Intermediaries and the governance of choice: the case of green electricity labelling
This paper is about the reframing of electricity markets as a strategically oriented nonstate governance activity of intermediary organisations. In particular, it is centred on the establishment of ‘green’ electricity labels by environmental and other nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) as an attempt to establish and shape a market for green electricity. Such labels serve as a ‘boundary object’ between electricity generators, suppliers, consumers, and regulators, and are analysed as the creation of new sociotechnical arrangements around green electricity generation and use. The analysis also shows that private governance initiatives of this kind are highly interdependent with state regulatory systems. NGOs have played a vital role in defining and negotiating such standards, enrolling and aligning supply-side and demand-side actors, communicating with a wider public and building trust for the respective products, establishing links with regulators, and shaping policies for renewable electricity at national and European levels. The cases of electricity labelling investigated are an example of new political strategies of civil society intermediary organisations in an increasingly market-driven environment.
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