Major trends and challenges in the production and consumption of agricultural commodities compliant with voluntary sustainability standards (VSS): IISD launches a new commodities series kicking off with coffee, cacao, tea and sugar

Hundreds of voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) have emerged over the last three decades as market tools that enhance sustainable development in the agriculture sector. The production of VSS-compliant commodities has continued to grow, reaching at least 34.5 per cent of coffee’s global production and 29 per cent of cocoa’s, based on 2016 data. This is driven in many cases by consumer demand, purchase decisions, sourcing commitments from larger buyers and traders, and government regulations.

Despite this growth and the promising sign of the expansion of VSS-compliant production in the agricultural sector, producers in less-developed countries still face major challenges in accessing and benefiting from these sustainable markets. Price volatility, income disparity across the value chain, market imbalance and the effects of climate change are among the challenges that need to be resolved.

How can these challenges be addressed? Can the expansion of VSS-compliant production help to address these issues and be a catalyst to improve the livelihoods of millions of farmers in coffee-, cocoa-, sugar- and tea-producing countries, and particularly in low human development countries?

The webinar explores these questions and presents the findings of a number of reports from the Sustainable Commodities Marketplace Series by IISD. These reports present sustainable production and consumption market information on agricultural commodities to foster transparency, knowledge and strategic decision making for sustainable development.

 

IISD launches a new commodities series kicking off with coffee, cacao, tea and sugar.

Speakers:

  • Cynthia Uwacu and Alexis Nkurunzira – National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB), Rwanda
  • Julie Francoeur – Fairtrade, Canada
  • Joel Brounen – Solidaridad, Colombia
  • Cristina Larrea- IISD, Canada