chapter  8
16 Pages

The politics of certification: consumer knowledge, power, and global governance in ecolabeling


Political ecology originated in studies of developing countries and that continues to be its main focus today. However, to be truly global, political ecology needs to consider the connections between developing and developed countries and particularly between producers and consumers in the North and South. This chapter is about those connections and about the politics of traceability that surround attempts to make consumers in rich countries care about and support issues like environmental protection and the health and quality of life of people in other countries, especially agricultural producers and industrial workers. It is specifically about “ecolabels” that stamp products with guarantees of sustainability, of fair trade and of worker welfare, stamps that carry not only political, but also ecological and economic complexities.