The Impacts of Private Standards on Producers in Developing Countries

  • 27th October 2016
  • by secretary

The Impacts of Private Standards on Global Value Chains: Literature review series on the impacts of private standards – Part I

While standards play an increasingly important role in international trade and global value chains, little is known about their actual impacts in these chains. By applying a systematic literature approach, The Impacts of Private Standards on Global Value Chains aims to apply the key research findings to this question. Generally, the research in this area was found to focus on few standards, products and countries. In most cases the case studies do not allow for the identification of correlations between variables. 
A systematic analysis of value chain impacts across standards and products providing quantitative, statistically valid data is lacking. Data is not comprehensive enough to make standard or product specific conclusions. Finally, there is a focus on the production side of the value chain, despite claims made about examining the entire value chain

The Impacts of Private Standards on Producers in Developing Countries – Part II
The question of how standards impact trade is more relevant than ever. Against the background of a world economy that is global in scope and organization with economic activities being spread across national boundaries, the liberalization of trade has been one factor contributing to a policy shift from import substitution to export-led growth strategies. This has resulted in the involvement of a large number of producers in export activities and in global or regional value chains. 

This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review of 47 research papers that assess the evidence regarding socioeconomic and environmental impact at the producer level in developing countries. It provides an overview of the methods used to collect and screen the literature, presents a descriptive analysis of the research, and reviews the findings of selected papers.

The Impacts of Private Standards on Producers in Developing Countries – Part III
The question on how public and private standards interact constitutes relatively new research terrain and has received limited attention. This particularly applies to social and environmental standards where the majority of research focuses on the interplay of private and public forestry standards. Interdependencies between public and private food safety and quality standards have been more closely analyzed, though only in the past decade or so. Overall, there is a multitude of competing public and private standards that are rarely harmonized, and sometimes complement, but often duplicate each other. 

Many regulatory functions are performed by public and private actors creating a situation that is inefficient when it comes to achieving policy goals. Yet again, it is small producers that are hit most by the current situation of a ‘dysfunctional interplay’ of public and private standards. Urgent measures need to be taken to create more complementarities and harmonization among private standards and between private and public standards. This approach would address the root of the problem (multitude of standards) instead of trying to treat the symptoms (exporters’ exclusion from international trade).

The Impacts of Private Standards on Producers in Developing Countries – Part IV

This paper concludes a series of systematic literature reviews on the impacts of private standards. This paper encompasses aspects such as the contextual environment under which the standard was implemented, the standard as an instrument, and the mechanisms that occurred as a result of implementing the standard.  Adoption of private standards tends to be favoured in contexts where (i) the type of product has high requirements regarding traceability, (ii) in extractive businesses, (iii) where commodities are identifiable in end products, or (iv) where there are shorter supply chains with fewer actors
This study discusses the effects of private voluntary standards on market access for selected developing countries. It is based on case studies of selected fruit and vegetables for four countries, Chile, Ghana, Peru and South Africa. (food waste as a consequence of standards is not discussed)