“DOES ECO-CERTIFICATION STEM TROPICAL DEFORESTATION? FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL CERTIFICATION IN MEXICO”

May 25, 2017

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Published in 2017

In the last event of the “Corona Chair Program”, Allen Blackman (Climate Change expert from the Inter-American Development Bank) shared the results of one of his most recent studies with members of the Universidad de los Andes School of Management.

Professor Blackman studied the effect of Eco-certifications on reducing deforestation, in particular the effect of Forest Stepwardship Council Certification in Mexican forests. The objective is to test “if there is an additional decrease in deforestation on farms that have eco-certifications than there would have been otherwise".

To Forest Stewardship Council principles and criteria for Eco-certifications pursue a range of issues, including workers’ rights, economic returns to logging, community relations and forest ecological conditions.

According to Blackman, Eco-certifications are sustainable certifications used by Governments and NGO's to set standards for production of commodities in environmentally or social welfare friendly areas.

These certifications also gave the producers an entry to some markets and gave them a plus value against their competition.

Blackman argues that his research “is contributing to policymaking processes by giving policymakers the information they need to design environmental and natural resources policies that are more effective and more efficient."

Worldwide, there are more than 425 Eco certification initiatives, mostly used for cultivating bananas (15%), wild fisheries (12%), forest products (10%) and coffee (7%).

The study "Does Eco-Certification Steam Tropical Deforestation? Forest Stewardship Council Certification in Mexico" presented in Corona Chair, took 58 Eco-certified zones in Mexico and compared them with 801 zones noncertified: "The link between the certification and the decrease in the deforestation, also shows an improvement in the forest ecological conditions."

However, the results confirm that there is no relevant relation between these two variables. This is why the Principal Economic Advisor in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sector of the Inter-American Development Bank assured that "our study showed that, at least for Mexico, (the Eco-certification) doesn't seem to be a good policy" to decrease deforestation.

Nevertheless, professor Blackman warns that the Eco-certifications can be useful for other policies, like improving the social welfare of the workers or indigenous people's rights or community relations.

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