New article on limitations of certification to reduce agricultural pollution

Limitations of certification to reduce agricultural pollution

Doctoral student Kurt Waldman and his advisor John Kerr co-authored an article in the 2014 volume of the Annual Review of Resource Economics called “Limitations of Certification and Supply Chain Standards for Environmental Protection in Commodity Crop Production.”  Motivated by recent increases in water pollution in major US agricultural watersheds and by the shortcomings of government programs to control non–point source pollution, the paper examines the prospects for using product certification (ecolabeling) and business-to-business supply chain standards for environmental protection in commodity crop production. The paper explores how various agrifood certification and supply chain standards have been used to achieve changes in production methods and/or product attributes to meet social goals, and it discusses the prospects for applying these models to commodity crops. 
The authors conclude that the nature of corn and soybean production, distribution, and consumption—with numerous sales outlets and invisible consumption as part of processed foods and other products—makes certification schemes to limit agricultural pollution unrealistic and supply chain standards extremely challenging.

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