Title: Impacts of private sustainability certification on practices of tea production in Tamilnadu, India

Authors: Walter J.V. Vermeulen; Just D. Dengerink

Addresses: Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, Netherlands ' Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, Netherlands

Abstract: Private standards increasingly play a major role in creating sustainable practices in international trade relations. This paper presents the results of an impact study in tea produced for export in India and it compares a group of certified tea estates with non-certified farms. It aims to determine changes in time and differences between the two groups. The study reveals differences between certified and non-certified tea suppliers. These are partly rooted in a longer history of the certified farmers. The study shows that certified farms have a better economic performance and produce ecological and social benefits. Still their practices face some major challenges for the near future. The study also reveals that a part of the control group farms may be receptive for a move towards complying with standards set in the international market. It also discusses limitations of what private standards can achieve, especially in the area of socio-economic impact and living wages.

Keywords: private sustainability certification; tea production; India; value chain; sustainable production; private standards; voluntary sustainability standards; tea exporting; sustainable development; certified tea estates; non-certified farms; socio-economic impact; living wage.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2016.077567

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2016 Vol.17 No.1, pp.45 - 82

Received: 05 Feb 2015
Accepted: 29 May 2015

Published online: 06 Jul 2016 *

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