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Key Message

The Sustainable Commodity Initiative aims to build effectiveness across voluntary approaches to sustainable commodity production and trade by promoting good governance, impact analysis, information exchange as well as policy and initiative development.

Sustainable Commodity Initiative

What's New in the Sustainable Commodity Initiative?

  • DownloadThe Global Initiative on Commodities: From Stakeholder Perspectives to Stakeholder Participation (A Summary of Civil Society Recommendations for Sustainable Commodity Production) (PDF - 2.2 mb)
    The Global Initiative on Commodities (GIC) is an international partnership initiative launched by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; the African, Pacific and Caribbean Group; the Common Fund for Commodities; and the United Nations Development Programme designed to break the "conspiracy of silence" regarding the importance of commodities in sustainable development. The priorities of the GIC are outlined in the GIC's Brasilia Outcomes Paper (PDF - 215 kb). Over the course of 2008, IISD's Sustainable Commodity Initiative managed a civil society consultation process to identify CSO views and priorities towards a global strategy for commodities within the GIC. This document summarizes the results of that process as well as the "Chatelaine Consensus," the formal CSO guidance for carrying the GIC forward.

  • The Sustainable Commodity Initiaitive: SCI Rationale and Road-map: 2008-2011
    (PDF - 2 mb)

    During 2007 the IISD/UNCTAD Sustainable Commodity Initiative welcomed new coordinating partners: The International Institute for Environment and Development as well as AidEnvironment. Both institutions bring a wealth of project and research expertise related to voluntary and market-based initiatives in sustainable commodity production and trade. The SCI Rationale and Road-map: 2008-2011 sets forth the strategic vision for the Sustainable Commodity Initiative for the next three years building from this new partnership base.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) launched the Sustainable Commodity Initiative (SCI) in 2003 in recognition of the fundamental link between commodities and sustainable development. The principal objective of the SCI is to improve the social, environmental and economic sustainability of commodities production and trade by developing global multi-stakeholder strategies on a sector-by-sector basis.

Despite a rapid growth in the diversity and number of NGO-, government- and industry-led initiatives addressing sustainability within commodities markets over the past two decades, there has been comparatively little coordination at the international level-either between initiatives or the diverse approaches they have adopted. The development of multi-stakeholder, market-based mechanisms at the global level thus represents an important and, so far, largely unexplored avenue for improving the social, environmental and economic impacts of commodities trade in an integrated and coherent manner. The SCI aims to take advantage of this opportunity by providing a science-based and multi-stakeholder forum for the identification of concrete sustainability strategies and instruments at the global level.

Through a process of workshops, meetings and research, the SCI identifies:

The SCI provides a testing ground for proposed initiatives through a process of stakeholder feedback and analytical research. By leading a constructive and proactive process, the SCI provides a foundation for further multi-stakeholder collaboration and the implementation of global strategies and initiatives for implementing commodity chain sustainability.