The SSI Commentaries are inspired by sustainable consumption and production issues being addressed by voluntary sustainability standards. As they continue to multiply, capture more market share, and shift commodity sectors towards sustainability, Voluntary Sustainability Standards need to continually evolve to address a broad range of sustainable consumption and production issues. The SSI Commentaries aim to contribute to ongoing reflections on how voluntary sustainability standards can best address sustainable consumption and production by providing additional information and perspective via short briefs.

Enabling Sustainable Livelihoods in Forestry. The role of VSS in supporting the long-term viability of the forestry sector

November 24, 2017

Author: Yolanda Ariadne Collins & Vivek Voora

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The term “livelihoods” encompasses the abilities, assets and activities necessary for making a living. A sustainable livelihood is described by the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex as “one which can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks as well as maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, while not undermining the natural resource base” (quoted in Krantz, 2001, pp 7–8). In addition, it recognizes the multiplicity of factors that constrain or enable people to sustain themselves in an “economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable manner” (Krantz, 2001, p 1). Further, sustainable livelihoods should benefit other livelihoods at the local and global scales in both the short and the long-term (Chambers & Conway, 1992). The sustainable livelihoods approach seeks to understand the strengths and capacities of people, in terms of assets and capital, and their efforts to convert these endowments into positive livelihood outcomes (Department for International Development, 1999).