Additionality and Implementation Gaps in Voluntary Sustainability Standards

Thomas Dietz, Janina Grabs

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticleAvaluat per experts

23 Cites (Scopus)


Voluntary Sustainability Standards have become a popular private governance framework for more sustainable agri-food value chains. However, recent mainstreaming efforts have increased competition between standards and driven down price premiums. This study employs a dataset of 659 Honduran coffee producers to examine whether the most widely used standards in the coffee sector (4C, Fairtrade, Fairtrade/organic, UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance) represent effective solutions for improving the social, environmental and economic sustainability practices of smallholder farmers under such conditions. It presents 54 farm-level indicators, compared across five standard systems, and links field results to a discussion of the strategies and governance prospects of voluntary standards. We find that no scheme has managed to grow substantially while maintaining strong additionality: commercially successful standards show little impact, while stricter schemes create high entry barriers and unresolved opportunity costs. Successful mainstreaming would require better cost coverage of sustainability improvements by value chain actors.

Idioma originalAnglès
Pàgines (de-a)203-224
Nombre de pàgines22
RevistaNew Political Economy
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 2022
Publicat externament


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