Journal of Environment & Development, 2016
Abstract: This article discusses a new development in the relationships between private sustainability standards and governments, one in which Southern governments reclaim the authority from mainly Northern-based businesses and nongovernmental organizations. It examines how the Indonesian government, a forerunner in this field, responds to the private certification of palm oil. The results of this in-depth study are compared with similar trends in the coffee and cocoa sectors in Indonesia. The article observes that a change takes place from a nonresponsive stance, a modest involvement in terms of sustaining the implementation of private certifications, to an active development of alternative public national standards and certifications. The article defines some factors that facilitate the development of Southern public standards as an addition or alternative to private regulations and reviews the implications for the future of private standards and certification.