Local Management of a Global Commons? The Case of Climate Standard Development in the Swedish Food Sector

  •  Karl Bonnedahl    


Focusing on climate change, this article discusses possibilities of a local approach to complex globalenvironmental problems. Due to failures of markets and international politics as strategies to govern theatmosphere, an alternative approach could be voluntary initiatives in which the complexity of the globalcommon-pool resource (CPR) is reduced. Assessing such an approach through a case study of food standarddevelopment in Sweden, the outcome is two-sided. By means of scientific explanations and stakeholder dialogue,standards were produced, but attentiveness to CPR management diminished as focus turned towards producerinterests and efficiency increasing measures. Although the climate issue was promoted, the outcome was farfrom the needed change and illustrates difficulties to deviate from prevailing priorities. In order to balance localinterests and power with global and intertemporal values, and reach absolute emission cuts, change in norms andgovernance on every level would be needed.

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