Accepted Paper:

Organising sustainability by global standards: certifications and the production of nature-cultures for sustainable coffee in Colombia  


Derly Sanchez Vargas (Lancaster University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the enactments of sustainability in certification schemes for the production of sustainable coffee in Colombia.

Paper long abstract:

This paper offers an empirical analysis of the production and implementation of Sustainability Standards in the production of coffee in Colombia by following the enactment of these standards in auditing and standard setting processes. Based on a set of diverse sources, technical documents, policies, codes, norms, interviews and participant observation I show the ways in which these standards operate in practice and their connection with global infrastructures. Drawing on science and technology studies, organisation studies and anthropology I approach ethnography the global connection between standards international governance, auditing practices and the local experience of farmers in relation to certification in Colombia. I am particularly interested in understanding the practices by means sustainable standards produce segmentation between the nature (the environment) and the social (work) in order to be reintegrated in function of the economic (the market). The motto of sustainable standards has been to promote the 3P (people, planet and profit). This paper discusses the role of standards in the materialisation of these values in the material context of coffee production. I explore the following questions: Do standards codify universals under specific framings and ontologies; for example evaluation and compliance practices? How do sustainability standards produce the objects that standardise? Particularly, how are produced the nature, the social and the economic as separate and integrated realms?

Panel T092
Transition to Sustainable Food Systems: Integrative Perspectives on Production and Consumption