Beneath Compliance: The Limits of Transnational Private Regulation
Keywords:Transnational Private Regulation
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies
Series/Report no.:Mershon Center for International Security Studies. Globalization Speaker Series
Global industries are increasingly littered with standards — claiming to promote fair labor conditions, sustainability, community development, and environmental justice around the world. In the past two decades, many NGOs and companies have sought to "push" such standards through global supply chains and use third-party certification to verify compliance. Many scholars have argued that these activities amount to a new way of regulating globalization — one that does not rely on the mobilization or coordination of unwilling or incapacitated states and which, if appropriately structured, can impose meaningful discipline in otherwise unruly industries. But how are these systems of "transnational private regulation" actually put into practice in particular places? To what extent can they actually bypass the state and provide meaningful, alternative sets of rules and enforcement practices? To address these questions, this project compares two fields of transnational private regulation—standards for fair labor and sustainable forestry — and their implementation in two countries — Indonesia and China. In this presentation, I will use the case of sustainable forestry certification in Indonesia to consider why, although a program like the Forest Stewardship Council has far more integrity than initiatives focused on fair labor standards, its influence in the crucial Indonesian setting has been quite circumscribed.
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