From certification outcomes to certification processes: Demand, supply and adoption of eco‑certification along the natural rubber supply chain

From certification outcomes to certification processes: Demand, supply and adoption of eco‑certification along the natural rubber supply chain

Sean Francis Kennedy, Master of Urban and Regional Planning, University of California, Los Angeles, 2014

In recent years, issues associated with rubber production have gained visibility and a number of industry stakeholders across a range of rubber submarkets have started to adopt forms of eco-certification and labeling in response to a growing market for certified rubber products. While encouraging, the disparate nature of rubber certification efforts across an already highly fragmented industry makes it difficult to determine the alignment between claims to address environmental and social concerns and actual performance. This thesis contrasts the environmental and social impacts of natural rubber production with the range of emerging natural rubber certification efforts to assess the alignment between certification needs and certification outcomes. In addition, this thesis seeks to understand the processes that give rise to particular forms of eco-certification that may or may not serve to address actual issues associated with current production practices. By examining the nature and contexts of the relationships between certification stakeholders along the rubber commodity chain, this paper illuminates the ecological and social processes that have given rise to the demand, supply and adoption of natural rubber eco-certification as a particular form of private environmental regulation.