The effectiveness of standards in driving adoption of sustainability practices: A State of Knowledge Review

Synthesis paper
Research report

Published March 2018 by ISEAL Alliance. Authored by Petrokofsky, G. and Jennings, S.

Summary

This ISEAL commissioned report aims to understand the effectiveness of sustainability standards and certification tools in driving the adoption of more sustainable practices in certified entities, thereby contributing to the achievement of key sustainability outcomes. The report focuses on the changes of practices by organisations or individuals - such as the use of agricultural inputs, retention of wildlife habitat, and providing better conditions for hired workers - as a necessary step towards the final impacts of standards systems. One hundred and sixteen studies which reported relevant outcomes from entities certified with a sustainability standard, and which included a counterfactual, were filtered from an original body of over thirteen thousand studies from the peer-reviewed and 'grey' literature. The report uses four types of evidence: Information from the systematic mapping on the papers that reported outcomes in each thematic area, a literature review of the papers identified by the systematic map, an analysis of standards' monitoring and compliance data of six ISEAL Alliance members and semi-structured interviews conducted with eight informants in areas and topics not well covered by the literature.

Research detail

The effectiveness of standards in driving adoption of sustainability practices: A State of Knowledge Review

Synthesis paper
Research report

Published March 2018 by ISEAL Alliance. Authored by Petrokofsky, G. and Jennings, S.

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