Forestry Certifications – Legitimacy, sustainability, or both?

At the economics faculty of the University of Jena, a master’s thesis has been written that sees the forest certificates as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) from a completely new angle.

Institutions such as the FSC or PEFC claim to certify the sustainable management of the forest and the chain of custody from forest to finished furniture. These certificates are analyzed using the neoinstitutional theory. It states that companies just adopt institutions in their structures in order to obtain legitimacy and credibility. To test this hypothesis on the basis of forest certificates, the institutionalization process of the forestry certificates is first presented. Based on this, is examined by expert interviews, why organizations do deal with the forest certification and to what extent the actual activities of the organizations are decoupled from the guidelines of the certificates.

Based on the forest certificates can be confirmed that organizations deal with certificates such as FSC or PEFC to obtain legitimacy and credibility. The decoupling could not be detected in the area of the German Forest, since the local legislation imposes virtually all the policies that the certificates require. In the furniture industry, the decoupling is possible, however, because the certificates require that only one product line is certified, even though the entire company may advertise the certificate.

I received from the author the right that this master thesis can be downloaded here.

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