Transnational private governance initiatives that address problems of social and environmental concern now pervade many sectors. In tackling distinct substantive problems, these programs have, however, prioritized different problem-oriented logics in their institutionalized rules and procedures. One is a "logic of control" that focuses on ameliorating environmental and social externalities by establishing strict and enforceable rules; another is a "logic of empowerment" that concentrates on remedying the exclusion of marginalized actors in the global economy. Examining certification programs in the areas of fair trade, organic agriculture, fisheries, and forest management, we assess the evolutionary effects of programs prioritizing one logic and then having to accommodate the other. The challenges programs face when balancing between the two logics, we argue, elucidate specific distributional consequences for wealth, power, and regulatory capabilities that private governance programs seek to overcome.

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Keywords Certification, Distributional impacts, Environmental governance, Private governance, Social governance
Persistent URL
Journal Regulation and Governance
Auld, G, Renckens, S. (Stefan), & Cashore, B. (Benjamin). (2015). Transnational private governance between the logics of empowerment and control. Regulation and Governance, 9(2), 108–124. doi:10.1111/rego.12075