Elsevier, International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, Volume 106, 15 March 2020
Voluntary sustainability standards have expanded dramatically over the last decade. In the agricultural sector, such standards aim to ensure environmentally and socially sustainable production of a variety of commodity crops. However, little is known about where agricultural certification operates and whether certified lands are best located for conserving the world's most important biodiversity and benefiting the most vulnerable producers.
Voluntary standards are gaining in importance in global markets for high-value foods. We analyze and compare impacts of three sustainability-oriented standards - Fairtrade, Organic, and UTZ - on the livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers in Uganda. Using survey data and propensity score matching with multiple treatments, we find that Fairtrade certification increases household living standards by 30% and reduces the prevalence and depth of poverty. For the other two certification schemes, no significant impacts are found. Several factors that can explain differential impacts are discussed.