The Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management provides a new framework to assess the ecological effectiveness of sustainability standards: Based on the MARISCO methodology ECOSEFFECT was developed: ECOsystem-based assessment of Sustainability standards and their EFFECTiveness.
The method is currently applied in two projects:
Assessing the ecological effectiveness of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Archangelsk, Northwest Russia
Assessing the ecological effectiveness of the two sustainability standards ISCC and RSPO for palm oil production in Sabah, Malaysia
Voluntary sustainability standard systems present a substantial instrument to foster sustainable development when postulating to safeguard biodiversity and protect the environment while at the same time not compromising the utilisation of natural resources. Stakeholder-driven development of sustainability standards are often a conglomerate of environmental, social and economic concerns and are supported by various NGOs such as WWF.
With sustainability standards being a market-driven mechanism, the driving force behind their recent trend of increasing evolution and implementation can be referred to the raising environmental awareness of consumers and subsequent increase in demand for sustainably produced commodities, but also to international regulations such as the European Directive on Renewable Energies (EU-RED).
However, a profound methodological concept to evaluate the effectiveness of such sustainability standard systems in terms of positive outcomes for ecosystems and biodiversity was not available.
ECOSEFFECT is a comprehensive, holistic approach that makes best use of available information and local expertise in a transparent and continuous process of knowledge management. The adaptive approach copes with the complexity of standards and ecosystems.