Flagship Publication

We publish once every two years a report on diverse topics to do with Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), our mission and activities, for our stakeholders from the public and private sectors.


5th Flagship Report: “Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), Sustainability Agenda and Developing Countries: Opportunities and Challenges” 

October 2022

The report discusses the role of VSS in advancing the sustainability agenda in developing countries and assesses the opportunities and challenges associated with VSS uptake in those countries. The report thus examines the opportunities VSS offer for developing countries, and their role in advancing the environmental, social, and economic sustainability agenda in those countries. The report also presents the challenges that developing countries face regarding VSS uptake and use; based on the above, the report distills policy implications that could provide guidance to researchers and policymakers.



4th Flagship Report: “Scaling up VSS through Sustainable Public Procurement and Trade Policy”

September 2020

The report explores the role of government as a vehicle to drive the adoption of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), which can be a powerful tool to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and other public sustainability commitments. The effectiveness of VSS to contribute to sustainable development depends partly on their degree of adoption by economic operators. In this respect, governments could play a significant role by integrating VSS into public procurement and trade policy.



3rd Flagship Report: “Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), Trade and Sustainable Development”

September 2018

The relationship between Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), trade and sustainable development are among the most pronounced concepts sought-after the realm of green global value chains. The VSS system has in fact influence the export landscape to either facilitate market access or become an obstacle to trade. The 3rd UNFSS Flagship is set to impart an agenda surrounding VSS and its relation to trade issues, in particular the impact of VSS on market access.


Learn how VSS can have direct links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

2nd Flagship Report: “Meeting Sustainability Goals: Voluntary Sustainability Standards and the Role of the Government”

September 2015

This report seeks to further dissect the interplay between VSS and public governance processes by striving to answer the following questions: what are the optimal dynamics between public policy processes and voluntary sustainability standards to ensure sustainability objectives are most effectively met?


1st Flagship Report of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS)

September 2013

The 1st Flagship Report presents an array of salient VSS and public policy issues and developed an inventory of some of the leading initiatives working on VSS. One key theme highlighted in the first Flagship Report was the interplay of VSS and public governance. In particular, the report elucidated tensions at the nexus of VSS and public governance, including conflict between the schemes and existing governmental positions and competition between government and private sector-led standardization efforts.

Report Part 1


Report Part 2



Disclaimer: These documents have not yet been registered as official UN documents yet, so please do not cite or copy.