Abstract for: Certifier’s revision dilemma and strategic realignment blind spot in standard revision: The case of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel

This study analyzes the impacts of a standard revision on the number of adopters. The concept of the certifier’s revision dilemma is introduced to describe the strategic decision situation where the certifying body has to balance the complexity of the standard and the time given to the adopters to strategically realign with the revised standard. Complexity-time ambiguities and feedback delays result in a strategic realignment blind spot. A systems model is developed to simulate standard adoption and strategic realignment dynamics using the case of the standard revision of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel cosmetic product group within the Danish market in 2018. The model estimates that there will be almost 9,000 adopters by the year 2032 under the status quo scenario. The gap between the status quo and baseline scenarios will be largest in two years after revision, when adopters will be around 22 percent less than they would have been without revision. A counterintuitive finding is that although many adopters are suspended after revision, most are reinstated sooner than expected. The results are used to inform policy options to achieve long-term adoption objectives.