Who Governs Socially-Oriented Voluntary Sustainability Standards? Not the Producers of Certified Products
By Elizabeth Bennett
Voluntary Sustainability Standards-Setting Organizations (VSSSOs) create standards to improve the social and/or envi- ronmental impacts of globalized production networks. VSSSOs are often assumed to have multi-stakeholder governance structures that include the producers of certified products (e.g., farmers, artisans, and workers). This article argues that including producers in governance is desirable. However, analysis of 33 VSSSOs’ constitutions shows two-thirds do not even imply intention to include producers. At most, 25% ensure producers have votes/seats and 18% give producers veto power. The discussion examines what is lost when VSSSOs do not bring traditionally marginalized voices to global economic governance.