Original Paper

European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 130, Issue 3, pp 407-419

First online:

Forest certification and democracy

  • Errol MeidingerAffiliated withSchool of Law, The State University of New YorkFaculty of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Freiburg Email author 

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This paper explores the possibility that forest certification represents an important emerging form of transnational democracy. Because it is largely driven and administered by nonstate actors, forest certification can be seen as suffering a democracy deficit. However, because it stresses broad participation, intensive deliberative procedures, responsiveness to state law and widely accepted norms, and competition among regulatory programs to achieve effective implementation and widespread public acceptance, forest certification appears to stand up relatively well under generally understood criteria for democratic governance. Nonetheless, a more satisfactory evaluation will require a better understanding of how responsive certification programs are to diverse, emergent constituencies as well as which certification programs win regulatory competitions, and why.


Certification Corporate social responsibility Deliberative democracy Democratic experimentalism Democracy Forest certification Governance International trade New governance Participation Regulation Regulatory competition Sustainable forestry Transnational governance