TGI Forum » TBGI Working Paper 16

TBGI Working Paper 16

Public Procurement and Private Certification: The Case of the UK TPP

TBGI Working Paper 16 cover image


SSRN logo Digital Commons logo

Alex Latu



Forestry certification schemes have been considered the paradigmatic instance of a new form of private governance that may challenge state-centered authority and public policy-making. Although governments and intergovernmental organizations are certainly not the schemes’ “main architects”, they are more involved in the overall effects of forestry certification than is often emphasized, notably through procurement policies. This paper examines a particular interaction of private and public governance organizations, in the realm of forestry certification, among the UK government’s Timber Procurement Policy (TPP), a governmental demand-side policy tool, and two major certification schemes – the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The analysis applies a broadly conceived framework of supply and demand to consider how the TPP interacts with these private schemes to impact both markets for certified timber and the private schemes’ substantive and procedural content. This framework illustrates how the UK government relies on predominantly private regulation – for expertise, convenience and advantages in terms of international trade law – as well as influencing it through both the TPP and more traditional regulation. It is shown that a restricted approach to public procurement can enhance the overall quality of this inter-institutional regulatory framework.


Forestry Certification; Public Procurement; International Governance; Regulatory Frameworks