Unheard voices in international environmental agreements: Implications of stakeholder absence on the legitimacy and efficacy of ISO 14001
What is the impact on legitimacy and efficacy when key stakeholders are absent during the creation of international agreements? Can these international institutions adequately address the needs of all countries when crafted in the absence of developing countries? While hegemonic powers often provide the leadership necessary to get international initiatives and institutions started, they also run the risk of alienating lesser powers whose cooperation is necessary for their implementation and success. This study examines the process through which one international environmental institution (ISO 14001) was created and analyzes its perceived legitimacy and efficacy among developing country stakeholders relative to developed country stakeholders. Data for this project come from interviews with 42 delegates to the ISO 14000 standards-drafting sessions and 133 surveys from businesses in 16 developed and developing countries. It finds that perceptions of regime legitimacy and efficacy are positively correlated to the level of participation in regime formation. Secondly, while the participation of developing country negotiators may have resulted in the formation of a stronger regime, there is no evidence to suggest that ISO 14001 certified firms in developing countries are receiving fewer benefits from certification than are their peers in wealthier countries. In fact, developing countries firms that are able to join into the ISO 14001 regime may be experiencing greater benefits, in terms of regulatory relief and economic savings from reduced resource use. In sum, it appears that the absence of developing country stakeholders has resulted in perceptions of reduced legitimacy and efficacy for the excluded negotiators, but these perceptions have not trickled down to the firm level.
0616: International relations