Voluntary private standards flourish as a governance tool for sustainable trade, but do they really work? There are serious limitations to these standards, which limit their effectiveness and impact.


A joint effort by Utrecht University, CBI and ProFound is re-evaluating the performance of private standards as a governance tool and looking into a new governance model. Last week, Bram van Helvoirt of the Utrecht University presented this joint paper at the International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference, in Lisbon.

Bram presented several governance mechanisms that can be used as alternatives: Action, Collaboration, Transformation; the Participatory Guarantee System; and Access and Benefit Sharing. He talked about the challenges to implement these systems in sustainable trade governance. The conference participants were interested in the alternatives and how governance agreements can be made between consumers and producers.

The final article on the new governance model will be published soon.