THE MARINE STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL: Exploring The Potential of a Private Environmental Governance

Fabian Busch & Jamie Benton

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This thesis is concerned with private environmental governance at a global level. It tries to grasp and analyse the phenomenon of the ‘Marine Stewardship Council’ (MSC) from an International Relations perspective. In this understanding, the MSC provides an innovative private environmental governance mechanism whose role and functions need to be scrutinised. The underlying global governance debate suggests that new forms of problem- solving structures and processes are currently emerging, with a growth in regulatory initiative and control by private actors. However, there is rather little evidence to which degree the engagement of these actors in rule making and implementation on a global level challenges and complements established governance systems that have become ineffective. Accordingly, this thesis aims to generate a deeper understanding for the problems and opportunities of the Marine Stewardship Council in this context. For clarification it poses the question ‘what is the potential of the MSC to exert environmental governance in the issue area of fishing?’ Four criteria for governance potential are developed: (1) appropriateness of rules, (2) legitimacy of the governance mechanism, (3) behavioural changes of stakeholders triggered through the governance mechanism, and (4) the ability of raising concern. The analysis reveals that while the MSC’s potential to exert environmental governance in the issue area of fishing remains limited at present, it is likely that it increases in the near future. With regards to the global governance debate, however, this thesis generates evidence that private governance initiatives will only be able to complement public governance systems in a restricted manner.

UddannelserTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2004