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Sustainable trade

Voluntary sustainability standards to acheive the SDG's

Published 11 September 2020 | 1 minute read

This UNCTAD report discusses the role governments can play in encouraging the adoption of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's).

The UNCTAD report looks at how public procurement processes and trade policies can play a role in encouraging the adoption of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), which in turn can help meet the SDG's.

Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) for meeting the SDG's

The effectiveness of VSS to contribute to sustainable development depends partly on their degree of adoption by economic operators. In this respect, governments could play a significant role by integrating VSS into public procurement and trade policy. Public procurement represents, on average, 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) in countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and up to 30% in developing countries.

Given the magnitude of such spending, in combination with the pressing need for sustainable production and consumption, sustainable public procurement has become imperative. In addition, trade policy is increasingly used to pursue non-trade objectives, including those related to sustainability.

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UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. Their headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland, and they have offices in New York and Addis Ababa.

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