, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 797–811 | Cite as

Governance of agro-pesticide through private environmental and social standards in the global cut flower chain from Ethiopia

  • Belay T. Mengistie
  • Arthur P. J. Mol
  • Peter Oosterveer


The international cut flower industry is strongly criticized because of its environmental impacts and unsafe working conditions. Increasing certification of cut flowers is used to improve the growers’ environmental and social performance. But what is the impact of this private governance instrument on regulating the use of pesticides? This paper assesses the potential of private certification on governing the environmental and social problems from pesticide use along the global cut flower supply chain. We use detailed farm-level data to analyse the environmental and social impacts of flower certification in Ethiopia by comparing different national and international certification schemes. Our analysis does not show significant differences between these different private standards for most environmental and health and safety variables. The Ethiopian cut flower industry remains far from improving its sustainability performance through private certification. However, certification schemes may enable farmers to have access to international markets and keep up their reputation.


Cut flower Ethiopia Pesticide Private certification 



Authors are thankful to the participants especially flower farm managers/and owners and pesticide sprayers. We would also like express our gratitude to anonymous referee(s) and editor of the journal for their valuable comments and suggestions on the earlier draft of the paper. This study was financially supported by the by the pesticide risk reduction programme (PRRP)-Ethiopia and Alterra, part of Wageningen UR. Additional support was provided by the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP).

Supplementary material

13280_2017_914_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (124 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 125 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belay T. Mengistie
    • 1
  • Arthur P. J. Mol
    • 1
  • Peter Oosterveer
    • 1
  1. 1.Hollandseweg 1WageningenThe Netherlands

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