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Evaluation of the Impact of Forest Certification on Environmental Outcomes in Sweden

Anna Nordén, Jessica Coria and Laura Villalobos ()
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Laura Villalobos: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: P.O. Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

No 657, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: Voluntary forest certification is an increasingly popular tool allowing producers who meet stringent environmental standards to label their products in the marketplace and potentially achieve greater market access and receive higher prices for their products. The voluntary nature of certification programs implies, however, that it is difficult to determine the effects of forest certification due to selection bias. This paper contributes to the impact evaluation of forest certification by estimating the effects of certification of non-industrial private forest owners in Sweden – one of the countries with the largest total area of certified forests. We rely on official forest inventory data at the plot level, information on certification status, and standard impact evaluation methods to identify the causal effect of certification on three environmental outcomes: environmentally important areas preserved during the felling, number of trees and high stumps left after the felling, and area set aside for conservation purposes. Moreover, we analyze the effect of the two most important certification schemes: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Our results indicate that certification has not improved any of these outcomes. Furthermore, we find no differences between the FSC and PEFC schemes. Our findings suggest that for forest certification to have an effect, the standards should be tightened and the monitoring and enforcement of forest certification schemes strengthened.

Keywords: certification; impact evaluation; sustainable forest management; treatment effects; Sweden; FSC; PEFC (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L15 Q12 Q23 Q28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-env
Date: 2016-06-07
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