Policy matters: certification and biodiversity: how voluntary certification standards impact biodiversity and human livelihoods
This issue of Policy Matters provides insights for policy makers, NGOs, certification organizations, the private sector, and the general public about the impacts of voluntary certification standards (VCS) on biodiversity and human livelihoods. In line with IUCN's vision of "a just world that values and conserves nature" contributions specifically address the role of voluntary certification in conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity as it is defined in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity1 . The overall aim of this issue is to describe and evaluate key elements of VCS that protect and enhance biodiversity and human livelihoods. The term "Voluntary Certification Standards" includes their principles, criteria, and indicators as well as implementation mechanisms such as assurance systems and chain of custody. Adoption of the VCS principles and criteria can include incorporation into a company's own standards or integration with national regulatory systems, particularly where third-party certification is difficult.