The global regulatory governance of goods has become increasingly complex and “polycentric.” This article explores how standard setting bodies have ensured their continued rulemaking roles both despite and because of their evolving and dynamic environment. This study focuses on two areas of goods in particular, namely forestry and food safety, and two standard setting bodies that have assumed a prominent regulatory role within these domains, GlobalG.A.P. and the Forest Stewardship Council (“FSC”). These standard setting bodies have demonstrated an adaptive capacity to dynamically respond to challenges and threats to their legitimacy from within and outside their organization. Alongside innate features of standard setting bodies that can explain this adaptive capacity, it is important to consider how much of an organization’s evolution is attributable to contextual elements. This article proposes a taxonomy of four contextual elements and corresponding factors that drive change within standard setting bodies and contribute to their success and survival over time, as found in the existing literature through an examination of theoretical perspectives and empirical case studies by experts in the field. These contextual elements and dynamics are unique for each organization and should thus be examined empirically and on a case-by-case basis. This article provides hypotheses for future research related to the interaction between these elements at critical moments when a standard setting body experiences a legitimacy crisis. These hypotheses focus on how conditions prevalent during exogenous shocks and regulatory disasters affect a standard setting body’s margin of autonomy to make decisions to legitimate its activities, possibly alleviating constraints and opening up opportunities for these bodies to assert their right to rule.
|Journal||Environs, Environmental Law and Policy Journal|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2021|