Voluntary Sustainability Standards

UNFSS National Platforms

Local Solutions for Global Challenges: The Role of UNFSS National Platforms’ Network in maximising benefits of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS)

Everyday life has been struck by climate change effects, deepening poverty and hunger, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the crisis in Ukraine. As a result, the world is witnessing accelerating existing vulnerabilities and widening inequalities. The value of multilateralism and trade cannot be undermined in providing a sustainable recovery path, especially for the most vulnerable groups. In light of the above, the UNFSS National Platform and Initiative Cooperation Network (NPICN) met on 24th May

No Poverty among Smallholder Farmers: Can access to Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS)-compliant markets help?

Ever since the adoption of the 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, the global development community has worked towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, set forth by the United Nations. However, progress has been cut short, or even worse, reversed, due to multiple external shocks, like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia crisis. This has further alarmed the world on issues like extreme poverty, food insecurity, and an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Despite multiple

Africa prepares to mainstream Voluntary Sustainability Standards: Launch of the African Continental platform on Voluntary Sustainability Standards

On 6th April 2022, the African Organisation for standardization (ARSO), in collaboration with UNFSS, launched the African Continental platform on Voluntary Sustainability Standards. The platform will promote the development and implementation of sustainability standards, assist Small and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs) in their implementation, and encourage the establishment of national platforms in ARSO member countries. The launch was conducted virtually and discussed the importance of an established multi-stakeholder platform for collectively assessing VSS’s impact on Africa’s sustained trade growth and sustainable development.

Empowering Women is Smart Economics and Pathway Towards the SDGs

Improving gender equality has many positive impacts on individuals and also on society at large. Empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. When more women work, economies grow! Empowering women to become full economic citizens has grown importance in the work of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS). The underlying point of reference as Mr. Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba, Senior Economist andUNFSS Coordinator, UNCTAD prescribed as a

Voluntary Sustainability Standards for People, Planet, and Prosperity: Focus on G20

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed systemic fragilities across the globe. The pandemic has not only been a global health crisis but also has severely impacted the global economy and financial markets. The pandemic has affected people’s livelihoods, health and disrupted food systems. Significant reductions in income, rise in unemployment, and disruption in services have been common aftermath, especially in the developing countries. Fig.1 International trade plunged as the virus spread (Source:

The Circular Economy: Can Voluntary Sustainability Standards play a role in bidding adieu to the ‘take, make, waste’ model?

The last three decades have witnessed a worsening of the world’s environmental problems. The global use of natural resources has more than tripled since 1970 and continues to grow, pushing climate stability and ecosystems worldwide to the limits of their resilience. This reflects a pertinent need to shift towards sustainable consumption and production pathways. But how can we achieve that? A circular economy might provide some solutions. While there is no singular definition of a circular economy, it most

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Podcast feature: Voluntary sustainability standards and trade in developing countries 

Globalization has brought profound changes to international trade over the last 50 years. Value chains are now spread around the globe and are becoming more complex. Today, about US $8 trillion worth of world trade goes through Global Value Chains (GVCs), accounting for nearly 70% of the total share of global trade. According to UNCTAD’s research, majority of the developing countries are increasingly participating in GVCs. As a result, the developing-country share in global value-added trade increased from 20%

Standards and Poverty Reduction: What role do Voluntary Sustainability Standards play? 

03rd December 2021, Geneva – The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launched the report- IISD’s SSI Review: Standards and Poverty Reduction. The report was launched in a joint UNCTAD-IISD webinar, held as a part of IISD Trade + Sustainability Hub, 2021. The report examines the potential of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) operating in the agriculture sector to reduce poverty, which includes a chapter that UNCTAD and IISD wrote jointly on Understanding Smallholder Farmer Access to VSS-compliant Markets.  It is estimated that 80% of the

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

Launch of the 3rd Flagship Report: Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), Trade and Sustainable Development

3rd UNFSS Flagship Report: Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), Trade and Sustainable Development   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. We typically see the benefits of imposing sustainability standards as a positive advantage contributing to the environment, social and the economy. The VSS system has in fact influence the export landscape to either facilitate market access or become an obstacle to trade, especially for importing countries that have turned to