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Сертификацията – инструмент за „зелени“ комуникации в глобалната търговия

Ivanova, Daniela (2018): Сертификацията – инструмент за „зелени“ комуникации в глобалната търговия. Published in: (2018)

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Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed a huge leap in the development of industrialization and increased consumption. This, of course, makes economic activities related to the use of more resources and the generation of growing quantities of waste, responsible to a great extent for environmental degradation. In order to reduce the negative impact, a change is needed which requires the involvement of all stakeholders - consumers, businesses and government institutions. This can be achieved when each participant in the chain assumes their responsibility for their actions. Producers - by reducing consumption of resources and by producing in an environmentally friendly manner. Consumers – by consuming responsibly, taking into account the impact of the products and services used on nature. The state - by creating conditions and stimulating the implementation of sustainable production and consumption patterns. An important point in this change is the communication between the different stakeholders. Certification systems can successfully fulfil the role of a tool giving information about the implementation of appropriate sustainable practices and thus suppress information asymmetry in the market. The said so far also defines the main aim of the monograph, namely to present the possibilities of certification schemes as a tool for providing information to stakeholders about the implementation of sustainable practices in Bulgaria. In order to identify the opportunities of certification to provide specific information, the business motivation for applying sustainable practices and consumer perceptions and attitudes towards such practices were analysed in the monograph. The evaluation in the course of the study will prove the hypothesis that certification schemes are an appropriate information tool for “green” communication with stakeholders in global trade. In the first chapter of the monograph, the theoretical foundations of certification, the chronology of development and its role in suppressing information asymmetry are clarified. The different types of certification schemes are classified and the parties interested in certification activities are identified. The second chapter, dedicated to business-to-consumer certification schemes, analyses product certification. The “green” certification schemes are summarized, with particular attention to quality labelling, the environmental and social/ethical labelling. A comparative analysis of European and Bulgarian practices for recognising "green" certification schemes of the type "business-to-consumer" is made. The results of a conducted empirical study of the awareness and attitudes of Bulgarian users towards “green” independent third-party certification schemes show that a very limited number of such schemes are recognisable. Consumers need more information about labelling, production and processing methods, standards, certification schemes and controls. The existence of information asymmetry, in turn, impedes the development of market for products with ecological and ethical characteristics in the country. The limited market penetration of organic products, combined with the low awareness of Bulgarian consumers, opens the door to the emergence of unregulated eco-labels and creates the potential for further confusion and lack of trust among consumers. Chapter three discusses business-to-business certification schemes. The certification of management systems related to quality, safety, etc. is analysed. The motives and benefits of implementing similar certification schemes related to environmental protection in the world are explored. The results of a conducted empirical study of companies in Bulgaria with an implemented and certified environmental impact management system show that the implementation of “green” certification schemes brings tangible and real benefits to businesses - both in terms of environmental protection and improvement of the social and economic performance of the company and better compliance with the existing legislation in the field. The comparison of the motives and the results of the implementation of the Environmental Impact Management Systems revealed that the expectations and benefits coincide to a large extent, which also implies a high degree of satisfaction with the implementation of these schemes. The last fourth chapter analyses the weaknesses and shortcomings of “green” certification schemes. It summarizes their benefits and advantages as a tool for communication among stakeholders. In the course of the study, it was demonstrated that the additional signals from certification schemes for implementation of sustainable practices facilitate transactions between actors in the supply chain and are a reliable source of consumer information. Certification, in order to fulfil its role as an information tool for the implementation of sustainable “green” practices, must be independent and objective. Adherence to these principles requires continuous analysis of the impact of the market structure on ensuring the reliability of certification services. The monograph is focused on “green” certification, whose impact on stakeholders has not yet been sufficiently studied in our country. The published research represents the first of its kind analyses in this field and offers an answer to the questions whether Bulgarian consumers and businesses are aware of “green” certification schemes, whether they look for them on the market and how they are affected.

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