Clarity in Diversity: How the Sustainability Standards Comparison Tool and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative Provide Orientation

  • Friederike Sorg
  • Jens Kahle
  • Niklas Wehner
  • Max Mangold
  • Silke PetersEmail author
Part of the Natural Resource Management in Transition book series (NRMT, volume 2)


For many years, concern about the environmental and social consequences of global production and trade was not very high on the public agenda. The collapse of once abundant natural resources, such as the Grand Bank cod fishery in 1992, the disaster at Rhana Plaza in April 2013 that led to the deaths of more than one thousand workers in the garment industry, and many other examples have increased awareness among consumers and industry. They have realised that global production and trade have unintended environmental and social effects that need to be controlled. Sustainability standards are broadly accepted as an instrument to mitigate or avoid these effects. The compliance with certain standards has become, in many sectors, a de facto ‘licence to operate’. Thus, it is not a surprise that environmental and social standards ‘pop up’ all over the world and in nearly every sector: as of October 2019, the Ecolabel Index lists 463 ecolabels in 25 industry sectors, around two thirds of which emerged in the last decade (Poynton 2015). They are set by different organisations, build on different system architectures, and often reflect individual histories. On the demand side, the need for transparent and secure value chains has become so high that a completely new business segment has developed: the offer for certification, auditing, and consultancy services around standard implementation has developed into a highly competitive and steadily growing market.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Friederike Sorg
    • 1
  • Jens Kahle
    • 1
  • Niklas Wehner
    • 1
  • Max Mangold
    • 1
  • Silke Peters
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Programme of Sustainable Value Chains and Standards, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbHEschbornGermany

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