Efforts to increase sustainability are increasingly being promulgated using non-state forms of governance. Currently, there are multiple multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) working to develop sustainability standards and metrics for US agriculture. These include: LEO-4000, Field to Market, and the Sustainability Consortium. Using Paul Thompson’s (2010) tripartite sustainability framework, the proposed sustainability standards and metrics of the three MSIs are assessed. Our findings indicate that the current political economic stakeholder nexus is producing incremental adjustments to the status quo of industrial agriculture. Put differently, the standards and metrics being produced by these initiatives are largely advancing programs of sustainable intensification in which sustainability is equated with increasing resource efficiencies. Hence, our research problematizes the efficacy of non-state governance approaches for transformative change in food and agriculture. The findings in this chapter are based on fieldwork conducted between 2011 and 2013.
Konefal, J., Hatanaka, M. and Constance, D.H. (2014), "Patchworks of Sustainable Agriculture Standards and Metrics in the United States", Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 257-280. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1057-192220140000021011
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