Transnational multi-stakeholder sustainability standards and biofuels: understanding standards processes

Elizabeth R M Fortin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, dramatic growth in the global production of biofuels has in turn fuelled immense criticism. This has been directed towards the form of that growth, which has in many ways been the culmination of a broader transformation of global agricultural production processes. Criticism has focused on the dominance of agri-business multi-nationals in production processes, large-scale land alienation in developing countries, adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts and greater food insecurity. In responding to such concerns, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) is a high profile transnational multi-stakeholder initiative to ensure the ‘sustainability’ of the production of biofuels. Sustainability standards such as these have become a widespread form of global governance over agricultural production. This paper considers the RSB as a vehicle for considering how such interventions might be better understood in their contribution to wider change. It suggests an approach that focuses on broader standard processes so as to interrogate how such change is actually unfolding in the way it is and how political struggles in their production may be masked by a narrower interpretation of the standards themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-587
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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