Why the SSI Matters

There are now more than 400 voluntary sustainability standards operating across the planet. As demand and supply of standard compliant products grows, so does the need to understand how voluntary sustainability standards are developing overtime, both in terms of the systems they deploy and the market impacts they have.

The State of Sustainability Initiatives exists in recognition of this need. It is our hope that when the ensuing data and analysis is read in conjunction with the growing body of field-level impact data, that supply chain decision makers can strengthen their own strategic decision-making processes in ways that provide optimal sustainable development impact.


Over the last two decades, a growing number of voluntary sustainability initiatives and other multistakeholder alliances have emerged to improve the livelihoods of the millions of commodity-dependent producers and manufacturers around the world. The multiplicity of these initiatives makes it increasingly challenging for stakeholders to stay informed on their utility, performance and best practices.

The State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) project is a product of multi-stakeholder meetings (2003-2006) on sustainable commodities production and trade, facilitated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, under the auspices of the Sustainable Commodity Initiative (SCI). Building on requests for improved information on the impacts and opportunities associated with voluntary sustainability initiatives, the SCI, through a special partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development and Aid environment, launched the SSI project in 2008.

Our Experts

Jason Potts

Jason Potts is a Senior Associate of the International Institute for Sustainable...

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Vivek Voora

Vivek Voora works with the Economic Law & Policy and Water programs at IIS...

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Maxine Cunningham

Maxine has been involved with the SSI since 2011 and has contributed to the SSI ...

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Matthew Lynch

Matthew Lynch has been researching sustainability standards since 2011, first at...

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Gabriel Huppe
Gabriel Huppe

Gabriel has been involved with the SSI since 2011, and has played a key role in ...

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Scott McFatridge

Scott became involved with the SSI in 2014 and has a keen interest in sustainabi...

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Sabrina Shaw
Sabrina Shaw

Sabrina Shaw is an Associate at the International Institute for Sustainable Dev...

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For bio ssi
Aynur Mammadova

Aynur is supporting the SSI team by undertaking research, communication, content...

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Laura Turley

Laura has been working with IISD’s Economic Law and P...

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Supporting Partners