Making Sense of Global Standards

A key feature of globalisation is the increasing economic and political importance of global standards. They have emerged to address a wide range of issues, from quality assurance, food safety, working conditions, to various ethical, environmental and social concerns. Compliance with global standards is a key policy concern, especially in developing countries. More gener-ally, understanding the making, working and implications of these standards is important for policy makers and researchers. But the task is a difficult one. A major problem lies in the proliferation of standards. This paper seeks to reduce the complexity and confusion. It pre-sents a typology of global standards in quality assurance, food safety, environment and social concerns. In doing so, it identifies the networks of actors engaged in the stages of formulation and implementation, and shows how distinguishing between different generations of stan-dards helps to understand the bewildering array of current standards and their evolution over time.


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