unfss

About UNFSS

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.

Fostering Sustainable Trade in the APEC Region

On 14 September 2021, the UNFSS co-organized a 3-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Stakeholder VSS Awareness Workshop together with the APEC Secretariat and the Department of Standards Malaysia. APEC is comprised of 21 member economies which aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. Against this background, the UNFSS has been a close partner to deliberate the

Leveraging collaboration, transparency, and fairness to enhance VSS effectiveness in achieving sustainable development

On 30 August 2021, UNCTAD launched its report “Better Trade for Sustainable Development: The Role of Voluntary Sustainability Standards” in a webinar chaired by Ms. Isabelle Durant, Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD. Ms. Durant highlighted the need to pursue development under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) umbrella. While she indicated the role of international trade as a means of implementation for the achievement of the SDGs, she referred, as well, to the adverse social and environmental impacts resulted

Better Trade for Sustainable Development: The Role of Voluntary Sustainability Standards

The expansion of international trade in the last decades, although it has brought economic and societal benefits across the globe, sometimes led to failure in addressing the adverse social and environmental impacts. Sustainable trade takes place when these adverse impacts are mitigated, and the international exchange of goods and services yields positive social, economic and environmental benefits [Read: Minding the gap to foster better trade for sustainable development]. For trade to become a ‘sustainable engine’, one approach

Revitalizing the principal role of smallholder farmers as economic contributors

On 17 June 2021, the UNFSS and Evidensia co-organized the 3rd and last Academic Advisory Roundtable Series on Sustainability Standards and Economic concerns to highlight the role of trade in economic growth and development. According to Mr. Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba, UNFSS coordinator and UNCTAD senior economist, in order to respond to the environmental and socio-economic challenges brought by globalization, there is a need for powerful tools and instruments to ensure that the benefits brought by trade must become more inclusive

Sustainability Standards and Economic Concerns: An Academic Roundtable Discussion

When Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) emerged in the late 20th century, they were heralded as innovative new instruments to help meet some of the most pressing sustainability challenges. Disappointment in the lack of meaningful government policy commitments and/or ineffective implementation of traditional ´command-and-control´ regulatory systems spurred the emergence of these market-based instruments. The question is whether VSS have been able to deliver on their promise to bring about fundamental, lasting changes in sustainability practice. Putting focus on the economic benefits, SDGs