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The legitimacy of biofuel certification

[journal article]

Partzsch, Lena

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Abstract The biofuel boom is placing enormous demands on existing cropping systems, with the most crucial consequences in the agri-food sector. The biofuel industry is responding by initiating private governance and certification. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Cramer Commission, among others, have formulated criteria on “sustainable” biofuel production and processing. This article explores the legitimacy of private governance and certification by the biofuel industry, highlighting opportunities and challenges. It argues that the concept of output based legitimacy is problematic in the case of biofuel as long as no consensus or commonly agreed “best” solution has been established on what sustainable biofuel production is. Furthermore, it shows that the private governance initiatives analyzed fail to adequately include actors from developing countries. Finally, the article argues that we need mechanisms for control and accountability in order to guarantee that the political output of biofuel certification serves the common welfare.
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Economic Sectors
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 413-425
Journal Agriculture and Human Values, 28 (2009) 3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)