The forestry industry provides a good illustration of the active roles that industry associations, environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), national governments, and international organizations can play in developing and promoting codes of conduct that are formally sanctioned and certified. It also reflects some of the challenges of disseminating codes of conduct in developing countries and ensuring market benefits from certification. We describe the emergence of forest certification standards, outline current certification schemes, and discuss the role of major corporations in creating demand for certified products. We also discuss the limited success of certification and some of the obstacles to its adoption in developing countries. The current diversity of forest certification programs and ecolabeling schemes has created a costly, less-than-transparent system that has been largely ineffective in terms of the initial goals of reducing tropical deforestation and illegal logging. Some steps have been taken toward harmonization of different certification criteria as well as endorsement and mutual recognition among existing forest certification programs. However, it is unlikely that standardization alone can overcome other, more serious barriers to certification in developing countries.


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