The Bandwidth Problem in Telecoupled Systems Governance: Certifying Sustainable Winemaking in Australia and Chile

Elena Marola, Judith Schöpfner, Caleb Gallemore, Kristjan Jespersen

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Telecoupled systems connect consumption and other choices in one part of the world with land-use and land-cover change in another. While such connections are increasingly well documented, research on governing telecoupled systems is in its infancy. Drawing on recent discussions in sociology, we argue that models for governing telecoupled systems must consider two types of information flows. Low-bandwidth flows allow for limited information transfer but can take place over greater distances. High-bandwidth flows, by contrast, allow for more complex knowledge transfer but tend to be geographically localized due to the costs of maintaining robust connections. Using a mixed-methods case study of national sustainability certification in the wine sector in Australia and Chile, we argue that Chile's counterintuitive success in diffusing its national sustainability certification relates to its geography, which facilitated high-bandwidth connections. We conclude that telecoupling governance measures, such as jurisdictional commodity certification, need to consider the unique requirements and costs of high-bandwidth connections in allocating institutional investments.
TidsskriftEcological Economics
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - maj 2020


  • Telecoupling
  • Sustainability
  • Wine
  • Diffusion
  • Environmental certification