International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS)


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Jointly organized by InmetroFirjan, and the UNFSS , the 2nd International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards aims to advance multi-stakeholder dialogues on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) as an avenue to improve the transparency of VSS and foster greater partnerships between trading partners towards sustainable global value chains and achieving the UN SDGs.

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News Story: Moving Towards the 5C’s of Sustainability Standards Systems 

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The International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS) was organized by the India National Platform on Private Sustainability Standards (India PSS Platform) and convened by the Quality Council of India, in collaboration with UNFSS.

From topics on international trade, innovations in sustainable global value chains, and sustainability standard settings, to government policies and multi-stakeholder frameworks for sustainable trade, this 2-day event was the first of its kind multi-stakeholder convention dedicated solely to practical questions of leveraging trade, global value chains, standards and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

News Story: Save the Date
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The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in collaboration with the China Association for Standardization (CAS) and the Qingdao Institute of Standardization, organized a two day training workshop (29-30 September, 2017) for experts and practitioners from private and public organizations, to learn about a portfolio of market analysis tools to increase resource efficiency and sustainability in supply chains. The training delivered expertise to companies that wish to develop their business operations and better access international markets, as well as a public-private dialogue platform to government and other stakeholders.

News Story: Training on Sustainable Trade and Resource Efficiency in Supply Chains
News Story: Launch of China VSS Platform

Why Sustainable Trade and Standards?

Sustainability Standards are special rules that guarantee the products you buy do not hurt the environment and the people that make them. Standards are considered a market-based tool to transform production, global supply chains and consumption patterns into more sustainable ones. The number of these standards have grown in recent years, and they can now help build a newer, greener economy.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, and an important means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the concept of sustainable trade originally began with a singular focus leaning towards the environment, today, this term has expanded in the social and economic aspects of sustainability, thereby forming the three key pillars of sustainable development. The broader conception constitutes the protection and promotion of human rights, maintenance of local and indigenous communities, equity issues, economic productivity and welfare, as well as the traditional focus on environmental protection.

Purpose of the ICSTS

VSS worldwide community has been growing rapidly given the increasing focus on sustainability standards, especially as a global trade tool. This is also important to take into account when we consider the long transnational production lines and its implications to comply with VSS across each and every actor along the global supply chains. For most cases, producers and buyers do not get much opportunities to interact as they may be operating from different parts of the world, and producers from developing countries do not always have the capacities to turn their whole operation towards meeting international sustainability criteria overnight. There may be knowledge gaps, financial barriers etc., all of which affects their daily necessities significantly. This challenge in itself, opens many underlying risks and issues that needs to be addressed nationally, from a global perspective.

The purpose of the ICSTS is to firstly create an awareness on the challenges and opportunities of VSS schemes such that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becomes the central reason to comply with VSS. Secondly, and most importantly, the ICSTS provides a space for national and local stakeholders to participate in international dialogues that are strongly supported by the United Nations, particularly the five UN agencies behind UNFSS- FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO.

Interested to host an ICSTS in your country? Contact Ruby Lambert