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FiBL report on Voluntary Sustainability Standards

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The Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL signed a cooperation agreement with ISEAL Alliance that represents the movement of credible and innovative sustainability standards, to strengthen the data collection efforts on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) worldwide,

The memorandum will improve the completeness and level of detail of data collected from the ISEAL member organisations included in the Global Survey on Voluntary Sustainability Standards, which is carried out by FiBL. The signing ceremony with Urs Niggli, the Director of FiBL, and Karin Kreider, the Executive Director of ISEAL, took place on 27 June 2017 at the Global Sustainability Standards Conference at the World Trade Center in Zurich, Switzerland.

Voluntary Sustainability Standards: Growth continues

We also learn from FiBL that the latest market data on key Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) is presented in "The State of Sustainable Markets 2017" report at the same event. The report presents data that helps small firms take advantage of trends to supply consumers with products that are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.

Coffee: the largest certified area

The share of standard compliant area reached double digits in 2015 for the following products: more than 25% of land used for coffee production, 16% of land used for cocoa production, 15% of land used for oil palm production, and 14% of land used for tea production are now VSS compliant.

Cotton: largest growth in standard compliant area among certified commodities

The cotton standard compliant area nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2015, while the banana compliant area almost tripled, and the tea compliant area more than doubled in the same timeframe. The soy and cotton compliant area both grew by close to 50% between 2014 and 2015.

Organic is the standard with the largest certified area

Organic is the largest sustainability standard in terms of area; it is the standard with the largest variety of commodities and is the only VSS operating across all nine sectors covered in this report. In 2015, more than 50.9 million hectares were certified organic, representing 1.1% of the global agricultural land. The single-commodity Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified almost 3.5 million hectares, making it the standard with the second-largest area, representing 0.07% of the global agricultural area. GLOBALG.A.P. had more than 3.1 million hectares. Strongest area growth by standard noted for the Better Cotton Initiative. Most of the VSS experienced significant growth between 2011 and 2015. More details on the FIBL website.

Report "State of Sustainable Markets 2017: Statistics and Emerging Trends"

The "State of Sustainable Markets 2017: Statistics and Emerging Trends" is the second joint report between the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC). It offers a comprehensive snapshot of the market performance of global sustainability standards operating in eight products: bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybeans, cane sugar, and tea. The report also covers forestry. This report and the global market survey on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

This report covers the following standards: 4C, Better Cotton Initiative, Bonsucro, Cotton Made in Africa, Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council, GLOBALG.A.P., IFOAM – Organics International, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes, ProTerra Foundation, Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the Round Table on Responsible Soy, and UTZ.

An interactive database featuring these standards and products will be launched in late September 2017 in Geneva at the Trade for Sustainable Development Forum, allowing policymakers, businesses, standards bodies and researchers access to customized, updated data on these markets.





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