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Is environmental justice necessary for human well-being? Comparative analysis of certification schemes, inclusive business, and solidarity economy strategies

Objective

Unprecedented concentration in agri-food value chains is reinforcing global inequality. Waves of land grabbing threaten the livelihoods of millions. Reshaping the effects of agricultural investment, land use, and trade on human well-being is thus an urgent challenge. Certification schemes (CS) such as “Fairtrade” have become a common strategy to meet this challenge. However, accumulating evidence shows that many CS have limited effects on well-being. Inclusive business (IB) and solidarity economy (SE) strategies are emerging alternatives. Inclusiveness and solidarity are widely believed to enhance well-being, but evidence and theories disprove this common belief. Environmental justice may be a necessary condition to understand and reshape the effects of CS, IB, and SE on well-being. However, lack of reliable data and comparative analyses limits understanding of these links. COMPASS will tackle these challenges. This project aims to demonstrate how environmental justice influences the effects of CS, IB, and SE strategies on human well-being. COMPASS is organized in four work packages (WPs) and focuses on the cocoa and coffee sectors of Peru and Switzerland. WP1 surveys organizations (n=120) to compare their instruments used in CS, IB, and SE strategies. WP2 surveys households (n=840) and uses set-theoretic and process-tracing methodology to explain the effects of CS, IB, and SE on well-being. WP3 identifies the rules that organizations (n=18) create to regulate land use, investment and trade, assesses their environmental justice, and explains how they influence well-being. WP4 generates context-sensitive generalizations of these effects, and it tests and advances pertinent theories. COMPASS breaks new ground by systematically comparing CS, IB, and SE strategies and their effects on human well-being. It develops a new strand of environmental justice research on private-sector strategies and it tests the transformative potential of environmental justice.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/soil science/land-based treatment

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITAET BERN
Address
Hochschulstrasse 6
3012 Bern
Switzerland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 499 250

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITAET BERN
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 1 499 250
Address
Hochschulstrasse 6
3012 Bern
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments