The Discussion Paper no. 7 (https://unfss.org/documentation/discussion-paper-series/) assesses a real-life impact of private sustainability standards (PSS) for cocoa producers in Nicaragua and vegetable farmers in Kenya. Based on interviews standard-complying producers as well as those who had left the standard schemes, the case studies explore the complexities of the tensions between stakeholders’ socio-economic, commercial and environmental priorities. It concludes that priorities projected through stakeholders’ power and embedded relations within global value chains affect what local outcomes – positive and negative – farmers would receive.
The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a joint initiative of 5 UN Agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO) that seeks to address these challenges. It is a demand-driven forum for intergovernmental actors to communicate among each other and engage with key target groups (producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, relevant NGOs and researchers) to address their information needs and influence concerned stakeholders. It aims to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on VSS and their potential contribution to facilitate market access, strengthen public goods and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the UNFSS focuses on potential trade or development obstacles VSS may create, with particular emphasis on their impact on SMEs and less developed countries.