Suppliers’ access to voluntary sustainability standards

Matteo Fiorini, Bernard Hoekman, Marion Jansen Philip Schleifer, Olga Solleder, Regina Taimasova and Joseph Wozniak
2017
#Sustainability standards

Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) have long become a usual attribute of international production and trade. Despite the fact that VSS are not legally binding, in order to be a part of global value chains, they have become de facto mandatory, and non-compliance may lead to exclusion of producers from the value chains. The relevance of VSS is reflected by a growing literature across social sciences, in particular economics and political science. This paper describes a new database that collects comparable information on 180 standards and their governance structure, across a wide range of products and countries. We conduct a first empirical analysis of this data with a primary focus on two aspects of standards and their governance: their practices and features in support of producers, and their geographic availability. We find high variability of support and availability across standards systems and countries respectively. Finally, we identify standards- and country-specific features associated with higher support to producers and higher geographic availability.

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