The current issue of Foreign Policy magazine examines third-party certification, the latest in a series of cudgels used by nonprofit organizations to enforce their worldview on the global corporate culture. “Under increasing pressure from environmental and labor activists… multinational firms are implementing ‘certification’ arrangements-codes of conduct, production guidelines, and monitoring standards that govern and attest to not only the corporations’ behavior but also to that of their suppliers around the world… Certification has appeared in almost every major industry targeted by environmentalists.”
Last year activists strong-armed Starbucks into buying coffee from importers who pay above-market prices to sellers of “shade-grown” beans. More recently, McDonald’s gave in to PETA’s demands and ordered its egg suppliers to adhere to activist-designed standards of humane treatment. But the nannies aren’t happy unless someone of their choosing is left behind to “police” the fallout from these agreements (lest a corporation come to its senses and thumb its nose at the Nanny Culture).
This model is now being applied to poultry, organic foods, coffee, and even fish. Of course, the “certified” products may cost more, but that doesn’t seem to bother the nannies. After all, they claim to know what’s best for all of us.