Graeme Auld

Associate Professor of Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Policy in Other Countries
  • Climate Change
  • Energy
  • Environment

About Graeme

Auld’s research focuses on environmental and natural resources policies, climate change policies, and private governance, particularly certification programs that set voluntary standards against which businesses can certify and potentially benefit from price premiums or market access. He has studied the development of private governance in various sectors, including forestry and fisheries, and different countries, including the United States and Canada, to understand why these programs have come to exist, how they operate, evolve, and differ across sectors, and why companies decide to adhere to their rules. His work on climate change examines policy approaches that may start small, but build momentum and deepen support to lead to larger impacts in the future. From 2009 to 2013, Auld worked for the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin Reporting Service, an initiative that provides real-time coverage of inter-governmental processes and agreements focused on the environment.



Governing through Markets: Forest Certification and the Emergence of Non-State Authority (with Benjamin Cashore and Deanna Newsom) (Yale University Press, 2004).
Examines the competition for legitimacy between two conceptions of forest certification, one backed by producers of forest products and another backed by environmental groups. Argues how the public policy approaches to forest management, the structure of the forest sector, and the extent of trade reliance of different jurisdictions affected which of the two programs gained support in the United States, Sweden, British Columbia (Canada), the United Kingdom, and Germany.
"Certification Schemes and the Impact on Forests and Forestry" (with Lars H. Gulbrandsen and Constance L. McDermott). Annual Review of Environment and Resources 33 (2008): 187-211.
Reviews the forces at play in the development of forest certification programs and details what we know about their direct effects on forest management practices and the forest landscape, and the indirect effects on government policy processes and norm formation over longer periods of time.
"Overcoming the Tragedy of Super Wicked Problems: Constraining our Future Selves to Ameliorate Global Climate Change" (with Kelly Levin, Benjamin Cashore, and Steven Bernstein). Policy Sciences 45, no. 2 (2012): 123-152.
Examines how characteristics of climate change as a problem – we are running out of time, we lack a central authority to deal with the problem, we are all causing the problem, and individually and institutionally we irrationally discount the future – can be addressed by developing policy designs that start small but that then create support that deepens and expands over time.
"Confronting Trade-offs and Interactive Effects in the Choice of Policy Focus: Specialized versus Comprehensive Private Governance" Regulation & Governance 8, no. 1 (2014): 126-148.
Examines how private certification programs in the coffee, forest, and fisheries sectors are coordinating their activities to address problems that are broader than their individual standards can address alone.
"Evaluating the Effects of Policy Innovations: Lessons From a Systematic Review of Policies Promoting Low-Carbon Technology" (with Alexandra Mallett, Bozica Burlica, Francis Nolan-Poupart, and Robert Slater). Global Environmental Change 29 (2014): 444-458.
Assesses the effects of diverse policies for the promotion, development, and adoption of low-carbon technologies, an essential facet of societal efforts to address the problem of climate change.
Constructing Private Governance: The Rise and Evolution of Forest, Coffee, and Fisheries Certification (Yale University Press, 2014).
Presents evidence that the development of individual private certification programs and the patterns of programs that develop in different sectors of the economy are shaped by the early design choices programs make, when these choices interact with market demand for certified products.

In the News

Graeme Auld quoted on inaction in implementing climate change policy in Andrew C. Revkin, "The Climate Path Ahead" New York Times, December 12, 2015.