Voluntary Sustainability Standards and the Role of the Government: Perspectives from Emerging Market Economies and Europe

Event Type
Stakeholder Launch

Berlin, 21.10.2016


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), The Federation of German Industries / Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI), United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS)

DIE, BDI and UNFSS jointly organised a high-level launch event for the 2nd UNFSS Flagship Report. UNFSS is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The workshop was part of an effort to improve global learning and coordination on private voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) among key stakeholders from Emerging Market Economies and Europe. A central question was how governments, business and society can cooperate to make VSS more affordable and beneficial for local producers and their communities, more attractive and credible for consumers, and more manageable and relevant for companies. If these issues are addressed coherently, VSS promise to become an important and concrete part of the public-private effort to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The launch event, complemented by preparatory and planning meetings, brought to the fore a number of core concerns and related recommendations:

  • Governments should engage with business and civil society to proactively address VSS, exploring ways to increase their uptake and 'common good' benefits while mitigating their deficiencies.
  • National multi-stakeholder platforms on VSS, connected to one another through a ‘platform of platforms’ such as UNFSS, represent a viable option to share experiences and bridge coordination and implementation gaps.
  • In addition, governments, business associations, civil society and research institutions should seize the opportunity to put VSS on the agenda of the G20 and related outreach groups (B20, C20, T20).

The Knowledge Cooperation component of the Managing Global Governance (MGG) programme provided the context to the launch event on 21 October. MGG is implemented by DIE with financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development / Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ).

Please refer to the "Download" section (right column) for the concept and programme of the event. The 2nd UNFSS Flagship Report can be accessed here.

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