Voluntary sustainability certification and state regulations: Paths to promote the conservation of ecosystem services? Experiences in Indonesia
The Forest Stewardship Council initiated a Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services (ForCES) project from 2011 to 2017 to improve and promote sustainable forest management addressing a range of ecosystem services. Three sites in Indonesia were included in the pilot. Whilst the development of the certification standard was largely the result of a partnership between the certification standard organization, civil society and research organizations, implementation and monitoring of the impact of this sustainability standard will entail interactions with state regulations. This study examined how voluntary certification, other market-based approaches and state regulations concerning ecosystem services in Indonesia interplay, particularly in the agenda setting and negotiation stage. Using the conceptual lenses of transition theory and state and non-state market-based governance, interrelationships between ecosystem services certification and regulations were found to be complementary and antagonistic. The majority of interrelations were complementary and supporting. However, antagonism exists where regulations do not address multiple land uses and when there are contradictions in how state regulations define ecosystem services. There was limited state involvement in developing the ecosystem services certification standard, with no substitution between the voluntary standard and regulations occurring. To scale and transition this innovatory standard from a niche to a sociotechnical regime level, it is recommended that market-driven governance arrangements at farm, forest concession and landscape level are developed in collaboration with national and local governments. Collaboration can create synergies to incentivize the acceptance, adoption and effectiveness of non-state market driven instruments to positively enhance the conservation of ecosystem services.