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date: 06 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A number of factors have made private and quasi-private standards increasingly important in international environmental law. However, dissatisfaction with the limits of private standard setting has also led to increasing calls for public oversight and participation in standards-setting processes and for their transformation into mandatory, public standards. This article examines who creates private and quasi-private standards and why. It then tackles the types of private and quasi-private standards, the implications of these for public policy, and the ways in which compliance with such standards is enforced. Finally, the article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of private standard setting as compared to public; the links between public, quasi-private, and private standards; the International Organisation for Standardisation and its sister organisations; non-state environmental and social certification and labelling programmes; cooperation between the international public sector and the private sector; technical specifications and performance standards; process and management system standards; measurement and reporting standards; proliferation of standards initiatives; superior performance and public sector use of private standards as incentives; and use of private standards in enforcement and securing compliance with regulatory measures.

Keywords: standardisation, private standards, quasi-private standards, international environmental law, public standards, public policy, social certification, performance standards, incentives, compliance

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