Voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) can be used as an effective tool for supporting more sustainable production, consumption, and trade. These standards can improve economic opportunities for producers and their communities in developing countries while supporting their social well-being, resilience, and better environmental practices.
But the multitude and variety of standards can pose a challenge for decision-makers looking to use VSSs to make a difference. We provide tailored services to help a range of stakeholders use VSSs to support more sustainable production, consumption, and trade.
Who we work with
We work with VSSs and value chain actors, producer and consumer groups, policy officials from governments in producing and consuming countries, regional blocs, intergovernmental organizations, and multilateral entities.
Some of the countries and regions we work with include:
What kinds of services do we provide?
- Advising governments on strategies and regulations so they can benefit from sustainability standards and support national development goals.
- Providing market intelligence and advice to help commodity producers use sustainability to distinguish their products in the marketplace.
- Building capacity among policy-makers and industry actors to understand VSSs and take action to promote sustainable markets and investments.
- Consulting with standard-setting bodies to improve compliance criteria and interventions and increase uptake.
- Mapping supply chains and conducting tailored research for private sector actors.
Examples of our work
- Developing a national organic standard for agriculture in Madagascar.
- Improving competitive advantage and sustainability performance in Rwanda’s tea and coffee sectors.
- Hosting capacity-building workshops on market trends, sustainable investments, benefits, and opportunities for VSSs for government officials, producers’ groups, and industry actors in the Americas, the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and Cambodia.
- Organizing a regional workshop for the East African Community with local standard-setting bodies, farmers’ groups, and commodity buyers to explore synergies for market integration and resilience.
- Mapping the value chain for a fashion retailer to link and engage with suppliers and collect product sustainability information.
- Convening policy-makers and supply chain actors in Kenya to discuss policy options to reduce food loss and food waste and share how successes in aligning mandatory and voluntary standards in the Kenyan flower sector can help advance sustainability and trade goals in other agricultural sectors.
- Advising GLOBALG.A.P. on environmental criteria to include in the latest version of their Integrated Farm Assurance standard through their Environmental Sustainability Working Group.
Why work with us
We provide evidence-based, impartial analysis with clear, actionable recommendations. We have the ability to convene multiple actors and serve as an influential voice in the field.
In 2022, the SSI team engaged with more than 275 actors in 54 countries. Over 96% reported that their knowledge had been enhanced and that their capacity had increased. Nearly 100% felt satisfied with our work.