFI) in part as a result of their being targeted by an NGO campaign, which includes media coverage. Media also impact consumers and their purchasing choices. ...
... In such cases, researchers often turn to perceptual data from highly knowledgeable experts, which yield fairly accurate measures (Highhouse et al., 2009). The use of perceptual data from experts is also common in research on voluntary standards and eco-labels (Ingenbleek et al., 2007;Sasser et al., 2006), including studies on the diffusion of multiple eco-labels (Prado, 2013). Following the advice by Highhouse et al. (2009), we aimed to have at least ten experts in each stakeholder category (major retailers, corporate purchasers, government regulatory agencies, NGOs and consumer groups and consultants). ...
Article
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Purpose The increased focus on sustainability has led firms to incorporate a range of sustainability practices in their products, processes and supply chains. Because these practices are typically difficult to observe, firms often seek an independent verification and adopt voluntary environmental and social standards and eco-labels such as ISO 14000, FSC, USDA Organic or Fairtrade. The purpose of this paper is to study several factors linked to their adoption. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on existing theory, the authors hypothesize that environmental and social standards will be more widely adopted if they are better-governed, less stringent and more favorably covered in the media. The authors collect data on 41 eco-labels from multiple data sources. Findings The authors find that the better-governed labels are more widely adopted, but that more stringent labels within the sample are not less widely adopted. More favorable media coverage is not associated with wider adoption. Research limitations/implications The study focuses on the diffusion of a sample of well-established eco-labels. To establish causal links, longitudinal data on governance, stringency, adoption and media coverage would be needed. Practical implications Managers deciding which eco-label to adopt need not be concerned that a more stringent label will inevitably yield less business value due to the label being less widely adopted. However, they should care whether a label is seen to be well-governed. Managers cannot use the way a label is portrayed in the media as a predictor for adoption. Originality/value Past research has often ignored how characteristics of environmental and social standards impact their diffusion. The work contributes to the growing literature on diffusion of voluntary standards and eco-labels by adding a quantitative and multi-sectoral perspective.
... A stand-alone NGO will set up a more stringent standard than an industry-led standard setter will do (Bottega & De Freitas, 2009;Fischer & Lyon, 2014). 4 This has been observed in the forestry case, where the NGO-driven FSC coexists with the weaker, industry-induced PEFC/SFI (Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006). The interactions between both co-creators have led the MSC standard to lie between two polar policies identified by . ...
... Standards in less opaque settings face considerably less controversy. For instance, the competition of the FSC, PEFC, and SFI standards in the forestry sector stems from divergent stakeholder interests, not from uncertainty over design or assessment (Sasser et al., 2006). In a similar vein, the simple and often single-attribute nature of energy-efficiency standards entails less controversy than encompassing, "seal of approval" standards such as the MSC (Banerjee & Solomon, 2003;Gulbrandsen, 2005;Horne, 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
Voluntary standards certifying environmental qualities of labeled products have proliferated across sectors and countries. Effectuating these standards requires the collaboration among and between creators (typically firms and non-governmental organizations) and adopters (firms across a particular supply chain). However, the need to collaborate does not rule out the presence of controversy. Drawing on the case of the Marine Stewardship Council, a leading seafood standard to conserve the world’s threatened marine fauna, we analyze how this controversy, from economic and sociologic vantage points, impacts a sustainability transition. In essence, interest divergence drives controversy over standard design, which spurs controversy over standard effectiveness and prompts the proliferation of competing standards. Controversy is magnified by the opacity or non-transparency of the fields which such standards seek to govern. We conclude that, while interest divergence and field opacity entail inherent controversy over voluntary environmental standards, the impact of this controversy on sustainability transitions is typically predominantly positive.
... 171 Arts 2003Arts -2004and see Wapner 1995:320. 172 Sasser et al. 2006;Arts 2005;Arts 2003Arts -2004 Sasser et al. 2006. 174 See for example Arts 2005;Tarrow 2005:45;Arts 2003Arts -2004Betsill and Corell 2001:67;Ryan 1991:5. ...
... 178 See discussion in Cracknell 1993:16. 179 Betsill and Corell 2008:39; see also Sasser et al. 2006. outsider strategies is challenged by the success of the SSCS's approach, which is distinctly outsider. ...
Thesis
This study examines the anti-whaling strategy of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Despite being relatively small and resource poor, this confrontational marine conservation organization has been successful in frustrating Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean through the use of what it describes as ‘aggressive non-violent direct action.’ Adopting an inductive approach, the study uses participant observation and process tracing in order to uncover those mechanisms which make the SSCS strategy effective. In understanding this strategy, which is unlike any other described in the transnational environmental activism literature, the study seeks to add to our understanding of the role and power of non-state actors in international affairs. A close examination reveals that the organization is engaging in a strategy which can be described as ‘direct enforcement’ (DE) – whereby it seeks to enforce existing marine conservation laws. The SSCS supports its claims as an enforcement organization through the use of legal language, symbols and imagery. It also selects targets which can be accused of violating the law, and gathers evidence to support these accusations. Once it has identified such a target, the SSCS interferes with the operations and attempts to prevent illegal and environmentally harmful activities, and to directly increase the target’s costs of operation. This study explores some of the mechanisms upon which DE relies. Aggressive intervention exposes activists to potential retaliation from targets and states. Several mechanisms reduce potential retaliation. First, activists are protected by the principle of unclean hands: targets do not wish to draw attention to their own wrongdoings by indicting activists. Second, activists surround themselves and their actions in a complex web of international laws, which tends to deter state prosecution, because states generally wish to avoid complications or potentially embarrassing international incidents. By actively enforcing laws where states lack capacity and/or political will to do so, DE enhances the compliance pull of international laws. Through the use of DE, activists also exert powerful legal leverage against states. Eschewing traditional activist approaches such as the ‘mobilization of shame,’ DE not only criticizes states for their failure to live up to their international obligations and commitments, but supports these claims with confrontational actions which cannot be ignored.
... This failure is largely explained by the challenges of 'collective bargaining' due to "heterogeneity in assets, information and payoffs, and the conflict that would exist over the distribution of benefits and costs to be borne" (Ostrom, 2010, p. 158). On a more positive note, we have found support for the collaborative engagement with certification facilitated by political maneuvering and institutional entrepreneurship projects of other actors, such as governments and NGOs 4 (Bartley, 2007;Sasser et al. 2006). ...
... This proves that collaborative approaches are not utilized even when retailers face the 'collective' action problems of reputational risk and the high costs of integrating sustainability in a product supply chain. Retailers' requirements in collective bargaining are high and difficult to overcome unless collaboration is facilitated by non-market actors such as governments and NGOs (Bartley, 2007;Sasser et al., 2006). ...
Article
The purpose of this study is to examine the proliferation of retail-driven sustainability certification schemes focusing on the role of certification and its design from a corporate perspective. It does so by exploring three different cases of certification design in the food retailing industry: unilateral Tesco Nurture, collaborative GlobalGAP, and multi-stakeholder UTZ certifications. Using case study methods and viewing the certifications through the application of collective action logic and dynamic capability theory, we provide new insights important to researchers, retailers, and supply chains. The results of this study show that retail efforts to develop certifications are driven by better alignment with the business’ goal of improving the sustainability performance of supply chains. Retail-driven certifications can enable stronger brand assurance, stakeholder satisfaction, competitive development of certified supply volumes, and dynamic capabilities that contribute to effective, efficient and faster upgrades to sustainability practices in the supply chain. The contributions of this study also identify numerous factors that influence the development of certifications via collaborative/multi-stakeholder or unilateral efforts. There are three major factors: 1) trade-offs between different aspects of certification design and institutional-stakeholder context, 2) challenges of ‘collective’ bargaining, and 3) generation of dynamic capabilities. From results, we posit the co-existence of multiple certifications, called “standards multiplicity,” as advantageous for facilitating retailers’ engagement with sustainable supply chain management. Finally, conclusions and implications allow us to predict the evolving complexity of retail-driven certifications will enable dynamic capabilities, opportunities for creating competitive advantage, and open a dialogue for other industries to learn from these insights. [Citatiom: Chkanikova, O., & Sroufe, R. (2021). Third-party sustainability certifications in food retailing: Certification design from a sustainable supply chain management perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production, 282, 124344.]
... 24 For broader arguments about supply chain transparency in the apparel industry, see https://www.hrw. org/report/2017/04/20/follow-thread/need-supply-chain-transparency-garment-and-footwear-industry 25 Sasser et al. (2006) note that NGO targeting may push firms away from, rather than toward, participation in private governance schemes. Nikolaeve and Bicho (2011), however, find that media exposure renders firms more likely to participate in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). ...
... The same logic that implies that trade with higher-standards countries can improve labor standards abroad (Cao et al. 2013;Greenhill et al. 2009) also suggests that firms from countries with higher laborstandards should be more likely to participate in labor-protecting arrangements when sourcing from overseas. European firms may be more inclined than their US-based counterparts to view their relationships with NGOs as cooperative rather than adversarial; Sasser et al. (2006) cite this difference as helping to explain forestry sector firms' choices between the NGO-sponsored and industry-backed private governance efforts. ...
Article
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Most research on private governance examines the design and negotiation of particular initiatives or their operation and effectiveness once established, with relatively little work on why firms join in the first place. We contribute to this literature by exploring firms’ willingness to participate in two recent, high-profile private initiatives established in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster in the Bangladesh ready-made garment (RMG) sector: the Accord on Building and Fire Safety and the Alliance for Worker Safety in Bangladesh. Using novel shipment-level data from U.S. customs declarations, we generate a set of firms that were “eligible” to join these remediation initiatives. We are able to positively attribute only a minority of US RMG imports from Bangladesh to Accord and Alliance signatories. Firms with consumer-facing brands, publicly-traded firms, and those importing more RMG product from Bangladesh were more likely to sign up for the Accord and Alliance. Firms headquartered in the USA were much less likely to sign onto remediation plans, especially the Accord.
... The risk governance literature consistently identifies public trust as a key determinant of perceived risk under uncertainty, and one of the most important factors influencing public support for forest management in general (Eriksson et al., 2017;Ford et al., 2012;Nelson et al., 2017;Stern and Baird, 2015). The relationship between public trust and public support has been demonstrated in the context of forest certification (Sasser et al., 2006), climate change mitigation interventions in forests (Peterson St-Laurent et al., 2018a), and the management of forest fires (Toman et al., 2014;Olsen and Shindler, 2010;Winter et al., 2004) and pests (Qin and Flint, 2010;McFarlane et al., 2012). One of the key insights arising from this field is the observation that high levels of public trust can help reduce conflicts and increase the ability of communities to organize and implement new forest management strategies (Olsen and Shindler, 2010). ...
... One of the key insights arising from this field is the observation that high levels of public trust can help reduce conflicts and increase the ability of communities to organize and implement new forest management strategies (Olsen and Shindler, 2010). While much of the literature focusses on public trust in government and public agencies (Olsen and Shindler, 2010;Winter et al., 2004), other studies highlight the role of public trust in non-governmental groups including forest industry (McFarlane et al., 2012;Eriksson et al., 2017) and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs; Sasser et al., 2006). ...
Article
Effective governance of public forests depends, in part, on public support for changes in forest management, particularly those responding to changes in socio-ecological conditions driven by climate change. Trust in managing authorities and knowledge about forest management have proven influential in shaping public support for policy across different forest managemen contexts. However, little is known about the relationship between public trust and knowledge as it relates to policy support for emerging management strategies for climate adaptation in forests. We use the example of genomics-based assisted migration (within and outside of natural range) in British Columbia's (BC) forests to examine the relative roles of and interactions between trust in different forestry actors and knowledge of forestry in shaping public support for this new and potentially controversial management alternative. Our results, based on an online survey (n = 1953 BC residents), reveal low public trust in governments and the forest industry combined with low levels of public knowledge about forest management. We find that individuals who are more trusting of decision-makers and other important forestry actors hold higher levels of support for assisted migration. Higher levels of forestry knowledge are linked with support for assisted migration within native range, whereas no knowledge effect is observed for assisted migration outside of native range. We discuss the implications of these observations and provide recommendations to more fully engage with the challenges of low levels of trust and knowledge in this context.
... Several strategic insights have emerged from assessing specific interventions under the markets pathway. For example, research has found that while boycotts as a policy are often useful to generate support for the problem definition in question (Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006), they tend to be short lived unless they are matched by other market instruments, such as certification, that contain wide-ranging policy settings and that can foster significant learning across a range of stakeholders across countries (Elliott, 2005). But even here, Bernstein and Cashore (2007) acknowledge that this market instrument can only result in an effective pathway if stakeholders work to foster calibrations that reinforce institutionalization of support across global value chains. ...
Article
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A growing scholarship on multistakeholder learning dialogues suggests the importance of closely managing learning processes to help stakeholders anticipate which policies are likely to be effective. Much less work has focused on how to manage effective transnational multistakeholder learning dialogues, many of which aim to help address critical global environmental and social problems such as climate change or biodiversity loss. They face three central challenges. First, they rarely shape policies and behaviors directly, but work to ‘nudge’ or ‘tip the scales’ in domestic settings. Second, they run the risk of generating ‘compromise’ approaches incapable of ameliorating the original problem definition for which the dialogue was created. Third, they run the risk of being overly influenced, or captured, by powerful interests whose rationale for participating is to shift problem definitions or narrow instrument choices to those innocuous to their organizational or individual interests. Drawing on policy learning scholarship, we identify a six-stage learning process for anticipating effectiveness designed to minimize these risks while simultaneously fostering innovative approaches for meaningful and longlasting problem solving: Problem definition assessments; Problem framing; Developing coalition membership; Causal framework development; Scoping exercises; Knowledge institutionalization. We also identify six management techniques within each process for engaging transnational dialogues around problem solving. We show that doing so almost always requires anticipating multiple-step causal pathways through which influence of transnational and/or international actors and institutions might occur.
... Companies may be targeted directly or indirectly through association. They can also receive pressure from their buyers in the downstream side of the supply chain, who may themselves have been target of activist pressures (Sasser et al. 2006). ...
Thesis
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In the past two decades, the Indonesian palm oil industry has come under intense global scrutiny due to various environmental issues, from tropical deforestation to biodiversity loss. The WWF, with several global consumer goods manufacturers still rely heavily on palm oil for their products, came up with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification in 2004 as a form of voluntary, private environmental governance. After 15 years of RSPO existence, its uptake within Indonesia is somehow weak, with the RSPO only manage to certify 2.12 million hectares oil palm plantations or 13% of the total area throughout the archipelago, as of 2019. This research seeks to investigate the reasons behind it. Through combination of interviews and literature reviews, I found that the role of Indonesian producers association (GAPKI), the pull-factor of shifting export markets, and the challenges faced by smallholders play important roles in determining the success of RSPO uptake in Indonesia.
... For economic freedom, companies that are able to operate more freely will be able to better respond to demands for certified wood and will have greater capacity to freely follow certification requirements if they choose. In terms of political freedom, NGO targeting along the value-chain has demonstrated a significant effect on certification and can be a strong driver of uptake (Auld et al., 2008;Gulbrandsen, 2010;Sasser et al., 2006). A strong environmental presence encourages companies to be better global citizens and to use certification standards as a means to prove their commitment (Bernhagen and Mitchell, 2010). ...
Article
Private governance, in the form of certification schemes, has grown remarkably in the past decades as a response to some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges. Certification schemes denote steering mechanisms that allow enterprises to voluntarily adhere to a set of verifiable principles. While certification has global aspirations, its uptake and growth are heterogeneous across different countries. Yet, few studies empirically analyze such variation. We address this gap by focusing on the Forest Stewardship Council, a major sustainable forestry management certification program. We empirically evaluate uptake and growth across 151 countries and hypothesize that market and socio-political characteristics explain variation in uptake and growth. We find that a value-added wood industry, state-control of the forestry industry and competing certification programs, contrary to the literature, are key drivers.
... The same applies to NGOs that create their own sets of responsible standards that lack input from For similar reasons activist campaigns that target a particular firm to change its practices are not, by themselves, examples of NSMD governance. To be sure, these activities may help, or hinder efforts to develop NSMD systems (Sasser et al. 2004), but by themselves do not constitute governance. ...
Chapter
The failure of governments and international institutions to effectively address significant global social and environmental problems has created a policy void that an array of voluntary, self-regulatory, shared governance and private arrangements are beginning to fill (Andrews 1998; Gunningham, Kagan and Thornton 2003; Harrison 1998; Howlett 2000; Rosenbaum 1995; Rosenau 2000; Ruggie 2004; Webb 2002). Despite increasing scholarly attention to these new policy arenas, most current research conflates these initiatives with what is arguably the most conceptually distinct and authoritative form of non-state global governance to arise in the last 50 years: non-state market driven (NSMD) governance systems (Cashore 2002). Their purpose is to develop socially and environmentally responsible practices in the marketplace by creating incentives and disincentives, through market supply chains, often through the use of a label that signals compliance to pre-established standards. Their distinctiveness is especially notable along two dimensions. First, they include governance institutions with decisionmaking and compliance mechanisms. Second, contrary to the vast majority of voluntary or self-regulatory initiatives, NSMD governance systems reject state sovereign authority, turning instead to markets (firms, consumers, as well as affected societal actors) for legitimacy to govern.
... Governing through markets: Forest certification and the emergence of non-state authority, Yale University Press. Sasser, E. N., A. Prakash, B. Cashore and G. Auld (2006). "Direct targeting as an NGO political strategy: Examining private authority regimes in the forestry sector." Business and Politics 8(3): 1-32. ...
Thesis
Who has the capacity to regulate production in transnational supply chains and whose interests does this serve? This focus of this thesis is on transnational regulation, specifically the identification of the actors who participate in setting and implementing regulatory agendas, their interests, capacity and interactions between them. Transnational regulation is the regulation of activities which take place across national jurisdictions. State and non-state actors are direct participants in transnational regulatory regimes and non-state actors may play leading roles in their development and implementation. While work has been done which examines the roles that non-state actors play in transnational regulatory processes, there has been limited investigation into the relationships between state and non-state actors on transnational standard setting and implementation. The Governance Triangle, developed by Abbott and Snidal (2009) is a framework that positions the relationships between states, businesses and NGOs as central to transnational regulation. They argue that cooperation is necessary between these groups for there to be sufficient capacity to regulate a transnational problem. However, due to the divergent interests of these actors and the distribution of bargaining powers between them, they posit transnational regulatory standards are likely to be dominated by business interests and will be sub-optimal. This thesis explores the question of whether transnational regulatory programmes dominated by business organizations are necessarily lacking regulatory capacity and whether they remain that way over time by studying the emergence and evolution of two cases of industry selfregulation designed to improve labour standards in the production of toys and chocolate. Building upon the Governance Triangle, this thesis makes three key findings: 1) Bargaining in transnational regulation is not always distributional and that it is possible for actors to cooperate to identify and develop frameworks for transnational regulatory problems. 2) Interactions within one actor type and interactions involving all three actor groups can shape power dynamics in the bargaining process and 3) Regulation that is dominated by business actors does begin as sub-optimal. However, over time new bargaining processes can be initiated which lead to incremental developments in the capacity of a system to regulate. This thesis also contributes to the literature on non-state actors in regulation by identifying the actors which participate in transnational regulatory processes and their motivation and capacity to do so. It identifies two new sources of regulatory capacity: individual policy entrepreneurs and the media.
... These dynamics have been well documented in the literature on social movements (Tarrow 2005), transnational activism (Keck and Sikkink 1998), and world civic politics (Wapner 1995). Studies have focused on the collaboration and contestation between firms and activists from a variety of angles: how targeted firms are chosen by activists (O'Rourke 2005; Bartley and Child 2014), how firms respond to campaigns (Sasser et al. 2006;King 2008), and how industry structures impact activist interventions (Schurman 2004;Levy 2008). Less work has been done on how these campaigns actually impact the producers themselves. 1 ...
Article
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In this article, I mobilise a global production networks (GPN) approach to study a campaign seeking to impact mining practices by targeting a key consumer market: gold jewellery. In doing so, I make two contributions. The first is empirical: documenting this exploratory campaign and mapping activist strategies and outcomes against the gold production network. The second is theoretical: evaluating whether the GPN toolkit can help explain how the nature of a commodity and its markets impact activist strategies and outcomes. Recasting industries as sites of social struggle, a GPN approach offers a more nuanced understanding of the power permeating markets than more conventional supply chain analyses. The results clarify the challenges activists face when politicising industries by targeting brands, particularly in the extractives sector. But the findings also illuminate opportunities, including the more subtle pathways of activist influence as they: (1) gather and disseminate information, (2) place social and environmental issues on the industry agenda, (3) spur industry to create institutions around these issues, (4) insert themselves and their agenda into the production network, and (5) form alliances with industry actors pushing for change.
... According to Mitchel, Agle and Wood (1997) stakeholder demands are met in accordance with power and legitimacy hierarchy. Second, there is mounting evidence that in most cases formal shareholder pressure on management through resolutions is often rejected by management due to either management refusing to be seen to cede decision-making power or simply dismissing the resolutions as being too far from reality (Hoffman, 1996;Sasser, Prakash, Cashore and Auld, 2006). Therefore since our survey respondents were people of senior standing within the firms, we argue that their rejection of external influence in the form of ownership could be a manifestation of this desire to demonstrate that they maintain discretion over matters of strategic and operational importance. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether four corporate governance mechanisms (board size, non-executive directors, ownership concentration and directors’ share ownership) influence the extent of greenhouse gas (GHG) disclosure. Design/methodology/approach The study uses a mixed-methods approach based on a sample of 62 FTSE 1,000 firms. Firstly, the authors surveyed the senior management of 62 UK-listed firms in the FTSE 1,000 index to determine whether the corporate governance mechanisms influence their GHG disclosure decisions. Secondly, the authors used ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to model the relationship between the corporate governance mechanisms and GHG disclosure scores of the 62 firms. Findings The survey and OLS regression results both suggest that corporate governance mechanisms (board size and NEDs) do not influence GHG disclosures. However, the results of the two approaches differ, in that the survey results suggest that corporate governance mechanisms (ownership concentration and directors’ share ownership) do not influence the extent of GHG disclosure, while the opposite is true with the OLS regression results. Research limitations/implications The sample size of 62 firms is small which could affect the generalisability of the study. The mixed results mean that more mixed-methods approach is needed to improve the understanding of the role of corporate governance in GHG disclosures. Originality/value The use of mixed-methods to examine whether corporate governance mechanisms determine the extent of GHG voluntary disclosure provides additional insights not provided in prior studies.
... Unlike antibrand activists, however, they are also quick to compliment (and sometimes partner with) first movers, helping to revalue, and sometimes even strengthen, a brand by bestowing the title of ''sustainability leader.'' This tactic is part of a broader strategy to play brands off each other, labeling some as supporters and some as opponents of sustainability (Bloomfield, 2014(Bloomfield, , 2017den Hond & de Bakker, 2007;and Sasser et al., 2006). ...
Article
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Four trends would seem to be empowering environmentalists who target corporations with global brands: the increasing reach of social media, growing numbers of campaigns, the corporate turn toward ''sustainability'' to create brand value and manage supply chains, and the spread of eco-consumerism. Campaigns since 2007 to demand that brands stop buying palm oil linked to tropical deforestation confirm the rising influence over corporate policies and market demand. Many activists are portraying the outcomes as ''victories'' toward saving rainforests. Yet, three factors are limiting the value for improving on-the-ground management: industry influence over, and governance limits of, palm oil certification; ongoing sales of uncertified palm oil as demand shifts to nonbrand buyers; and illegalities and weak regulatory enforcement in producer countries, notably Indonesia and Malaysia. Theoretically, this analysis demonstrates the importance, when evaluating activist campaigns, of distinguishing between the influence on corporate policies and markets and the effectiveness for environmental outcomes.
... Pushing further, this suggests that framed critiques against firms are those that lead to significant reputational damage, whereas substance criticism seems to fall flat. From a theoretical stance, these findings present an interesting message for social movement and stakeholder scholars: The identified dominance of framed criticism in reputation damage provides explicit evidence for the hitherto merely implicit assumption in social movement and stakeholder theory that NGOs pursue symbolic rather than information politics (Keck & Sikkink, 1998;Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Graeme, 2006), and advance opinions rather than facts (see Alvesson, 1990;Anand et al., 2007). Moreover, these sanction mechanisms applied by NGOs are effective in terms of reputational damage-making the targeted firms look bad. ...
Article
A large body of literature looks at how firms develop and maintain their reputation. Little is known, however, about factors leading to a damaged corporate reputation. In this article, the authors compare two sets of predictors of reputational damage following a reported breach of norms: the characteristics of the breach and the characteristics of the actor reporting the breach. Theoretically, the authors argue that the latter is likely to prevail over the former. The authors test this proposition in the highly normative context of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Building on a global data set of over 8,600 CSR-related norm breaches, directed against 451 firms on the Fortune ranking reputation over the 2006-2009 period, the authors find empirical support for the idea that reputation damage is not really driven by the severity and novelty of the allegation, but by the type of source reporting the issue as well as the credibility of this source. Hence, these results lend some support to a socially constructed view of reputational damage, in which being portrayed by prominent actors as deviating from the norm is more important than the actual deviation from the goal of the norm itself.
... The interdisciplinary literature that has emerged to describe, understand, and explain the rise of these mechanisms includes rich descriptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) (Vogel 2005), industry self-regulation (Webb 2002), political consumerism (Micheletti et al. 2003), voluntary instruments, and public-private partnerships (Rosenau 2000;Börzel & Risse 2005). In addition, large-N (Prakash & Potoski 2006) and historical case studies (Boström 2003;Gulbrandsen 2005;Sasser et al. 2006) have addressed why specific types of private authority emerged, and why firm-level support for such mechanisms often varies within and across sectors. ...
... (This does not mean that all organizations that differ from the state can be called a nongovernmental organization [NGO] because they also must be non-profit.) The political science approach is interested in how NGOs influence public policies (Keck -Sikkink 1998, Wapner 1995, Sasser et al 2006. Political scientists deal with advocacy questions in general, and in the case of development NGOs (NGDOs) the research focus is on the interaction between aid and security, as well as the influence of NGOs on conflict management. ...
Article
This study introduces a new concept to the analysis of development aid. Aid is regarded as a global public good where donors benefit from the advantages of aid without rivalry and exludability. The public-goodnature of aid is a logical explanation for the deficiencies of the international aid regime, especially the suboptimal supply of aid and the free-riding of donors. The concept of aid as a public good raises the question whether there are any actors who could produce this global public good. The study analyses whether nongovernmental organizations are able to fill this gap in the international aid regime. The model is introduced through a case study: aid in Afghanistan in general, and the activities of the NGO Hungarian Baptist Aid in the country. Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) classifications: F590, H410
... First, the initial research in the late 1990s and early 2000 examined factors that influence forest company preferences for the FSC or competing forest certification schemes in Europe and North America. More specifically, this research sought to bring clarity to the phenomenon of non-state power in global standard setting and provided hypotheses and assessments on why this governance turn had occurred in global forest governance (Elliott and Schlaepfer 2001, Boström 2002, Cashore et al. 2004, Gulbrandsen 2005, van Kooten et al. 2005, Sasser et al. 2006. This research sought to examine the potential and effectiveness of the FSC to halt the growing degradation of the world's forests by giving primary attention to its drivers, namely social movements and environmentally concerned markets, and the role of the state in this process (Elliott and Schlaepfer 2001, Rametsteiner 2002, Boström 2003, Cashore et al. 2004, Gulbrandsen 2005a, Gulbrandsen 2005b, Pattberg 2005a, Pattberg 2005b, Meidinger 2006, Bartley 2007. ...
... The scholarly community is just beginning to highlight the importance of examining the combined effects of multiple environmental certifications. A few extant studies explore the competition among multiple voluntary certification programs but have not examined how their combination may result in higher economic benefits (Bartley, 2007;Durand & McGuire, 2005;Prado, 2011;Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006;Smith & Fischlein, 2010). Instead, researchers have focused on studying the economic benefits of individual voluntary environmental certification programs. ...
Article
This study examines whether community‐level green certification strengthens or weakens firm‐level environmental certification performance's effect on Costa Rican hotel room prices. Identifying how different types of environmental (green) certifications complement or substitute one another in their influence on economic benefits is essential for understanding how self‐regulations programs can promote win–win green business strategies that contribute to sustainable development. Relying on a propensity score‐matching approach, we analyze participation in two voluntary environmental certification programs for the entire population of Costa Rican hotels and beach communities between 2001 and 2008. Our findings suggest that for hotels with low to medium environmental certification performance, community‐level green certification acts as a substitute weakening the positive effect of hotel environmental certification performance on price premiums. Alternatively, for hotels with superior environmental certification performance, green community certification acts as a complement strengthening the positive effect of hotel environmental certification performance on price premiums.
... Remarkably, the presence of one or more blockholders is considered a mechanism of corporate governance that can alleviate such conflicts (Connelly, Hoskisson, Tihanyi, & Certo, 2010). As blockholders maintain a considerable proportion of firm shares, they have high motivation to monitor managerial actions (Parthiban, Bloom, & Hillman, 2007;Rehbein, Waddock, & Graves, 2004;Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006). Furthermore, in the presence of asymmetric information, concentrating ownership in the hands of few blockholders may allow them to pursue their vision and strategic orientation (Goshen & Hamdani, 2015). ...
Article
Empirical This paper disentangles how the modes of ownership distribution among multiple blockholders and their heterogeneity shape principal‐principal conflicts and, in turn, affect firm performance. The paper offers empirical evidence from a panel of Italian closely held firms over the period 2009‐2014. We explore the principal‐principal conflicts among blockholders across two distinct control structures. When a single blockholder controls the firm, principal‐principal conflicts are shaped by the trade‐off between the alignment effect and the monitoring effect. In this scenario, we find that the relationship between the two largest blockholders’ ownership concentration and firm performance is U‐shaped. Furthermore, we show that heterogeneity across the two largest blockholder types has a negative effect on performance. In the absence of a controlling blockholder, firm control is usually obtained by forming coalitions, and principal‐principal conflicts involve the blockholders inside the controlling coalition and the other shareholders. We find that the ownership distribution and heterogeneity across blockholder types are negatively related to the size of controlling coalitions, and in turn, the size of controlling coalitions is positively correlated with firm performance. We contribute to principal‐principal segment of agency theory by showing that the presence of a controlling blockholder is a key variable that alters the relationship between blockholders’ ownership concentration and corporate performance, as well as the relationship between heterogeneity across the largest blockholders and firm performance. Our findings across control structures in which multiple blockholders are present suggest that blockholders take different roles depending on the control structure in which they are involved. The implications of these findings relate to the design of the ownership structure of a firm.
... Moreover, public pressure could result in backlash against the firm or its products from investors, politicians and customers (Graham et al. 2014;Sharman 2009). Investors of the exposed firms may be concerned with damage to firms' brand value, losing customers to a boycott, diminished prospects for recruiting and retaining employees, and a weakened ability to raise capital (Baron 2003;Klein 2000;Sasser et al. 2006). Blacklists are known to provide basis for extra scrutiny, compliance costs and outright boycotts of certain jurisdictions by investors (Narci 2012). ...
Article
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I study publication of the European Union (EU) tax haven blacklist on December 5, 2017, to examine whether and how the use of recognized tax havens affects firm value. I find that the tax haven naming and shaming by the EU was associated with a negative stock price reaction of firms with tax haven subsidiaries. Overall, publication of the blacklist erased $56 billion in market capitalization among the implicated firms. The largest reaction was for those tax havens, for which it was not foreseeable that they would be included in the blacklist. Retail firms experienced a larger decrease in share price than firms in other industries, which is consistent with a potential consumer backlash. Also more tax-aggressive firms faced more negative returns, which suggests that investors expect firms might be audited or fined for past or overly aggressive tax avoidance. The negative reaction was less pronounced in countries with low levels of investor protection and weakly governed firms with substantial conflicts of interest between principals and shareholders. This is consistent with increased scrutiny and potential for countermeasures associated with the blacklist, which reduce opportunities for managerial wealth diversion.
... Establishing the credibility of PRIs, however, is a fraught process. Stakeholders often view private regulation skeptically, arguing that it is akin to a "fox guarding the henhouse" (Cashore et al. 2003, King Prado and Rivera 2012, Sasser et al. 2006. In light of this skepticism, one of the most common ways to build the credibility of PRIs is to make them appear to be stringent to external stakeholders (Fransen 2011, Haack andRasche 2021). ...
Article
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The forces that threaten to break apart private regulatory institutions are well known, but the forces that sustain them are not. Through a longitudinal inductive study of the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program in the Canadian mining industry, we demonstrate how private regulatory institutions are sustained by strategically manipulating different aspects of an institution's stringency. Our findings show how shifts in external conditions decreased benefits of participation for firms, triggering institutional destabilization. We demonstrate how the interdependent mechanisms of hollowing-actions that ratchet down aspects of stringency associated with high compliance costs-and fortifying-actions that ratchet up aspects of stringency associated with low compliance costs-worked together to stabilize the institution by rebalancing the competing pressures that underpin it. However, these same mechanisms can hinder the ability of these institutions to substantively address the targeted issues even as they become more stringent in some areas. Our study advances research on private regulation by showing how different aspects of stringency can be simultaneously ratcheted up and ratcheted down to sustain private regulatory institutions. Further, in positioning institutional stability as an ongoing negotiation, we elucidate the key custodial role of governing organizations like trade associations in institutional maintenance.
... NGOs, which have a limited ability to reward firms for following their practices, exert pressure on firms to adopt energy management initiatives by mobilizing resources, using their voice, and channeling and coordinating activist groups and social movement initiatives (e.g., boycotts, protest, and lawsuits) that can damage or pose a threat to the financial performance and reputation of firms (Berrone et al., 2013). Thus, firms under NGOs pressures may need to exert more effort to remain consistent with those NGOs' requirements on EES adoption to avoid or limit such damage (Sasser et al., 2006). Consequently, these firms may suffer an increase in adoption costs and a reduction in flexibility in terms of customizing the adoption in a manner that is more appropriate for their specific environment (Westphal et al., 1997;Berrone et al., 2013); this, in turn, leads to less financial benefits. ...
Article
With institutional pressures from various stakeholders concerned with climate change and efficient energy use in firms' operations, it has formed the belief that energy efficiency is crucial part for sustainable operations and firm competitiveness. While an increasing number of firms have adopted energy-efficient systems (EES), a limited understanding of the actual impact of EES adoption on financial performance and how institutional pressures moderate that impact remains. Based on 238 listed firms that have deployed EES, the study reveals that firms improve their return on assets (ROA), and different institutional pressures have significant and diverse effects on the performance of EES adoption. While pressures imposed by government policies and environmental non-government organizations (NGOs) provide less financial benefits of EES, pressures from competitors provide more financial benefits of EES. The research provides empirical evidence of how pressures from energy efficiency policies, environmental groups, and competitors affect the EES-performance relationship. We also discuss implications of the findings for managers, public policymakers, NGOs, and academia.
... Within global production networks, MSIs have commonly been used to govern North-South trade flows of goods and services. Their introduction into GPNs has been understood as a reaction by lead firms to increased civil society and media exposés of exploitative social conditions of production within developing countries (Sasser et al., 2006). Firms have used their participation within MSIs to protect their reputation and secure their market position in light of these broader developments (Fuchs et al., 2011;Barrientos, 2013;Fransen and Burgoon, 2015). ...
Article
Exploitative and inadequate working conditions in developing countries remain a pressing concern in an age of advanced globalisation. As a response to weak regulatory environments, multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) have emerged as a key institution of regulatory governance within globalised production networks. While MSIs governing social standards for workers and producers in North-South trade networks are well-established, the rapid growth of emerging economies raises new questions regarding the governance of production for local and regional markets in the global South. While some scholars have argued that the growth of Southern markets may lead to a “race to the bottom” for work and employment conditions, a number of recent studies have since documented the introduction of Southern MSIs governing production for local markets. This article examines the development of Trustea as a Southern MSI governing the rights and conditions of Indian workers and producers supplying tea to India’s domestic market. Drawing on analysis of production networks (PNs), this article demonstrates the key reasons why firms, state and civil society actors from the global North and global South have come to share a mutual interest in governing tea produced for India’s domestic market. The evidence presented challenges the dominant assumption that Southern MSIs tend to be driven by local actors and processes and instead presents a more complex picture of the evolving relationship between actors from the global North and global South within the development of Southern standards.
... Often activists will use their positions as moral authorities to make persuasive appeals and to 'mobilize shame' in order to urge other actors to change their behaviour (Keck and Sikkink 1998, p. 24). Material leverage can also be brought to bear by organizing boycott and divestment campaigns, where activists will typically use persuasive techniques to mobilize other actors, typically members of the public, to harm the economic interests of a target (see for example Trentmann 2019; Sasser et al. 2006). When monitoring compliance, activists typically rely on 'naming and shaming', using information to draw attention to non-compliance with norms, standards, laws or agreements (see Keck and Sikkink 1999, p. 97). ...
Chapter
Direct Action (DA) is a sometimes confrontational strategy employed by those seeking to bring about the change they would like to see in the world. It is typically applied within the boundaries of states, however, the high seas provide an ideal theatre for the use of DA at the international level. The most prolific practitioners of DA at the international level are marine conservation organizations. In recent years, there has been increased diversity of DA strategies. This chapter develops a typology of DA at sea, using the categories of traditional DA, service provision, monitoring/surveillance, deterrence and compellence. The latter three categories of the typology eschew the moral framing traditionally invoked by activists, in favour of legalistic framing. These forms of ‘Direct Enforcement’ (DE) frame ecologically harmful activity as criminal in nature, and propose DA as a form of law enforcement. In so doing, practitioners expand the role of non-state actors into a territory traditionally reserved for the state. While this expansion has the potential to put activists and governments into conflict, this is not exclusively the case. Several activist-state relationships are identified: acquiescence, antipathy, concurrence and collaboration.
... In one instance, groups dug up a 390---year---old western red cedar stump from a logged forest in BC and took "Stumpy" on tour to raise awareness about the loss of old---growth forests in Canada, and particularly BC (Stanbury 2000;Bernstein and Cashore 2000;Stefanick 2001). Around the late 1990s, the tactic shifted to include the targeting of large purchasers of Canadian products, usually retailers, which were at the time greatly expanding their market share (Auld and Cashore Forthcoming 2013;Sasser et al. 2006). As the tar sands case shows, this corporate targeting is a key tactic, and one that the countermovement has sought to subvert. ...
Conference Paper
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Canada has a long history of contentious politics surrounding the extraction of resources from seals and fish to timber and minerals. Most recently, ramped up extraction of bitumen deposits—or tar sands—used to produce unconventional crude have spurred a series of campaigns in Canada’s international markets that seek to disrupt this development path. In their 2012 article, Interactive Diffusion, della Porta and Tarrow argue that the transnational diffusion of protest behavior cannot be considered apart from the practices that take place in response to this behavior. Their analysis of three countersummit protests and police action at the protests led them to conclude that the protesters’ and police repertoires “co-evolve” – that is, “spread transnationally in interaction with one another.” (122) We use this insight to examine the discursive strategies enacted by environmental groups and grassroots organizations to protest the development of Canada’s tar sands, and the responses to these strategies by an industry-oriented group, Ethical Oil. We argue that the contentious politics surrounding the tar sands are characterized by the co-evolution of repertoires by both grassroots and “astroturf” movements. Looking at three campaigns undertaken in the context of tar sands protests—mobilizations of popular support against the American firm Chiquita Brands; issue construction regarding the Canadian Conservative government’s decision to investigate foreign funding to nonprofit organizations; and framing contests over expertise and evidence in the characterization of environmental degradation of tar sands development—we demonstrate that the diffusion of protester innovations is not only paralleled but also mutually constituted by the diffusion of counter-protest activity.
... Despite its claim to set global rules, PG usually has national origins. For example, the original standard in forestrythe Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)was popularized in Europe, but soon was rivaled by a competing American standard, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) (Sasser, Prakash, Cashore, & Auld, 2006). The varying national roots of divergent or competing initiatives suggest important differences and preferences by firms in "governance making". ...
Article
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The international nature of supply chains has led to the rise of private authority in regulating the environmental and social impacts of production, which companies frequently address through corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the form of private governance (PG). Despite its claim to establish “global” rules, PG usually has national origins, and multiple efforts to address the same issue from different national perspectives frequently coexist. Numerous studies have explored the impact of national business systems on companies' domestic CSR practices, yet little is known about what factors shape CSR practices like PG internationally. Therefore, this study seeks to understand how differing domestic contexts shape approaches to CSR in the form of PG in host countries. I explore this empirically through the comparative case study of competing PG initiatives in the post‐Rana Plaza Bangladesh garment industry, uniquely conceived to govern companies' practices rather than certify products. It combines empirical findings with the comparative CSR literature to hypothesize about ideal types of PG organizing in US and European contexts. It extends the analysis to also account for other influential factors, such as stakeholder pressure, thus demonstrating how institutional and agentic factors amalgamate to shape firms' choices. By explicating linkages between international PG and its domestic context, as well as between the comparative CSR and PG literature studies, this study extends our understanding of how and why international PG practices and preferences vary for firms originating from different environments.
... So far, the literature inter alia focused on competition between governance makers and its effect on the multiplicity of governance schemes . Rivalry of private governance makers occurs e.g. in the coffee and forestry sector, such as in the case of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 1 and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Bloomfield, 2012;Lee, 2009;Muradian and Pelupessy, 2005;Raynolds et al., 2007;Sasser et al., 2006). In the context of fragmentation, competition between governance makers can come in many forms. ...
Thesis
Companies are increasingly expected to take responsibility for negative effects related to their value creation activities. In this doctoral dissertation, the responsibility a business firm has for the harmful social, ecological and economic effects stemming from its value creation activities is subsumed under the notion of value chain responsibility (VCR). Taking value chain responsibility is already a challenging and continuous endeavor. Yet, to complicate matters further, the external environment in which companies are running their value creation activities and VCR efforts is complex and challenging. In more detail, this dissertation focuses on two phenomena in the firm’s environment which considerably affect its VCR activities: the fragmentation of sustainability governance and the changing VCR expectations of stakeholders. Fragmented sustainability governance describes how the regulatory environment in which firms operate their business and conduct VCR activities is increasingly shaped by multiple and different governance actors (such as NGOs and companies) and governance instruments (such as voluntary sustainability standards and schemes). This fragmentation of the ‘rules of the game’ for businesses can have ambivalent consequences for the company’s capability to take VCR. Changing VCR expectations of stakeholders describe how stakeholders draw attention to detrimental social, ecological and economic issues affiliated with the firm’s value chain operations and thus demand action from the firm to resolve precisely these issues. Both phenomena have in common that they a) require the firm to draw attention to changes in its external environment and b) potentially result in or call for internal changes within the firm, e.g. regarding the way a firm manages its business operations and addresses sustainability challenges. Against this background, the overall objective of this paper-based dissertation is to expand our understanding how companies can take value chain responsibility in environments shaped by complexity, fragmented sustainability governance and changing stakeholder expectations. The four individual papers of this dissertation provide distinct contributions for academia and corporate practice: Paper I provides a mapping of the scholarly literature on the phenomenon of fragmented sustainability governance, sheds light on different facets of this phenomenon and illustrates management practices to deal with fragmented sustainability governance. Paper II elaborates on explanatory factors that help us understand the fragmentation of sustainability governance in the empirical case of the global gold sector. Paper III explores how companies as potential governance makers and takers affect and are affected by fragmented sustainability governance. Paper IV sheds light on changing stakeholder expectations and how they might impact the internal structural and functional organization of the firm to take VCR.
... So far, the literature inter alia focused on competition between governance makers and its effect on the multiplicity of governance schemes (Gulbrandsen, 2005;Meidinger, 2011;Prado, 2013;Smith and Fischlein, 2010). Rivalry of private governance makers occurs e.g. in the coffee and forestry sector, such as in the case of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 1 and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) (Bartley, 2007;Bloomfield, 2012;Lee, 2009;Muradian and Pelupessy, 2005;Raynolds et al., 2007;Sasser et al., 2006). In the context of fragmentation, competition between governance makers can come in many forms. ...
Article
Governance is needed to address sustainability challenges along global value chains. Yet, the multiplicity or fragmentation of public and private sustainability governance resembles a potential hurdle for coping with sustainability challenges. This fragmentation is also intriguing from a research perspective, as little is known about the drivers of governance fragmentation in specific commodity sectors. This study assesses the fragmentation of sustainability governance in the global gold sector. Four general factors for fragmentation are derived from the literature: contextual factors, intra- and inter-organizational factors as well as scope of governance. A comprehensive case study, including a qualitative analysis of 26 in-depth interviews with experts in the gold sector, is used to investigate these general factors in the case of gold and to derive gold-specific factors for fragmentation. The five key findings are that, first, specific industry characteristics of the gold sector create actor-specific governance needs that lead to a multiplicity of governance schemes. Second, key governance references exist in the case of gold, but leave room for interpretation, thus encouraging a multiplicity of governance. Third, intra-organizational factors considerably impact the fragmentation of governance for gold, regarding different governance initiators and members, organizational logics, missions and ‘business models’ and the framing of sustainability. Fourth, the scope of governance strongly explains fragmentation in the gold sector. Fifth, competition between governance makers for gold provides only weak explanations for the resulting fragmentation. A conceptual framework is introduced that encapsulates general factors of fragmentation from the literature and gold-specific factors from the empirical findings. It serves to refine, enrich and display factors of fragmentation in their interaction in the gold sector. Insights from this study expand the scholarly knowledge on fragmented sustainability governance and provide a starting point for further cross-case and comparative studies of fragmented sustainability governance.
... Establishing the credibility of PRIs, however, is a fraught process. Stakeholders often view private regulation skeptically, arguing that it is akin to a "fox guarding the henhouse" (Cashore et al. 2003, King Prado and Rivera 2012, Sasser et al. 2006. In light of this skepticism, one of the most common ways to build the credibility of PRIs is to make them appear to be stringent to external stakeholders (Fransen 2011, Haack andRasche 2021). ...
Article
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This paper applies the international environmental negotiations framework (IENF) and the multiple streams framework (MSF) to analyze the influence of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Development Agencies (IDAs) in the development and implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade agreement (FLEGT) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) regimes in Cameroon. Deforestation, forest degradation, and illegal logging are critical issues in forest management in many forest-rich countries around the world. In attempt to curtail illegal logging, global forest governance in the past few years has witnessed the development of a number of timber legality regimes including FLEGT. In the same light, the international community has recently seen the emergence of the REDD+ regime to fight against global warming and climate change. Based on sixty-eight interviews in Cameroon with representatives of NGOs and IDAs, government officials, the timber industry, and members of forest communities, as well as eleven informal conversations, and more than sixty documents, the paper finds that NGO and IDA influence on the FLEGT and REDD+ regimes in Cameroon has been growing in three areas: stakeholder participation, project development, and institutional development. Thus, the increasing influence of NGOs and IDAs will pave the way for future interventions on social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues, including land tenure, carbon rights, benefit distribution, equity, Free, Prior and Informed consent, legality, and stakeholder process, related to the FLEGT and REDD+ regimes in Cameroon.
Article
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The performance of private forest governance systems, such as the standard and approach developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is often assessed at the local level although they also have an indirect influence on public policies at the national level. Such spillover effects must be understood to assess the effectiveness of certification in contributing to improved forest governance. With this purpose, this article analyses the influences of the implementation of FSC standards on changes in forest governance in Cameroon, Congo and Gabon based on perceptions of 43 “knowledgeable” actors of FSC natural forest management. The information was collected through the use of semi‐open and open interviews, and rankings. Findings show that perceived FSC influence on forest governance has followed two pathways: (a) a clear impact on stakeholder participation and timber traceability; and (b) a limited impact on improving national governance, as illustrated by the lack of global improvement in resource management practices or in biodiversity conservation. Moreover, interviewees agreed that struggles against corruption and transparency have not been impacted by the FSC certification in the Congo Basin. This mitigated influence of FSC on forest governance is first explained by a limited spillover effect of the virtuous practices of the seven FSC‐certified companies on the national logging sector. Secondly, progress in FSC certification has been little taken up by public policies, which remain the main leverage for action on forest governance in producing countries.
Article
Private politics refers to situations in which activists or NGOs try to push firms to conform to social standards (regarding, for instance, human rights and environmental protection) without public policy intervention. The existing literature on private politics has focused on large campaigns such as consumer boycotts, and looked at the impact of those boycotts on firms' financial performance and on the likelihood that firms comply with activist demands. Even though these large campaigns are important, focusing on them leads to neglecting the fact that a large portion of the time and resources that activists consecrate to private politics is used to monitor firms and criticize them through Internet posting and media statements, rather than to launch high profile campaigns. Little is known, however, about what drives these activists when they criticize companies, why they target certain companies and not others, and whether this criticism should be considered as a primary step in the production of full-fledged campaigns. In this paper, we fill this gap by exploring a unique international database of CSR-based criticisms against Fortune 500 companies for the 2006-2009 period. This database allows us to look at the impact of a broad range of factors including industry differences, country/institutional differences and firm-specific dimensions, on the likelihood that a certain firm will be targeted by activist critique. Results indicate that criticism is driven by strategic intents. Similar to previous literature, large and visible firms in certain industries are more targeted than others. In addition, these firms also tend to come from countries with strong institutions and high standards of living. Copyright © 2016 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
Article
We examine the unique nature of conflict between controlling family owners and minority shareholders (principal–principal conflict) in publicly traded family controlled firms through examining shareholder proposals. Implicit in prior governance and family business research has been that nonfamily shareholders are likely to be in conflict with the dominant family owners. In general, we find that much of this fear may be unwarranted except under specific circumstances. Our findings elucidate sources of heterogeneity in family firm principal–principal conflict and add greater nuance to our understanding of this type of agency problem within family firms.
Article
At the global level, two Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) systems, i.e., protocols and certification, have grown significantly in standardizing forest management practices. Protocols are driven by multi-stakeholder groups that outline a series of standardized criteria and indicators agreed upon by participating countries. On the other hand, forest certification involves market-driven multi-stakeholder standardization, assessment, and recognition of a forest management entity’s compliance with standards established by the respective certification program. In this study, we compare the trends in numbers and types of changes that have taken place over two consecutive periods (1995-2005 and 2005-2015) through case studies for three protocols (International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Forest Europe (FE), and Montreal Process (MP)) and two certification schemes (Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)). A qualitative review of the respective systems’ institutional histories is followed by a graphical representation of the observed changes. We then compare the relative quantitative changes in the categories of criteria and indicators in the standards of the selected systems. We find that FSC may have been instrumental in other SFM systems changing the ecological types of Criteria & Indicators (C&Is) in both periods. Changes in SFI’s standards correspond to its institutional changes from a purely industry-driven system to being an independent organization. Furthermore, we find that ITTO has been more reactive in changing their C&Is as compared to MP and FE, which may have played a vital role in the standardization discourse. Nevertheless, based on our results, we argue that considering socio-economic institutional elements towards trends and developments in all the five standards is important. The selected five SFM institutions can use our findings regarding the trends in the standardization of global forest management to achieve their respective goals for ensuring the sustainability of forest resources worldwide.
Chapter
Over the past years, we have witnessed the development of a variety of voluntary transnational corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives at various levels. As other chapters in this volume have documented, many companies have joined these initiatives. This chapter focuses on the following question: why do companies decide to join them? To answer this question, we take up the case of the largest initiative among them, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and investigate its corporate signatories in Japan. Spearheaded by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UNGC was launched in July 2000. It can be depicted as a mechanism to disseminate an idea of global corporate citizenship and to encourage companies to voluntarily implement principles in the fields of human rights, labor, environment, and anticorruption through learning processes. The UNGC is based on the "leadership model," which means that only the signature of top management and support from the corporate board are required for a company to become a signatory. The number of UNGC participants has increased steadily over the past years from about fifty to more than 10,000, including more than 7,000 companies. There have been discussions on why companies join the UNGC and what impacts, if any, its membership might have on them. Earlier critics of the UNGC, for example, argued that its signatories were merely "bluewashing" (i.e., wrapping their wrongdoings with the UN blue flag and enhancing their reputation) and that, lacking the necessary "teeth" to punish noncompliance, UNGC membership would not affect their behavior in any way (Bruno and Karliner 2000; for a summary of arguments against the UNGC, see Rasche 2012). Proponents of the UNGC, on the other hand, have argued that the UNGC is "a necessary supplement" to legal regulations and that its membership will encourage learning and collective action (Rasche 2009; see also Kell 2013). Despite the heated discussion by both practitioners and academics on this topic, they have mostly based their arguments on assumed motives of companies.
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The discourse and practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) have become standard features of consumer products industries in affluent countries. Mega-retailers and brands from Apple to Ikea to Zara have developed voluntary standards, ethical sourcing guidelines, and benchmarking systems for the social and environmental impacts of their supply chains. New forms of auditing have been developed to provide assurances that can be included in “sustainability reports” or communicated through certification and labeling. Numerous voluntary programs seek to oversee and guide the CSR practices of firms and add credibility to their assurances. Many of these initiatives first gained traction in the apparel and footwear industry, where responses to anti-sweatshop activism in the 1990s made “codes of conduct” and factory monitoring nearly ubiquitous among large, branded firms. As these activities have expanded and spread to other industries (e.g., electronics, home furnishings), their limitations have also become clearer: labor-related CSR initiatives have failed to transform “low road” models of global production or even to greatly reduce allegations of sweatshops and labor rights abuses. The list of reasons for this is long and, by now, well-known: auditing is often done poorly and falls prey to falsification by resistant factory managers and coached responses from workers (Pun 2005; Ethical Trading Initiative 2006; Frank 2008; China Labor Watch 2009). Even when imperfect auditing turns up significant problems, business often goes on as usual, since compliance ratings are only loosely coupled with sourcing decisions (Egels-Zanden 2007; Locke, Amengual, and Mangla 2009). Improvements tend to be marginal and fail to shift fundamental power dynamics within firms or within the industry (Esbenshade 2004; Mamic 2004; Barrientos and Smith 2007). More broadly, voluntary CSR commitments and programs lack the capacity – and often the willingness – to force change upon recalcitrant actors. Many CSR programs are little more than “fairwash,” and this problem is made worse by the proliferation of programs and subsequent confusion among consumers (Seidman 2007).
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What determines the uptake of private sustainability regulation in developing countries? Existing studies point to the local context as the key explanatory factor. In particular, they identify local program characteristics, industry structures, and the regulatory environment as variables influencing program uptake at the point of production. However, examining two very similar certification programs in Brazil's soy and sugarcane industries, this article finds that local conditions fail to account for the observed patterns. A “local explanation” would have predicted similar levels of industry uptake in the two sectors. Conversely, it is found that Brazil's soy producers first backed but then opposed private sustainability regulation, whereas in the sugarcane sector the dynamic was exactly the opposite. Through an in-depth analysis and cross-case comparison this article reveals how changing transnational conditions were decisive in shaping these outcomes. Specifically, shifting end markets exposed the two sectors to different economic and regulatory pressures.
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The work of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) has contributed to the institutionalization of environmentalism. Putting environmental INGOs in comparative perspective, it is argued that differences in authority among INGOs are an important determinant of the strategies that INGOs adopt and the ultimate influence they are able to achieve. This claim is illustrated through an examination of the changing political opportunities for INGOs and a case of a recent private governance initiative, The Sustainability Consortium. The status maintenance concerns of leading INGOs encourage them to adopt incrementalist and pro-market policies that help launch weak governance schemes and frustrate many other environmental INGOs.
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The global expansion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in recent decades has been spectacular. Although much debate continues on the content and efficacy of CSR, the notion that corporations are accountable for the social and environmental consequences of their activities has become widely accepted in the worlds of business, government, and civil society. Global CSR frameworks such as the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) include thousands of business participants across multiple countries and industries and attract wide support from governments and civil society organizations. Corresponding to the rising global profile of CSR, scholarly attention to CSR has grown tremendously (Haufler 2001; Hoffman 2001; Hoffman and Ventresca 2002; Vogel 2005; Prakash and Potoski 2006; May, Cheney, and Roper 2007; Potoski and Prakash 2009; Soule 2009; Smith et al. 2010; Utting and Marques 2010; Crouch and Maclean 2011; Lindgreen et al. 2012). Building on this literature, this volume examines two key issues in contemporary CSR activities. The first is the global nature of contemporary CSR efforts. Many CSR debates and activities today assume that CSR entails global problems that require global solutions. Through what historical and institutional processes have we come to accept this global approach to CSR? How did different actors engage in the politics of legitimation and contestation in the evolution of CSR in international society? How have global and national forces combined to construct specific fields of CSR, such as cross-national supply chains, sustainability, and conflict minerals? Second, the global expansion of CSR ideas and practices exerts considerable pressure on corporations to take a position. What factors shape their reaction to this growing call for CSR action? Why have some corporations joined the global CSR movement while others have resisted or rejected it? If corporations participate in this CSR movement, do they gain anything from their efforts, or do they become targets of further criticism? What impact do these global pressures ultimately have on actual CSR outcomes? This volume addresses these questions using rich historical data, innovative discourse analysis, in-depth interviews, and sophisticated quantitative methods.
Book
The corporation has become an increasingly dominant force in contemporary society. However, comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the concept of the corporation is often restricted, or limited to one disciplinary approach. This handbook brings together the cutting-edge scholarship, expertise and insight of leading scholars in a wide range of disciplines, notably management studies, law, history, political science, anthropology, sociology and criminology, using a critical approach to dissect and understand the corporation. Ten chapters provide overviews of the state of play of critical scholarship on the corporation in each of these disciplines. Further contributors tackle current hot topics, such as corporate social responsibility, corporate crime, global value chains, financialization, and the interaction between corporations and communities. Finally, they consider resistance and alternatives to the corporation. With its interdisciplinary approach, this book is an invaluable resource for all readers studying the past, present and future of the corporation. The first text to offer a critical analysis of the corporation from an inter-disciplinary perspective, allowing readers to consider the approaches of multiple disciplines Provides an overview of the history of the corporation, as well as a breakdown of current issues and possible outcomes for the future Presents an impetus to finding new solutions to current issues around the corporation in global society.
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Private governance regimes—instances where nonstate actors set rules that govern their behavior and/or the behavior of others—are increasingly common intermediaries between activists and corporations. Activists are often thought to drive corporations to participate in private governance. By participating, corporations hope to be shielded from activist pressures. Yet there are many instances where activists oppose particular private governance regimes, even ones that are seen as leaders in a sector. Why is this? This article contributes answers to this question by examining how activists’ different strategic orientations affect their perceptions of private governance. It unpacks three distinct ideal-type strategic orientations—prefiguration, targeting, and cooperation—activists may hold in their efforts to transform markets and the different forms of private governance each orientation will prefer. It then details how market entry conditions, sequencing and interactions, and feedbacks affect how activists are likely to engage the private governance regimes that develop in a given sector.
Book
Cambridge Core - Governance - Selling Sustainability Short? - by Janina Grabs
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Reporting corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives has become standard practice among large corporations in recent times. Worldwide, the number of top 250 companies that issued CSR reports has increased from 45 percent in 2002 to nearly 80 percent in 2008. In the United States, the number of top-100 companies that publish a sustainability report increased from 36 in 2002 to 78 in 2008. Many of the sustainability reports conform to the guidelines created by nonprofit organizations such as the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), or the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Indeed, the number of US companies that publish sustainability reports that conform to the GRI's guidelines increased from 24 in 2003 to 183 in 2010. Academic studies on CSR have also proliferated during the last two decades (Hart and Ahuja 1996; Russo and Fouts 1997; Dowell, Hart, and Yeung 1999; Andersson and Bateman 2000; Bansal and Roth 2000; Konar and Cohen 2001; Jiang and Bansal 2003; Kanter 2003; Porter and Kramer 2003; Toffel 2005; Potosky and Prakash 2005; Vogel 2006; Bullis and Ie 2007; Cetindamar and Husoy 2007; Etzion 2007; Delmas and Montiel 2008; Janney, Dess, and Forlani 2009; Runhaar and Lafferty 2009; Chen and Delmas 2011; Delmas and Montes-Sancho 2011). Many of these studies focus on firms' environmental performance (EP) because, as Vogel (2006: 133) points out, “no dimension of corporate social responsibility has attracted as much attention from the business community as environmental protection. Since the mid-1990s, hundreds of corporations, both large and small, have initiated or expanded programs and policies to reduce their environmental impact and made 'sustainability' part of their professed business mission." Numerous studies examine the relationship between environmental and financial corporate performance and argue that doing the right thing for the environment provides a competitive advantage (Hart and Ahuja 1996; Russo and Fouts 1997; Dowell, Hart, and Yeung 1999; Konar and Cohen 2001; Porter and Kramer 2003; Margolis and Walsh 2003).
Article
Increasing multi-polarity within global politics is understood to be a key contributor to the current legitimacy crisis facing global governance organisations. International relations scholars studying this crisis recognise that a prominent strategy to confront “Northern” dominance within this arena is through the construction of alternative governance institutions. Yet while the de-legitimation of long-established international organisations is widely discussed, there is less focused attention on how alternative institutions seek to gain legitimacy, particularly when they advance in fields where both “Northern” and “Southern” interests matter and beliefs about what constitutes proper governance may differ. This article analyses the field of transnational economic governance where the de-legitimation of pre-existing Northern-oriented governance takes the shape of new initiatives backed by Southern actors. Specifically, we focus on transnational sustainability standards governing trade and production in the global economy. This global governance arena has been transformed by the increasingly polycentric nature of global trade, in which producers governed by sustainability standards cater to rapidly expanding markets in the Global South as well as markets in the Global North. As markets have expanded in emerging economies, transnational sustainability standards must increasingly navigate and respond to actors and interests within different geographies in order to gain and establish legitimacy. The recent development of Southern-oriented sustainability standards (as opposed to established Northern-led standards) reflects the existence of diverging perspectives on the appropriateness of established rules and procedures when it comes to the regulation of trade and production. These standards are seen as partially challenging established standards but may likely seek to establish legitimacy within the wider transnational field of sustainability governance. This article examines the case of a recently established India-based sustainability standard known as Trustea to illustrate how various actors managed design and policy dilemmas to reconcile the preferences and beliefs of various audiences. The case illustrates the significance of both “Northern” and “Southern” audiences to Trustea’s legitimacy-seeking strategies in the context of broader political contestations regarding how production should be governed in relation to sustainable practices.
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A new global activism is shaming the world's top companies into enacting codes of conduct and opening their Third World factories for inspection. But before you run a victory lap in your new sweatshop-free sneakers, ask yourself: Do these voluntary arrangements truly help workers and the environment, or do they merely weaken local governments while adding more green to the corporate bottom line?
Article
Full-text available
This symposium has addressed the transformation of environmental gover nance under conditions of globalization from a variety of disciplinary, theoreti cal, and geographical perspectives. Although some contributors come from a more optimistic/salutatory perspective and others from a more pessimistic/criti cal viewpoint, all have in common an assessment that the contemporary period is unique in terms of the constellation of social forces on national, supra-, and subnational levels that determine environmental governance. High-speed global circulation of information, goods, and services; global and regional as well as local environmental problems; emerging transnational forms of governance par alleled by so-called subpolitical arrangements; a global civil society; and the reconfiguration of the nation-state within an increasingly complex matrix of social forces—all are important characteristics of this era contributing to reconfigurations of environmental governance. What have we learned from these contributions? What pieces still are missing in our understanding of this puzzling new world of environmental governance? In this necessarily brief epi logue, the editors suggest a few general conclusions and outline a number of promising areas for further research.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, transnational and domestic nongovernmental organizations have created non–state market–driven (NSMD) governance systems whose purpose is to develop and implement environmentally and socially responsible management practices. Eschewing traditional state authority, these systems and their supporters have turned to the market’s supply chain to create incentives and force companies to comply. This paper develops an analytical framework designed to understand better the emergence of NSMD governance systems and the conditions under which they may gain authority to create policy. Its theoretical roots draw on pragmatic, moral, and cognitive legitimacy granting distinctions made within organizational sociology, while its empirical focus is on the case of sustainable forestry certification, arguably the most advanced case of NSMD governance globally. The paper argues that such a framework is needed to assess whether these new private governance systems might ultimately challenge existing state–centered authority and public policy–making processes, and in so doing reshape power relations within domestic and global environmental governance.
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Although empirical research on international environmental politics and policy (IEP) will, by necessity, rely on qualitative case studies, this methodology remains less developed than quantitative procedures. Analysts using qualitative case studies to evaluate and generalize causal inferences can improve their research by following six key research steps. Selecting cases carefully, drawing appropriate causal inferences, and addressing the tension between specificity and generalizability prove particularly important. Analysts should develop theoretically meaningful propositions before selecting cases. Theoretically and practically interesting questions often cannot be answered with politically "hot" cases. Drawing internally valid causal inferences requires clearly defining and measuring dependent, independent, and control variables and selecting cases to control for exogenous variables. Focusing on "hard cases" and explicitly analyzing rival hypotheses produce stronger causal inferences. Analysts should give precedence to internal validity over external validity in their findings. Examples drawn from several environmental issue areas illustrate the method and criteria.
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This article develops a political economy approach to the study of contemporary transnational networks. We argue that many aspects of International Organization (IO) and International Non Governmental Organization (NGO) behavior can be explained by materialist analysis and an examination of the incentives and constraints produced by the transnational sector’s institutional environment. We advance two theoretical propositions. First, the growing number of IOs and INGOs within a given transnational sector increases uncertainty, competition, and insecurity for all organizations in that sector. This proposition disputes the liberal view that INGO proliferation is, in and of it- self, evidence of a robust global civil society. Second, we suggest that the marketization of many IO and INGO activities—particularly the use of com- petitive tenders and renewable contracting—generates incentives that produce dysfunctional outcomes. This claim disputes the popular assumption that market-based institutions in the transnational sector increase INGO efficiency and effectiveness. In advancing these arguments, we do not criticize the normative agendas, moral character, or nominal goals of individual transnational groups. Rather we suggest that dysfunctional organizational behavior is likely to be a rational response to systematic and predictable institutional pressures. In many cases, uncooperative local actors will take advantage of the transnational sector’s perverse incentives to further their own opportunistic agendas.
Article
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Much debate concerning small-N analysis has centered on the question of whether this research tradition has powerful tools for assessing causality. Yet, recent contributions make it clear that scholars are not in consensus with regard to the more basic: issue of which procedures and underlying logic are in fact used in small-N causal assessment. Focusing on the field of comparative-historical analysis, this article attempts to clarify these procedures and logic. Methods associated with three major strategies of small-N causal inference are examined: nominal comparison, ordinal comparison, and within-case analysis. The article argues that the use of these three strategies within particular small-N studies has led scholars to reach radically divergent conclusions about the logic of causal analysis in small-N research. One implication of this argument is that methodologists must sort our the interrelationship between strategies of causal inference before arriving at conclusions about the overall strengths and limitations of small-N analysis.
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There have been widely differing claims about how environmental groups attempt to reform environmental policy—from those who see the movement as challenging the prevailing social paradigm through confrontation and violence, to those who lament the movement's reliance on conventional styles of political persuasion. This article uses data from the 1998 Global Environmental Organizations Survey (GEOS) to map the political activities used by environmental groups across the globe and to determine what best accounts for these patterns of action. The authors examine the responses of 248 environmental groups in the GEOS; these data allow the authors to compare environmental group behaviors across 59 nations and 5 continents. They find that most environmental groups engage in a mixture of political methods and activities. Although there is little evidence that institutional structures influence participation, the mix of organizational resources and ideology are potent influences on participation patterns. The results help to explain the role that environmental groups play in contemporary politics and the factors that affect this role.
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How and to what extent does regulation matter in shaping corporate behavior? How important is it compared to other incentives and mechanisms of social control, and how does it interact with those mechanisms? How might we explain variation in corporate responses to law and other external pressures? This article addresses these questions through an study of environmental performance in 14 pulp and paper manufacturing mills in Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia, and the states of Washington and Georgia in the United States. Over the last three decades, we find tightening regulatory requirements and intensifying political pressures have brought about large improvements and considerable convergence in environmental performance by pulp manufacturers, most of which have gone “beyond compliance” in several ways. But regulation does not account for remaining differences in environmental performance across facilities. Rather, “social license” pressures (particularly from local communities and environmental activists) and corporate environmental management style prod some firms toward better performance compliance than others. At the same time, economic pressures impose limits on “beyond performance” investments. In producing large gains in environmental performance, however, regulation still matters greatly, but less as a system of hierarchically imposed, uniformly enforced rules than as a coordinative mechanism, routinely interacting with market pressures, local and national environmental activists, and the culture of corporate management in generating environmental improvement while narrowing the spread between corporate leaders and laggards.
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This book addresses key issues currently shaping the future of private forestry. The main subjects covered in the 27 chapters include the emergence of a new paradigm for public involvement in private forestry, the challenges of sustainability, forest certification programmes, and country experiences from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
Article
This paper introduces the subject of private politics, presents a research agenda, and provides an example involving activists and a firm. Private politics addresses situations of conflict and their resolution without reliance on the law or government. It encompasses the political competition over entitlements in the status quo, the direct competition for support from the public, bargaining over the resolution of the conflict, and the maintenance of the agreed-to private ordering. The term private means that the parties do not rely on public order, i.e., lawmaking or the courts. The term politics refers to individual and collective action in situations in which people attempt to further their interests by imposing their will on others. Four models of private politics are discussed: (1) informational competition between an activist and a firm for support from the public, (2) decisions by citizen consumers regarding a boycott, (3) bargaining to resolve the boycott, and (4) the choice of an equilibrium private ordering to govern the ongoing conflicting interests of the activist and the firm.
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Part I: Introduction 1. Politics, Policy, and the War in the Woods / Debra J. Salazar and Donald K. Alper Part II: Institutions 2. How the Way We Make Policy Governs the Policy We Make / George Hoberg 3. International Dynamics of North American Forest Policy: From Bilateral to Global Perspectives / Thomas R. Waggener 4. Firms' Responses to External Pressures for Sustainable Forest Management in British Columbia and the US Pacific Northwest / Benjamin Cashore, Ilan Vertinsky and Rachana Raizada Part III: Voices 5. Forest People: First Nations Lead the Way toward a Sustainable Future / David R. Boyd and Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson 6. The Multi-ethnic, Nontimber Forest Workforce in the Pacific Northwest: Reconceiving the Players in Forest Management / Beverly A. Brown Part IV: Policy Innovations 7. A Crossroad in the Forest: The Path to a Sustainable Forest Sector in British Columbia / Clark S. Binkley 8. Wildlife Conservation on Private Lands: Habitat Planning and Regulatory Certainty / R. Neal Wilkins 9. Multistakeholder Processes: Activist Containment versus Grassroots Mobilization / Mae Burrows Part V: Conclusion 10. Digging Out of the Trenches / Debra J. Salazar and Donald K. Alper Contributors Index
Article
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOS) both lobby states and work within and across societies to advance their interests. These latter efforts are generally ignored by students of world politics because they do not directly involve governments. A study of transnational environmental activist groups (TEAGs) such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and World Wildlife Fund demonstrates that NGO societal efforts indeed shape widespread behavior throughout the world. TEAGs work through transnational social, economic, and cultural networks to shift standards of good conduct, change corporate practices, and empower local communities. This type of practice involves “world civic politics.” That is, TEAGs influence widespread behavior by politicizing global civil society—that slice of collective life which exists above the individual and below the state yet across national boundaries. This article examines the activity of world civic politics as practiced by environmental activists and evaluates its relevance for the study of NGOs and world politics in general.
Book
In recent years a startling policy innovation has emerged within global and domestic environmental governance: certification systems that promote socially responsible business practices by turning to the market, rather than the state, for rule-making authority. This book documents five cases in which the Forest Stewardship Council, a forest certification program backed by leading environmental groups, has competed with industry and landowner-sponsored certification systems for legitimacy. The authors compare the politics behind forest certification in five countries. They reflect on why there are differences regionally, discuss the impact the Forest Stewardship Council has had on other certification programs, and assess the ability of private forest certification to address global forest deterioration.
Article
Systems of private regulation based on certification have recently emerged to address environmental issues in the forest products industry and labor issues in the apparel industry. To explain why the same regulatory form has emerged across these fields, the author uses a historical and comparative case study approach, closely examining early moments and paying attention to “roads not taken.” Two types of factors led to the initial emergence of private certification: (1) social movement campaigns targeting companies and (2) a neo-liberal institutional context. The analysis shows specific ways in which these factors led states, nongovernmental organizations, and companies to build or support certification associations.
Article
The Civil Corporation is top draw reading for business professionals, management students and academics, activists and public servants. It goes to the heart of the issue of business in society, cutting through the rhetoric of campaigners and business-speak by framing the tough questions in balanced and yet provocative terms. Crucially, it connects an insightful vista of the broader landscape with a set of practical 'do's' that have stood the test of time. The book was awarded the prestigious Academy of Management's Social Issues in Management Book Award in 2006, confirming that Zadek has produced what every author aspires to: a classic book that is timely in its application.
Article
To what degree can Western countries “purchase” civic engagement and participation in less developed countries that do not share the Western liberal tradition? Drawing on interview data as well as internal documents, this article looks at the effects of Western and international assistance on building civil society and, hence, democracy in Russia by focusing on the Russian nongovernmental organization (NGO) community. Although Western assistance has provided tangible equipment and training for NGOs, overall funding designed to facilitate the growth of civil society has had unintended consequences. Institutions, interests, and incentive structures impede successful collective action toward building a civic community by encouraging both funders and NGO activists to pursue short-term benefits over long-term development. The result is the creation of patron-client ties between the international donor and the Russian recipient rather than horizontal networks of civic engagement among Russian NGOs and their domestic audience.
Article
Obra que reconstruye el origen y evolución de las actuales redes transnacionales que, con la utilización de las nuevas tecnologías informativas como recurso organizador y aglutinador, han logrado constituirse en movimientos más o menos presionadores en la defensa de los derechos humanos, de la protección ambiental y de una mayor equidad de género, entre otros.
Article
This article takes stock of a plethora of recent works examining the flowering of transnational civil society activism in world politics. The author argues that this work contributes to a progressive research agenda that responds to a succession of criticisms from alternative perspectives. As the research program has advanced, new areas of inquiry have been opened up, including the need for a central place for normative international theory. The author also contends that the focus of this research on the transnationalization of civil society provides a trenchant response to an important puzzle concerning the leverage of civil society vis-à-vis the contemporary state in an era of globalization. Further, the liberal variant of transnational advocacy research constitutes a powerful theoretical counter not only to other nonliberal theories that privilege other agents or structures but also to other varieties of contemporary liberal international theory, such as those privileging preexisting domestic preference formation or state centric versions of liberal constructivism.
Article
Environmental Management Systems (EMSS) represent a new generation of voluntary “beyond compliance” environmental policies that neither set substantive goals nor specify final outcomes. As a result, many stakeholder groups are lukewarm toward them. Since 1993 two major supranational EMSs—ISO 14001 and the European Union's Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)—have been introduced. Firms receive formal accreditation after their EMS has been certified by outside verifiers. This accreditation can potentially bestow monetary and nonmonetary benefits on these firms. Firm-level EMS adoption patterns in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States vary, thereby suggesting that national contexts influence firms' responses to them. In Germany and the U.K. a significant number of sites have become either ISO 14001 or EMAS certified, while the take-up of ISO 14001 in the U.S. (EMAS is available only to European sites) has been less enthusiastic. This article begins with the hypothesis that firms in countries with adversarial economies— where regulators and business are on less than friendly terms—are less likely to adopt EMS-based programs. This hypothesis explains why ISO 14001 take-up has been relatively high in the U.K. and relatively low in the U.S. However, it cannot explain (1) the high rate of take-up of both ISO 14001 and EMAS in Germany, where the stringency of environmental legislation has been a contentious issue between the government and industry and (2) why EMAS has been more popular in Germany than in the U.K. This article argues that the original hypothesis, while largely correct, is underspecified. To better explain the cross-national differences in EMS adoption, one must take into account the type of adversarial economy (adversarial legalism versus prescriptive interventionism) and the nature of the policy regime (procedural versus substantive).
Article
Recent decades have witnessed the proliferation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the emergence of activism across a wide variety of issue areas. On topics ranging from human rights to labor conditions, NGOs and activists represent an increasingly important constituency in a firm's nonmarket environment. Surprisingly, however, scholars have only recently begun to seriously consider the interaction between NGOs and firms. As an early step in an emerging research program, we explore the different ways in which firms manage NGO pressure, noting instances of preemption, capitulation and resistance. Through a consideration of three case studies, Unocal, Nike and Novartis, we evaluate a series of preliminary hypotheses about the economic and non-economic factors that drive variation in firms' responses to NGO activism. We conclude with a discussion of our findings and some implications for managers.
Article
Whose ideas matter? And how do actors make them matter? Focusing on the strategic deployment of competing normative frameworks, that is, framing issues and grafting private agendas on policy debates, we examine the contentious politics of the contemporary international intellectual property rights regime. We compare the business victory in the establishment of the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property (TRIPS) in the World Trade Organization with the subsequent NGO campaign against enforcing TRIPS to ensure access to essential HIV/AIDS medicines. Our analysis challenges constructivist scholarship that emphasizes the distinction between various types of transnational networks based on instrumental versus normative orientations. We question the portrayal of business firms as strictly instrumental actors preoccupied with material concerns, and NGOs as motivated solely by principled, or non-material beliefs. Yet we also offer a friendly amendment to constructivism by demonstrating its applicability to the analysis of business. Treating the business and NGO networks as competing interest groups driven by their normative ideals and material concerns, we demonstrate that these networks' strategies and activities are remarkably similar.
Book
Can businesses voluntarily adopt progressive environmental policies? Most environmental regulations are based on the assumption that the pursuit of profit leads firms to pollute the environment, and therefore governments must impose mandatory regulations. However, new instruments such as voluntary programs are increasingly important. Drawing on the economic theory of club goods, this book offers a theoretical account of voluntary environmental programs by identifying the institutional features that influence conditions under which programs can be effective. By linking program efficacy to club design, it focuses attention on collective action challenges faced by green clubs. Several analytic techniques are used to investigate the adoption and efficacy of ISO 14001, the most widely recognized voluntary environmental program in the world. These analyses show that, while the value of ISO 14001's brand reputation varies across policy and economic contexts, on average ISO 14001 members pollute less and comply better with governmental regulations.
Book
Over the last two decades environmental issues have become important in public and business policy. This book asks why firms sometimes voluntarily adopt environmental policies which go beyond legal requirements. It employs a new-institutionalist perspective, and argues that existing explanations, especially from neoclassical economics, concentrate on external factors at the expense of internal dynamics. Prakash argues that ‘beyond-compliance’ policies are due to two types of intra-firm processes, which he describes as power- and leadership-based. His argument is supported by analysis of ten cases within two firms - Baxter International Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company - including interviews with managers, and access to meetings and documents. This book therefore examines the internal working of firms’ environmental policy in a theoretically rigorous way, providing a significant contribution to the theory of the firm. It will be valuable for students of business and environmental studies, as well as political economy and public policy.
Article
This symposium has addressed the transformation of environmental governance under conditions of globalization from a variety of disciplinary, theoretical, and geographical perspectives. Although some contributors come from a more optimistic/salutatory perspective and others from a more pessimistic/critical viewpoint, all have in common an assessment that the contemporary period is unique in terms of the constellation of social forces on national, supra-, and subnational levels that determine environmental governance. High-speed global circulation of information, goods, and services; global and regional as well as local environmental problems; emerging transnational forms of governance paralleled by so-called subpolitical arrangements; a global civil society; and the reconfiguration of the nation-state within an increasingly complex matrix of social forces-all are important characteristics of this era contributing to reconfigurations of environmental governance. What have we learned from these contributions? What pieces still are missing in our understanding of this puzzling new world of environmental governance? In this necessarily brief epilogue, the editors suggest a few general conclusions and outline a number of promising areas for further research.
Article
The rise in the importance of nonstate actors in generating new norms in world politics has been documented by scholars, but the literature has focused predominantly on nonsecurity (“new”) issue areas. Conversely, although recent constructivist work in international relations has examined the security policies of states, typically it is the state that is doing the constructing of interests. I bridge these two literatures by examining the hard case of transnational civil society working through issue networks to teach state interests in security policy. I analyze the campaign by transnational civil society to generate an international norm prohibiting antipersonnel land mines and trace the effects of several techniques through which states can be said to be socialized. Through generating issues, networking, “grafting,” and using a transnational Socratic method to reverse burdens of proof, the campaign has stimulated systemic normative change through two processes: norm adoption through the conversion of persuaded moral entrepreneurs and emulation resulting from social pressures of identity.
Shades of Green: Business, Regulation, and the Environment Stanford: Stanford University Press About FSC.” 29Sasser et al.: Direct Targeting as NGO Political Strategy Produced by The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance
  • Gunningham
  • Robert A Neil
  • Dorothy Kagan
  • Thornton
Gunningham, Neil, Robert A. Kagan, and Dorothy Thornton. 2003. Shades of Green: Business, Regulation, and the Environment. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2003. “ About FSC.” 29Sasser et al.: Direct Targeting as NGO Political Strategy Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press, 2006 rHall, Rodney Bruce and Thomas J. Biersteker. 2002. The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance. Press
Case Studies and Theories of Organizational Decisionmaking,
  • George
George, Alexander L. and Timothy J. McKeown. 1985. "Case Studies and Theories of Organizational Decisionmaking," Advances in Information Processing in Organizations 2: 21-58.
Restructuring World Politics: The Limits and Asymmetries of Soft Power
  • Kathryn Sikkink
Sikkink, Kathryn. 2002. "Restructuring World Politics: The Limits and Asymmetries of Soft Power." In Restructuring World Politics, ed. Sanjeev Khagram, James V. Riker, and Kathryn Sikkink, 301-318. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Lobbying the Corporation
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