IISD-UNIGE Webinar | Voluntary Sustainability Standards, Public Procurement, and Trade Policy: Trends, challenges, and development implications

This joint IISD-UNIGE webinar explored what the rapidly growing field of voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) could mean for public procurement and trade policy, especially in developing and least developed countries.

November 10, 2020 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm CET

(Open to public)


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This webinar asked how these standards, which can be seen across commodities ranging from coffee to cotton, might be integrated into trade agreements, market access regulations, export promotion measures, and procurement policy. Presenters also explored the development considerations and implications, looking at what the integration of these standards into trade policy could mean for developing and least developed countries.

The event began with an in-depth presentation on the new report from the UN Forum on Sustainability Standards, entitled Scaling up VSS through Sustainable Public Procurement and Trade Policyby the report's authors, Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba of the UN Forum on Sustainability Standards and Axel Marx from KU Leuven. The webinar then explored in further detail issues of market access regulation, trade, and public procurement.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A with the audience. A full list of speakers is available below, as is the event video. 

This webinar is part of a joint series on trade and sustainability by IISD and the University of Geneva's Faculty of Law, which is made possible through the generous support of the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Our work under the State of Sustainability Initiatives is made possible through the generous support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.


Moderator: Cristina Larrea, Lead, Sustainability Standards, IISD


  • Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba, Senior Economist, UN Forum on Sustainability Standards Coordinator, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Axel Marx, Deputy Director at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven
  • Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Executive Director, IISD Europe, and Senior Director, Economic Law and Policy, IISD
  • Liesbeth Casier, Policy Advisor, IISD
  • Makane Moïse Mbengue, Professor of International Law, University of Geneva, Faculty of Law


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