Southern Africa Updates

Thursday, 05 December 2019
South Africa spotlight on voluntary sustainability standards

Pannelists of the conference – Panellists: Dr Achna Negi, Professor inInternational Trade, Nehru University, India, Lorena Jaramillo Castro, UNCTAD,Sixolile Ngcobo, Commission on Gender Equality, South Africa

Our Marketing Manager, Gerard Busse recently attended the South African Initiative on Voluntary Sustainability Standards Conference held in Pretoria earlier this month.

With 500 ecolabels in 199 countries, across 25 industries, US$ 50 billion total sustainableproduction value and organic product sales of US$ 70 billion, sustainable production is not only better for the environment but is also big business. **And according to research 66% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products. ** Our Marketing Manager, Gerard Busse recently attended the South African Initiative on Voluntary Sustainability Standards Conference held in Pretoria . The conference was co-hosted by the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS), The GermanDevelopment Institute and its Managing Global Governance Program and the SouthAfrican Bureau of Standards. UNFSS is a collaborative inter-agency United Nations organisation combining the expertise of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environmental Program,International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).With the increasing growth in voluntary sustainability standards (VSS )there has been an increasing need to establish a platform for national and international dialogue amongst multi-stakeholders to address issues related to VSS.The German Development Institute and its Managing Global Governance (MGG )Program has been instrumental in doing this through MGG’s six partner countries: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. So, what are Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS’s):· VSS’s are requirements that are setby a private standards organisational entities, normally NGO’s, where producers are asked to meet certain environmental, social and economic objectives.· These objectives may include human rights, equitable profit share, decent working conditions, conservation of natural resources, biodiversity, community upliftment and other sustainable practices.· Products that are produced according VSS may come at a price premium.· VSS’s may facilitate trade or actas a barrier for market access to export. To prevent being barriers, VSS systems should do more to actively support suppliers and increase transparency.· Products produced according to VSS may be used by major brand owners and or retailers as effective marketing tools.The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, also referred to as the Sustainable Developmen tGoals are a universal commitment to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring human well-being. These goals also recognise international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. * South Africa has embedded the SDG’s in its national development priorities and is also signatory to the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 – both these drive South Africa’s implementation of the SDG’s. A key instrument to implement the SDG’s in SouthAfrica is the Government’s Bio-economy strategy, which has the goal for bio-economy sector to be a significant contributor to the country’s economy and GDP in 2030. […])

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