Last week, representatives from United Nations agencies, Chinese and foreign government agencies, the business community, and the world’s leading sustainability standards explored in Beijing the opportunities and challenges for developing and implementing sustainability standards systems in the Chinese context. On behalf of the steering committee of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS), and therefore of all five UN partner organizations of UNFSS, delivered an opening remarks at the Forum.
Sustainability standards have become globally recognised tools for implementing sustainable development goals, managing critically important business sustainability issues, and delivering sustainability impacts on the ground. Certification and accreditation are integral to the successful implementation of sustainability standards and important market mechanisms for growing markets for sustainable consumption and production.
UNFSS is working together with the government of China and multi-stakeholders on building a national platform on voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) to support, strengthen and help to create a standards-driven culture in those sectors and product groups that are already or will become part of international supply chains. Furthermore, the National Platform will help to create a private-standards ecosystem with a well-structured approach and role clarity of the involved agencies and actors. The key objectives are to embrace and pro-actively deal with VSS to improve innovation, competitiveness, quality of products, consumer protection, market access and contribute to other sustainable development objectives in the economic, social and environmental areas.
UNFSS is a joint initiative of the UN system which brings together the 5 United Nations agencies that deal with different aspects of sustainability standards: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNFSS, founded in 2013, was created to facilitate and strengthen the effective and active participation of developing countries in the international dialogue on VSS. In particular, the Forum focuses on understanding the contribution VSS can have in helping developing countries achieve their sustainable development goals.
United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards Key Note speech:
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