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.
The State of Sustainability Initiatives team provides tailored services, including advice, capacity building, and technical assistance for actors in government, industry, producers’ groups, standard-setting bodies, and beyond. Our goal is to help decision-makers use VSSs to support more sustainable production, consumption, and trade.
What kinds of services do we provide?
- Advising governments on strategies and regulations to 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 (case study to be published soon).