Center for Fair & Alternative Trade

Colorado State University

Ecological & Social Certification Systems

Over recent years we have seen the rise of a growing number of certification and labeling initiatives that seek to enhance environmental and social sustainability. This project analyzes the expansion of these private regulatory efforts in key commodity areas like coffee, bananas, and flowers as well as emerging arenas like tourism and carbon markets.

Our research analyzes the governance structures, environmental and social standards, and market positions of competing certification initiatives.  We argue that certifications that seek to raise ecological and social expectations are likely to be increasingly challenged by those that seek to simply uphold current standards. The vulnerability of these initiatives to market pressures highlights the need for private regulation to work in tandem with public regulation in enhancing social and environmental sustainability.

CFAT Personnel: Laura Raynolds, Douglas Murray, & Michael Long

Funding: Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority (DDA)


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