Sustainability Standards are special guidelines that support groups like small-scale farmers or producers in developing countries; cover a full range of environmental impacts throughout a product’s lifecycle; identify and promote best practices; and support continuous improvements environmentally, socially and economically. Sustainability Standards focus on economic sectors like forestry, farming, mining or fishing; concentrate on environmental factors like protecting water sources and biodiversity or reducing greenhouse gas emissions; support social protections and workers’ rights. As compared to developed economies, emerging countries are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of these standards on market access and competitiveness.
The India Private Sustainability Standards (PSS) Platform, launched in 2016 with the support of UNFSS, is a national multi-stakeholder forum dedicated to sustainability standards and trade. The Platform facilitates dialogue between core public and private stakeholders on how to maximize the sustainable development benefits and market access opportunities of PSS. It also addresses the challenges of implementing sustainability standards, particularly for small-scale producers. UNFSS and the India PSS Platform work together to advance both national and international understanding of private standards and sustainable development.
The ICSTS is part of the India PSS Platform mandate to institutionalize an inclusive intergovernmental, multi-stakeholder platform for dialogue and access to the agenda-settings of sustainability standards. This will be a converging point between best practices and disruptive ideas to tackle issues related to sustainability within the realm of global value chains. It also stands in as a forum to launch pioneering products of sustainability standards ecosystem, initiate engagement across stakeholders, and resolve complexities mainly faced by producers and MSMEs at micro and macro level. The Convention will also provide a space for actors across all levels of the value chains to share their experiences and best practices to collaborate in sustainable production, value chains and trade.
UNFSS will also be featuring the international launch of the 3rd UNFSS Flagship “Voluntary Sustainability Standards, Trade and Sustainable Development” during this event.
UNFSS and the National Multi-Stakeholders Platforms
UNFSS helps emerging countries develop multi-stakeholder platforms for Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS). These national initiatives, created and shared by stakeholders under each country’s designated coordinating body, reflect local priorities and developmental needs. They are organized and structured in a transparent, inclusive and demand-driven way. These platforms:
- Provide a neutral forum to exchange information and learn about Voluntary Sustainability Standards.
- Collect and exchange information on national standards.
- Assess the needs of decision-makers and other stakeholders.
- Link national demands with international expertise.
- Build institutions to strengthen communication.
Experiences and lessons learned from these national platforms feed into policy dialogues at the forum, and are used as groundwork to conduct analytical studies applicable to other countries in similar situations.