Buying certification: pigs in pokes, warm glows, and unexploded

Creating markets is becoming a popular way of treating forest products that were once routinely regarded as externalities. Following this philosophy, a certification premium might be regarded as a valuation of the environmental (and possibly social) benefits of growing timber sustainably and in an environmentally friendly manner. However, the free-rider problem, the multiplicity of interpretations of sustainability, and profound ignorance of the relationship between certified products bought and environmental benefits achieved, all make it unlikely that the premium (if it exists) reflects anything other than a degree of moral satisfaction achieved by purchasing certified timber. Whether even this is to be regarded as an addition to welfare is debatable. However, a certification premium might be paid as a way of “acting rightly”. This justifies a proper and direct evaluation of the externalities, and of the costs required to avoid them.

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Scandinavian Forest Economics: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Scandinavian Society of Forest Economics
2006, 41
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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