This paper aims to explore how existing collaborative governance arrangements in the context of corporate responsibility (e.g. the Global Reporting Initiative and Social Accountability 8000) need to collaborate more directly in order to enhance their impact. The objective of this paper is twofold: primarily, to explore existing and potential linkages between multi‐stakeholder standards; but, at the same time, to explore the potential for standard convergence.
The paper follows a conceptual approach that is supported by a variety of case examples. First, the nature and benefits as well as shortcomings of multi‐stakeholder standards are explored. Second, a categorization scheme for the availability of such standards is developed. Third, linkages between the different standard categories are explored and discussed. Last but not least, the paper outlines practical implications.
A variety of linkages between existing multi‐stakeholder standards exist. These linkages need to be strengthened, as the market for corporate responsibility is unlikely to support a great variety of partly competing and overlapping initiatives.
The paper offers a structured discussion of potential linkages between multi‐stakeholder standards and thus complements the literature where such initiatives are discussed (usually without much mention of linkages). Practitioners will find the discussion useful to explore how their participation in a variety of initiatives can be better coordinated.
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