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Sustainability Labels and conservation issue: insights from Costa Rican and Malagasy experiences

Le Coq J.F., Serpantié G., Saenz-Segura F., Mora-Vega R., Andriamahefazafy F., Romain P.. 2013. In : EAAE. 134th EAAE Seminar : Labels on sustainability: an issue for consumers, producers, policy markets, and NGOs, March 21-22, 2013, Paris, France. s.l. : s.n., p. 1-16. EAAE Seminar : Labels on Sustainability. 134, 2013-03-21/2013-03-22, Paris (France).

During the last decade, labels have been gaining importance with the development of consumers' concern about social and environmental issues. Created to better inform consumers on the intrinsic characteristics of the products, the labels are also considered as market based instruments for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and local development. However, the dynamic of implementation of label in producers' countries, as well as the contextual factors that may affect the local effects of label implementation on conservation issues, have been poorly analyzed. This communication aims at analyzing the effects of label implementation on conservation and local development, with an emphasis on the role of intermediary actors and strategy of the promotion of local actors. Based on the analysis of the four cases studies of labels implementation in two tropical countries, Costa Rica and Madagascar, we argued that the effects of the label depend on the strategy of the local promoting actors as well as socio-economical and political context of implementation. We also argue that environmental and social effects depend on the agricultural and socio-economical reference situation. We identify limits of label approach to foster economic development, such as its incapacity to address problems of price volatility or asymmetries between producers and downstream actors, and to deal effectively with conservation issues, such as the lack of appropriate spatial and actor' targeting. We conclude with some considerations to take better take advantage of label to foster conservation and development in local conditions.

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