This paper applies theories of equity and transnational “governance generating networks” to assess how forest certification is enacted in Russia. Drawing on eight years of field research, we compare the engagement of shifting networks of Russian private sector, NGO, governmental and local community actors in implementing select social and environmental standards and how this impacts the effectiveness of the FSC in tackling local community and environmental concerns. Our case study suggests that much of the parameter-setting for what is addressed in certification's “sites of implementation” happens outside of formal standards-setting processes. In regard to environmental standards, strong and stable transnational environmental networks have been relatively successful in protecting “high conservation value forests”. However equivalent multi-level networks are lacking for key social standards. While a national social NGO has had some success in promoting procedural equity through community participation, we find no evidence that certification was addressing local community concerns for distributive equity. In particular, certification had failed to address the loss of small and medium forest enterprises, loss of local access to sawnwood and rising costs of fuelwood. This highlights the power dynamics of global standards implementation and the need for multi-scale advocacy coalitions to ensure their effective implementation.
- Forest certification
- High conservation value forest