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Evaluation of the Impact of Forest Certification on Environmental Outcomes in Sweden

Authors Anna Nordén
Jessica Coria
Laura Villalobos
ISSN 1403-2465
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Göteborg
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Economics, Environmental Economics Unit
Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords certification, impact evaluation, sustainable forest management, treatment effects, Sweden, FSC, PEFC
Subject categories Economics


Voluntary forest certification is an increasingly popular tool allowing producers who meet stringent environmental standards to label their products in the marketplace and potentially achieve greater market access and receive higher prices for their products. The voluntary nature of certification programs implies, however, that it is difficult to determine the effects of forest certification due to selection bias. This paper contributes to the impact evaluation of forest certification by estimating the effects of certification of non-industrial private forest owners in Sweden – one of the countries with the largest total area of certified forests. We rely on official forest inventory data at the plot level, information on certification status, and standard impact evaluation methods to identify the causal effect of certification on three environmental outcomes: environmentally important areas preserved during the felling, number of trees and high stumps left after the felling, and area set aside for conservation purposes. Moreover, we analyze the effect of the two most important certification schemes: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Our results indicate that certification has not improved any of these outcomes. Furthermore, we find no differences between the FSC and PEFC schemes. Our findings suggest that for forest certification to have an effect, the standards should be tightened and the monitoring and enforcement of forest certification schemes strengthened.

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