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Certification and Sustainability

The certification of products is not new. However, the past few years have seen an upsurge in consumer demand for much more information about the provenance, authenticity, and performance of products and services, going well beyond authenticity, safety and reliability. Alongside this rise there has been a proliferation of voluntary certification schemes instituted by various combinations of industry associations, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and government or quasi-governmental agencies.

The seminar series is designed as the first step of a project to compare newly emerging third party certification programmes. Drawing together scholarly and practitioner expertise on a variety of third party certification programmes, presentations will address issues such as the origins or inspiration for the certification programme, identification of participants, its structure, effectiveness and impacts (anticipated and unanticipated), and principal challenges of the certification scheme.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Creative Commons Fair Trade Certification Dr Alex Nicholls (Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship) examines how over the past ten years the market for Fair Trade products has grown at double digit rates across many countries in the North. Alex Nicholls 08 Dec 2010
2 Creative Commons Problems With Credit Rating Agencies Professor Timothy Sinclair (University of Warwick) looks at why getting credit ratings 'right' seems vitally important to many professional observers and politicians. Timothy Sinclair 01 Dec 2010
3 Creative Commons Standards for sweatshops: voluntary labour standards programs in global supply chains Increased attention to sweatshops, child labour, and the suppression of labour rights has led to a range of voluntary initiatives that set, monitor, and certify labour standards in global supply chains. Tim Bartley 19 Nov 2010
4 Conflict diamonds and the governance of resources Professor Ian Taylor (University of St. Andrews) discusses conflict diamonds and the governance of resources. Part of the Michaelmas Term Seminar series 2010. Ian Taylor 10 Nov 2010
5 Creative Commons Driven to Drive Markets: The contradictions of forest certification in the promotion of sustainability Professor Dan Klooster (University of Redlands) summarizes the formation and growth of forest certification and illustrates how it qualifies sustainability and leverages meaningful changes in forest management. Dan Klooster 04 Nov 2010
6 Creative Commons Enacting the Ethical Consumer Dr Clive Barnett (Open University) asks how do consumers know when they are acting responsibly? Are they making a difference when they buy "Fairtrade" or "certified organic"? Can consumers trust these kinds of accreditations? Clive Barnett 22 Oct 2010
7 Creative Commons Introduction to and Overview of Third Party Certification Michaelmas Term Seminar Series 2010 - Dr Lars Gulbrandsen, 'Introduction to and Overview of Third Party Certification'. Lars Gulbrandsen 20 Oct 2010