Sustainability standards and sustainable development: synergies and trade offs of transnational governance

Brandi, Clara
External Publications (2016)

in: Sustainable Development 25 (1), 25-34

Information

This article investigates potential trade-offs between the socioeconomic and environmental dimensions of development within the context of transnational business governance and sustainability standards, exemplified by smallholder certification in the palm oil sector as a means to improve both sustainability and the inclusion of small farmers in global value chains. This article finds that there are important trade-offs between environmental sustainability and inclusive development: Firstly, there is a worry that the diffusion of standards that aim at enhancing environmental sustainability may undermine the socioeconomic situation of smallholders by excluding them from global value chains and from international markets that demand certified commodities. Secondly, while smallholder certification can generate socioeconomic benefits for farmers included in certification schemes, these benefits may have contradictory and undesired implications for environmental sustainability. The article analyses these trade-offs and discusses implications with a view to fostering the synergies between economic, environmental and social sustainability.

About the author

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science

Brandi

Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Chan, Sander

Enviroment Policy 

Dippel, Beatrice

Comparatist 

Fuhrmann, Hanna

Economy 

Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Environmental Researcher 

Kuhn, Sascha

Social Psychology 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Scientist 

Malerba, Daniele

Economy 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Mehl, Regine

Political Science 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Nowack, Daniel

Political Scientist 

Olekseyuk, Zoryana

Economist 

Pegels, Anna

Economist 

Rodríguez de Francisco, Jean Carlo

Ecological Economist 

Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Stewart, Benjamin

Social Science 

Volz, Ulrich

Economist 

Wehrmann, Dorothea

Sociology