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Supermarkets and Private Standards of Sustainability: The Responsibility to Protect Without Protectionism

  • Tiago Matsuoka Megale
Chapter

Abstract

The current international economic scenario is characterised by the presence of an increasing number of multinational enterprises, the spread of global value chains and the creation of transnational regulatory networks. These phenomena contribute to the erosion of the regulatory capacity of the State and generate questions about how to regulate the structures created by private actors. This chapter aims to analyse the extent to which private standards of sustainability imposed by supermarkets protect common values, such as human life or health rather than constituting disguised restrictions to trade. Sustainability standards are initiatives that could be welcome on corporate social responsibility (CSR) grounds, but can be protectionist from a trade regulation perspective. These standards exist in a legal vacuum, given the multilateral World Trade Organization (WTO)-centred trade system does regulate global trade, but with rules that are binding only on Member States. This regulatory gap is generally filled by private standards of sustainability that regulate the production framework and the quality of goods sold in supermarket chains. These must be coherent with international standards on CSR. This chapter calls for the deepening of the international sustainability agenda to go beyond the classical economic, environmental and social pillars to encompass principles of good governance.

Keywords

Private standards Sustainability Supermarkets Protectionism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiago Matsuoka Megale
    • 1
  1. 1.Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo of Fundação Getúlio VargasSão PauloBrazil

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