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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4379;

Biodiversity Protection through Networks of Voluntary Sustainability Standard Organizations?

Department Political Science, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 15578, 1001 NB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University, 2511 DP The Hague, The Netherlands
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving), P.O. Box 30315, 2500 GH The Hague, The Netherlands
International Institute for Sustainable Development, International Environment House 29 Chemin de Balexert, 1219 Châtelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
Department of Political Science & International Relations, University of Geneva, 24 rue du Général-Dufour, 1211 Genève, Switzerland
School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel by Drive, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development)
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This paper explores the potential for voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) organizations to contribute to policy-making on biodiversity protection by examining their biodiversity policies, total standard compliant area, proximity to biodiversity hotspots, and the networks and partnerships they have in place that can support policy-making on biodiversity protection. The analysis undertaken is based on Social Network Analysis data, in combination with information from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Standards and Biodiversity Review and the International Trade Centre (ITC) Standards Map on the focus and operation of VSS organizations. The significance of agriculture-focused private governance for global biodiversity policy and their relationship towards other forms of nongovernmental, governmental, and inter-governmental biodiversity policy are examined and described. We argue that, at present, a number of key agriculture-focused VSS organizations are important policy actors to address biodiversity because of their elaborate biodiversity policies, total compliant areas, and proximity to biodiversity hotspots. However, at present, most of these VSS organizations have relatively few ties with relevant governmental and inter-governmental biodiversity policymakers. The actor composition of their inter-organizational networks currently reflects a focus on nongovernmental rather than governmental organizations while substantively they focus more on development than on environmental protection issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; standards; sustainability; networks; hotspots; agriculture biodiversity; standards; sustainability; networks; hotspots; agriculture

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Fransen, L.; Schalk, J.; Kok, M.; Voora, V.; Potts, J.; Joosten, M.; Schleifer, P.; Auld, G. Biodiversity Protection through Networks of Voluntary Sustainability Standard Organizations? Sustainability 2018, 10, 4379.

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