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.

Save-the-Date: 2nd International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS), 16 -18 September 2019, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil has historically played an important role in the international sustainability discussions. In 2018, the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea), a public Brazilian think tank, presented the adaptation of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the Brazilian reality. This is part of the national effort towards internalizing and implementing the Agenda. The 2nd ICSTS aims to

Assessing the Perception and Willingness towards VSS

The considerable diversity of priorities associated with the uptake of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) have captured significant interests for researchers to analyze the drivers that stimulated stakeholders to be certified (or not). Given the unclear distribution of benefits resulting from these sustainability certifications, smallholder farmers are striking economic actors in the value chains that have expressed unprecedented concerns. This is not to say that they do not see the value of adapting sustainability measures into their operations, but rather concerns

FiBL report: Group Certification. Internal Control Systems in Organic Agriculture: Significance, Opportunities and Challenges

About 80% of the world’s organic producers are smallholders in low and middle income countries, for whom individual certification would be unaffordable and administratively too complex to manage. These producers are recognised as organic due to group certification, a system in which groups of farmers implement an Internal Control System (ICS) and are certified by a third party certification body, which assesses the performance of the ICS and performs a representative number of spot-check inspections of group members. The approach

Enriching Good VSS Benchmarking Practices through Global Consultations

Time to opt for Good Practices in Benchmarking Sustainability The essence of defining good practices underlines the replication of applying accumulated knowledge and experiences to new situations. Identifying such models can be adapted to improve any discovery of unanticipated challenges. As we start to recognise the growing prevalence of sustainability issues addressed by participants along the global supply chains, governments and civil society are seeking mechanisms to evaluate sustainability performance through the advent of good practices. Supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft

Resurfacing Biodiversity, from a Sustainability Standards Perspective

Nearly half of the world’s population is directly dependent on biodiversity for their livelihoods. Today over 3.2 billion people depend on biodiversity for their livelihoods, but the globe’s biodiversity resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. In Europe alone, the cost of biodiversity loss is estimated about 3% of its GDP, or €450m (£400m), a year [1]. “If we are going to address the issue of biodiversity, we also have to look at the fundamental issues