Making headway on the Academic Advisory Council’s strategic partnership with the Evidensia platform to step-up research and dissemination

November, 2020 – The UNFSS Academic Advisory Council (AAC) committee and the Evidensia platform will kickstart its strategic work collaboration on stepping up Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) research through the AAC network and disseminated through the Evidensia platform.

This partnership is a continuation of its initial mutual agreement that promoted and disseminated the UNFSS´s recently launched 4th Flagship report via the Evidensia platform to which, a further exchange between both parties have been defined on the contours of activities that will be implemented in 2021. These activities have been segmented along three pathways- “trade policy for climate adaptation”, “driving towards sustainable markets to eradicate inequality and poverty”, and “trade and biodiversity conservation”.

The AAC is a multi-disciplinary network of academic experts from around the world that have been individually selected by the UNFSS-AAC committee. The AAC aims to bring together the knowledge and different theoretical approaches of VSS and their impact on developing countries. The AAC is established to function as a think-tank that reflects the implicit knowledge of the complexity and multi-faceted nature of analyzing VSS effectiveness and the challenges associate therewith.

Evidensia is the hub for knowledge and learning about the sustainability impacts of market-based sustainability approaches in global supply chain and landscape initiatives. Launched in June 2019, the site brings together academic research, project-based learning and monitoring and evaluation evidence, to provide an emerging picture of which market-based initiatives are working to advance sustainability objectives.

“This partnership is a fundamental step forward to establish an impartial and transparent platform as a public good about Sustainability Standards information”, said Santiago FernandezdeCordoba, UNFSS coordinator and Senior Economist at UNCTAD.

With the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), this partnership aims to leverage on the novel VSS Academic Advisory Council (AAC) network of renowned researchers and academic experts to bolster usage of the Evidensia platform for research purposes.

UNFSS is a long-committed initiative that supports the uptake of sustainability standards. Together with the Evidensia platform, the two entities have jointly defined its statement of work that promotes accessibility and adequacy of VSS-related academic journals contributed by the AAC network to be disseminated through Evidensia´s easily accessible and freely available online-library.

To learn more about the Academic Advisory Council, visit Alternatively, we invite you to start your research journey with Evidensia at

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.

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