"Constructing Private Governance" by Graeme Auld

Constructing Private Governance The Rise and Evolution of Forest, Coffee, and Fisheries Certification Graeme Auld

Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Publication date:
11 Dec 2014
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156 x 21mm
11 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

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An exploration of product certification programs and the factors that explain their varied success in becoming global governors equipped to tackle environmental and social problems effectively

Consumers now encounter organic or fair-trade labels on a variety of products, implying such desirable benefits as improved environmental conditions or more equitable market transactions. But what do we know about the origins and development of the organizations behind these labels? Why have some flourished while others faltered? And why are some sectors rich with labeling organizations while others have very few? This book compares the rise and evolution of certification programs in the coffee, fishery, and forest industries to arrive at a model that reveals how market and political conditions, as well as the characteristics of program founders, shape the early character of the governance rules and certification standards that programs adopt.

Graeme Auld is associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration and in the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.

“This is an important book on the evolution of certification systems, with unparalleled coverage of three key industries and a number of more general implications.  Auld constructs a powerful account of how market conditions and early decisions influence the maturation of certification initiatives, which helps to explain why some fields have seen such a proliferation of eco- and social-labels.”—Tim Bartley, The Ohio State University

“Simply put, this is the single best comparative project regarding different certification/private governance schemes I have seen. Easily the best.”—Stacy D. VanDeveer, University of New Hampshire

“The broad comparative perspective, achieved in few other analyses of private regulation to date, makes this book a major contribution to the literature.”—Tim Büthe, author of New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy

“Comparing the evolution of environmental and social certifications, Auld sheds light on the new institutions regulating the coffee in our cups, fish on our plates, and wood in our tables.”—Laura T. Raynolds, Center for Fair & Alternative Trade, Colorado State University

Won honorable mention for the 2016 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award given by the International Studies Association.