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Transnational environmental standards in Eastern Europe: an assessment of companies in Lithuania and their adoption motives

Misiune, Ieva
Theinternational journal of sustainable development and world ecology 2018 v.25 no.6 pp. 500-508
aquaculture, certification, empirical research, fabrics, forestry, forests, logging, market share, nongovernmental organizations, private sector, surveys, traceability, Eastern European region, Lithuania
During the last few decades, many environmental certification schemes were developed to enhance transparency and traceability within commodity chains. Most of them are transnational schemes, which means that they were created by non-governmental organizations and/or the private sector, independently from governments. This article aims to examine how local certified companies assess the functioning of such private environmental certification. It presents the results of an empirical research about the expectations and satisfaction of certified companies in Lithuania. Empirical data were collected through a survey with 90 companies certified by one of the three major transnational environmental standards: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for the forestry and logging, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for fishing and aquaculture, and Oeko-Tex for the production of textiles. The results revealed that most companies have adopted these standards quite recently, indicating that it is generally a new trend in Lithuania. The findings suggest that the overall expectations with the standards’ functions, such as sending signals to clients or getting more market share, were higher than the satisfaction in all cases. The main transnational environmental standard adoption motive was the client demand. It turned out, however, that later after the certification procedure the majority of the companies were most satisfied with the market opportunities that opened up. Furthermore, the companies expected certification to operate best as a market-based mechanism; but most satisfactory performance was accredited to the signalling mechanism. Research suggests that certification provides various benefits for the companies, but the expectations might be rather exaggerated.