Environmental non-governmental certification: adoption, compliance of voluntary standards and their effects for the enterprises

Ieva Misiūnė

Abstract


Many voluntary environmental standards together with certification schemes were created in the last decades. The phenomenon is that majority of them are non-governmental standards. It means it was created by non-governmental organizations or the private sector – suppliers, manufacturers, traders, or their associations – independently from the governments. This paper presents the results of an empirical research which sought to answer the questions: what makes the enterprises to adopt and certify against non-governmental environmental standards, to comply with their rules and what effects do they have for the enterprises?
A quantitative research method was employed to answer the main research question. Empirical data was collected by the survey which was conducted during July and September 2012. Respondents (N=90) were enterprises which are certified against one of the three private environmental standards: for the forestry and logging, fishing and aquaculture, and production of textiles standards. All of them being transnational, non-governmental, very popular globally, and operating in the similar manner allows making more generalized conclusions. Additionally, they are most popular private standards for the production certification in Lithuania.
The research revealed that majority of the enterprises adopted these standards quite recently and this means that it is a new trend in Lithuania. However, the majority of them adopted the standards due to the external forces only – always being the clients. The effects of the standards are measured by comparing the adoption factors (expectations) and the satisfaction after the adoption. Although the main adoption factor was the demand from the clients (it means the enterprises expected to satisfy the client demand), after the certification procedure the enterprises were most satisfied with the fact that they gained access to certified markets or didn’t lose their current market share.

Keywords


environmental certification; standards; environmental governance; governance mechanisms

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