Is Forest Certification a Hegemonic Force? The FSC and its Challengers

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Certification initiatives are an innovative response to both a perceived governance gap in industry regulation and the demands made on industry by civil society groups. They develop criteria for sustainable practices along supply chains, monitor compliance, and reward acquiescent firms by mitigating reputational risks and differentiating products for environmentally conscious consumers. They seek to accomplish this with minimal cost to taxpayers, nominal disruption to trade, and trivial cost to the private sector in terms of fees or inefficiencies. This article examines the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme as an example of the move toward nonstate, market-driven environmentalism. By utilizing a critical, Gramscian approach, it finds that while the FSC can be seen as embedded in, and furthering the agenda of, the neoliberal political economy, a close comparison to rival, producer-backed schemes exposes its antihegemonic underpinnings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-413
JournalThe Journal of Environment & Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Certification
  • Critical Environmentalism
  • forestry
  • FSC
  • Gramsci
  • hegemony
  • market-driven
  • nonstate
  • PEFC


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