Assessing the potential additionality of certification by the Round table on Responsible Soybeans and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Carlson, Kimberly M.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Multi-stakeholder roundtables offering certification programs are promising voluntary governance mechanisms to address sustainability issues associated with international agricultural supply chains. Yet, little is known about whether roundtable certifications confer additionality, the benefits of certification beyond what would be expected from policies and practices currently in place. Here, we examine the potential additionality of the Round table on Responsible Soybeans (RTRS) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in mitigating conversion of native vegetation to cropland. We develop a metric of additionality based on business as usual land cover change dynamics and roundtable standard stringency relative to existing policies. We apply this metric to all countries with RTRS (n = 8) and RSPO (n = 12) certified production in 2013–2014, as well as countries that have no certified production but are among the top ten global producers in terms of soy (n = 2) and oil palm (n = 2). We find RSPO and RTRS both have substantially higher levels of stringency than existing national policies except in Brazil and Uruguay. In regions where these certification standards are adopted, the mean estimated rate of tree cover conversion to the target crop is similar for both standards. RTRS has higher mean relative stringency than the RSPO, yet RSPO countries have slightly higher enforcement levels. Therefore, mean potential additionality of RTRS and RSPO is similar across regions. Notably, countries with the highest levels of additionality have some adoption. However, with extremely low adoption rates (0.41% of 2014 global harvested area), RTRS likely has lower impact than RSPO (14%). Like most certification programs, neither roundtable is effectively targeting smallholder producers. To improve natural ecosystem protection, roundtables could target adoption to regions with low levels of environmental governance and high rates of forest-to-cropland conversion. Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Research Letters
Pages / Article No.
PublisherInstitute of Physics
Subjectagricultural expansion; environmental governance; tropical deforestation; South America; Southeast Asia; oilseeds
Organisational unit09659 - Garrett, Rachael / Garrett, Rachael
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Is referenced by: https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000359722
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