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Reviewing the impacts of eco-labelling of forest products on different dimensions of sustainability in Europe

Hau Wing So and Raffaele Lafortezza

Forest Policy and Economics, 2022, vol. 145, issue C

Abstract: Europe has been implementing eco-labelling on forest products for the last two decades as a market-oriented tool to combat forest degradation and manage forest resources sustainably. Numerous studies have investigated the impacts of eco-labelling from different perspectives and geographic locations. Nevertheless, holistic reviews to disentangle the impacts of eco-labelling on forest sustainability are lacking. This study proposes a conceptual framework to collate and qualitatively analyse the existing literature regarding forest eco-labels for disclosing its effects on social, ecological, and economic sustainability. With regard to social sustainability, forest eco-labelling has established itself as a credibility icon that enhanced end-consumption patterns and successfully institutionalised the discourse over customary rights, despite insufficient procedural justice for indigenous communities and workers. In the economic dimension, forest eco-labelling enhanced market competitiveness; however, increasing costs continue to be a huge setback for producers. The ecological dimension demonstrated restored landscapes as a result of disturbance reductions. Nonetheless, the insufficient preservation of trees and areas with high conservation values during felling have undermined forest integrity and biodiversity protection. More rigorous marketing strategies and campaigns might be needed to address the profitability issue. Also, quantitative measures for on-the-ground performance should be enacted to leverage the unique strengths of forest eco-labelling in institutionalising cross-sector cooperation and normalising environmental discourses in forestry.

Keywords: Forest certification; Eco-labelling; Sustainable forest management; Europe; Forest Stewardship Council; Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102851

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