Ratcheting up private standards by exploiting coopetition: The curious case of RSPO's adoption of zero-deforestation criteria

Kristjan Jespersen, Janina Grabs, Caleb Gallemore

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticleAvaluat per experts

Resum

At its November 2018 annual meeting, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) approved a new version of its foundational rules that advocates argued made it a zero-deforestation standard. Using a combination of over 160 key informant interviews and archival analysis, we argue that actors in the RSPO orbit made the High Carbon Stock Approach - a new method for defining forest boundaries that features heavy use of satellite data - attractive by blending cooperative and competitive strategies in a pattern known as coopetition. Critical stakeholders pushed leading companies into a competition for legitimacy that spurred innovations outside of the Roundtable setting. In turn, however, these firms also used relationships established through the RSPO Roundtable - cooperating - to elaborate guidelines and tools for defining forest areas, pursuing supply chain traceability and engaging in supplier transformation. This cooperation helped zero-deforestation strategies to emerge outside the organization. In response, stakeholders with sunk investments in RSPO membership reincorporated those external tools into the standard by framing them as consistent with the institution's fundamental logics. This case provides a compelling example of how coopetition can lead to norm emergence in a contentious governance arena, allowing a combination of internal and external actors to steer institutional development. We argue that this strategy could be employed to stimulate increased rigor in environmental standards.

Idioma originalAnglès
Número d’article108229
RevistaEcological Economics
Volum223
DOIs
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - de set. 2024
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