Corporate governance through certification schemes and eco-labeling: the value of silence

Tomaso Ferrando

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This chapter claims that certifications and ecolabels are based on an inherent contradiction that leads to often unnoticed consequences. Despite the underlying assumption that these mechanisms of corporate governance lead to more transparency in the market, it is a matter of fact that sustainability statements appear only on some products. As a consequence, labelled goods are transformed into the exceptional and unique. On the other hand, images and statements that highlight the exploitative or unhealthy nature of products ? what could be called ?non-ecolabels? ? are almost non-existent in the market and have been strongly opposed by multinational corporations operating in different sectors (from cocoa to computers). In the absence of mandatory requirements of negative disclosure, violations and exploitations that occur outside of the ?sustainability sphere? are invisible and normalized by the multiplicity and complexity of transnational production. Therefore, logos and no-logos must be understood as the two sides of the same exploitative system: two mutually supportive sources of value that depend on each other and foster the reproduction of transnational corporate capitalism.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationThe Corporation
Subtitle of host publicationa critical, interdisciplinary handbook
EditorsGrietje Baars, Andre Spicer
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-1107073111
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2017


  • ecolabel
  • certification
  • corporate social responsibility
  • corporate accountability

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