Organizational Assessment of Sustainable Agriculture Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in the United States

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Jason KONEFAL, Sam Houston State University, USA
Maki HATANAKA, Sam Houston State University, USA
Leland GLENNA, Penn State University, USA
Johann STRUBE, Penn State University, USA
Metrics and standards are leading tools for fostering transitions to more sustainable technologies and practices in food and agriculture. Private governance organizations, particularly multi-stakeholder initiatives, have become the lead actors in developing and diffusing sustainability metrics and standards. However, despite their position at the forefront of sustainability transitions, there is a dearth of knowledge regarding the competency of such organizations to effectively develop and implement metrics and standards. Building on Wolf and Primmer’s (2006) organizational competency assessment approach, this paper presents assessments of the three multi-stakeholder initiatives that have developed sustainability metrics and a standard for US agriculture: Field to Market, the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Standard. The assessments include analyses of (1) the human capital, (2) organizational routines, (3) resources, and (4) networks of each of the initiatives. We find that the three MSIs have different levels of organizational competency, as well as strengths and weaknesses in different areas. Building on these findings we theorize the ways that the differential attributes of private governance organizations affect the development, adoption, and diffusion of sustainability metrics and standards generally.