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Certifiably Sustainable?: The Role of Third-Party Certification Systems - Report of a Workshop
paigns. Moreover, certification programs typically do not have exit strategies. As Chapter 7 explores further, this has serious ramifications because most programs are heavily dependent on subsidies, and are expected to eventually be able to scale up to cover global markets.
One additional consequence of certification programs is that they tend to, unwittingly, favor developed countries. From a consumer’s perspective, this might not be surprising, since certification seems to be favored by societies with a high degree of consumer awareness and ecological sensitivity. However, from a production standpoint, new standards have also been perceived in the developing world as yet another barrier to international markets. In the developing world, many livelihoods are dependent upon some degree of exploitation of a local resource. This complicates efforts to reduce exploitation, because it is perceived as being in direct conflict with sustaining livelihoods. Certification programs then face a conundrum—requirements cannot be so high as to put potential supporters at a disadvantage, but so low as to allow everyone to easily achieve and thus diminish the authority of the standard.