Certifying Forests and Factories: States, Social Movements, and the Rise of Private Regulation in the Apparel and Forest Products Fields

Tim Bartley
Publication Date: 
Systems of private regulation based on certification have recently emerged to address environmental issues in the forest products industry and labor issues in the apparel industry. To explain why the same regulatory form has emerged across these fields, the author uses a historical and comparative case study approach, closely examining early moments and paying attention to “roads not taken.”
Two types of factors led to the initial emergence of private certification: (1) social movement campaigns targeting companies and (2) a neo-liberal institutional context. The analysis shows specific ways in which these factors led states, nongovernmental organizations, and companies to build or support certification associations.