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.

Sustainability Standards and Social Concerns: An Academic Roundtable Discussion

Economic growth alone is not enough to ensure equity, social progress and to eradicate poverty. Up till today, hazardous workplaces continue to exist, and discrimination remains a challenge. According to the latest global estimates, 152 million children are in child labor and 25 million adults and children are in forced labor. Improving workplace practices beyond legal compliance fosters sustainability. It can as well result in higher morale and job satisfaction, and foster creativity

Podcast Feature: Trade Policy and Voluntary Sustainability Standards

The integration of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) into trade policies is a potential powerful means to upscale its adoption as trade policies today are increasingly being used to pursue non-trade objectives, including those related to sustainability. In the last few decades, complemented with the exponential growth in international trade, VSS have increasingly been incorporated into some trade policy instruments, although it may be too early to detect clear trends as of today. Nevertheless, such inclusion reflects the commitment of trade

Addressing gender blind spots in sustainability standards

Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls sits as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5) set by the United Nations. At international level, the attainment of SDG 5 has galvanised interest by the standards community to innovate gender responsiveness in core technical issues like assurance, standard-setting, and monitoring and evaluation. The need for standards to be more responsive to gender issues is growing recognition in leading standards bodies and Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) schemes to integrate gender

Applying Gender Lens on Sustainability Standards and Certification Systems for International Trade

Women account for almost half of the total labour force in many countries, and in 2019, at least 33% of women make up the exporting workforce compared to 24% of non-exporting workforce in developing countries. International trade has created better jobs for women, where the probability of women working in the informal sector have reduced from 20% with low levels of exports to 13% with high levels of exports, providing them with opportunities for benefits, training and job security, to

Elevating environmental governance with sustainability standards requires a mélange of political powerplay

The existence of good governance can be attributed to shared knowledge base and values, and a good environmental governance takes into account the role of all actors that have an impact and have been impacted by the environment. Although developing countries are the most vulnerable to environmental shocks, a shared knowledge considers the need for them to expand their agricultural supply chains in order to diversify their economy. So, how do we balance this double-edged sword? Taking the last roundtable dialogue