Study in partnership with IDB reveals impact of certifications on gender equity in Brazil

This project has received a Green Turnaround Award from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will monitor the implementation of the research findings and publish a final report on the subject.
International Relations
15 May 2023
Study in partnership with IDB reveals impact of certifications on gender equity in Brazil

Voluntary certifications are increasingly important for international trade, but their impacts still require further research. In this context, Rodrigo Fagundes Cezar, a professor at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ School of International Relations (FGV RI), is leading a research project on the impact of export-oriented certifications on gender equity in Brazil. The team also includes professors Yixian Sun (University of Bath, United Kingdom) and Juliana Camargo (FGV RI).

This project has received a Green Turnaround Award from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will monitor the implementation of the research findings and publish a final report on the subject. The project, carried out by FGV’s International Trade and Sustainable Development Research Group, will analyze the impact of certifications on the ownership composition of rural properties in Brazil. Is there a relationship between export-oriented certifications and changes in the number of women owning rural properties in Brazil?

Project’s goals and distinctive features

The project is focused on Brazilian municipalities where producers hold the Bonsucro certification. This certification aims to guarantee the sustainability of the sugar value chain and it is accredited by the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Farms certified with Bonsucro, based on RED criteria, comply with European environmental regulations, which are now required to export to the bloc.

According to official statements by the European Union, these certifications can help reduce deforestation in Brazil. However, it is not known what effects (positive and negative) they may have in other socioeconomic spheres, including gender issues. To address this gap in knowledge, the research project is using econometric methods to analyze an original database related to sugar and ethanol production at municipal level, as well as gender indicators and other relevant research variables.

This is one of only a handful of projects to examine the relationship between certifications and gender, and the only one, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, that is specifically analyzing the relationship between export-oriented certifications endorsed by public authorities (in this case, the European Union) and their effects on gender equality.

Details of award received

The IDB’s Green Turnaround Contest gave awards to original research projects designed to improve our understanding of practical challenges related to trade and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The contest attracted 235 entries and six projects were selected, including only one from Brazil. The Brazilian project is made up of young researchers, attesting to FGV’s ability to attract talented professionals with the potential to generate excellent applied research.

For more information about the award winners, click here.

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