Private governance: The case of Marine Stewardship Council certification in Russia

In Paul G. Harris (ed), Routledge Handbook of Marine Governance and Global Environmental Change. Rotledge, 2022, chapter 10. 

This chapter draws on the experience of certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in Russia to illuminate ‘private’ marine environmental governance. Private governance comprises non-state actors playing roles in achieving policy outcomes. Private governance became prominent in forest stewardship over the last several decades, with nongovernmental ‘certification’ programmes used to identify the origins and environmental impact of wood products. Similar programmes have been applied to marine certification, notably in certifying the sustainability of fisheries. Doing this has not been without its difficulties, for example with respect to the location of authority and coordination among actors, and the impacts of climate change at sea are magnifying difficulties by exacerbating conflict among actors and making the past an unreliable guide to the future. Focusing especially on the MSC’s efforts to implement its certification initiatives in Russia, the chapter demonstrates that effective marine governance, including in its private forms, will require improved understanding of the local and regional context in which it is applied.

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