The Interaction of Private and Public Governance: The Case of Sustainability Standards for Palm Oil

Clara Brandi
DOI number
#Agriculture and food

By providing insights into the interaction between private-driven and public-driven governance initiatives in the context of the “Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil” (RSPO) and the “Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil” (ISPO), this article sheds new light the interaction between private and public governance. It investigates how the relationship between the RSPO and the ISPO evolves over time and who and what drives this evolution. While the interaction between these standard schemes has initially largely been characterized by competition, it has become more collaborative and also coordinated in nature. This article argues that the experimentalist architecture of palm oil governance has fostered mechanisms for coordination across public and private certification schemes and has helped to join up the separate components of the regime complex through productive interactions. At the same time, several gaps and challenges remain, especially in light of the different interests of the multiple public and private actors involved in palm oil.

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