This report by a partnership comprising the International Trade Centre, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the International Institute for Sustainable Development summarises the recent market trends and growth in voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), for nine commodities.
The report is divided into five main sections: Section 1 provides an overview of VSS and the key findings of market research; Section 2 explains the methods of the Market Data Survey on which the report is based; Section 3 presents the results of the Market Data Survey from the perspective of each of the standards in turn; Section 4 also presents the results of the Market Data Survey, but focussing separately on each of the nine commodities (bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybeans, cane sugar, tea and forestry products); and Section 5 concludes the report and in particular identifies how the collection and reporting of market data concerning VSS can be improved.
The report found the following top increases in areas covered by several of the VSS between 2008 and 2014:
- The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm oil certified area increased 30 times
- Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network certified area increased 9 times
- UTZ certified area increased 6.5 times
- Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certified forest: 83% (to 187 million ha) and 21% (to 263 million ha) expansion in area respectively
In terms of specific commodities within certified areas the biggest growth in production volumes were:
- In Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network tea: 10-fold expansion from 2010-2014
- In UTZ certified cocoa: 7-fold expansion from 2010-2014
- 4C Association verified coffee: 6 fold expansion from 2008-2013
- Better Cotton Initiative verified cotton: 4 fold expansion from 2011-2014
The report identifies the key issues with the available market data on VSS as being insufficient data on products with multiple certifications, pricing information and consumer patterns and demographics. It recommends that VSS-related data collection could be improved by: greater corporate reporting and transparency by producers; including VSS compliant goods in the International Convention on the Harmonized System; and publishing national statistics on sustainable consumption.
This report is a product of a partnership funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) between the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). It offers a pathway for formalizing the reporting process with a view to making data on sustainable markets more accessible to all; and provides a market data survey on Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS). Section one gives an overview of the VSS surveyed with a short description and key data; section two includes the production- related data for key global sustainability standards across nine commodity sectors, bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, forestry, palm oil, soybeans, cane sugar and tea; includes bibliographical references (pp. 143-145).
Descriptors: Private Standards, Sustainable Development, Agriculture, Commodities, Eco-Labelling, Fair Trade, Organic Products, Market Surveys, Statistics.
International Trade Centre (ITC) (2015) The State of Sustainable Markets: Statistics and Emerging Trends 2015. ITC. Geneva
You can find related resources in the Research Library categories on Certification Schemes and Standardisation and Harmonisation, and the key word categories: Certification, Standards, Trends/Projections, Bananas, Cocoa, Coffee, Palm-oil, Soy, Sugar cane and Tea
Additionally, the FCRN’s own publication (in collaboration with Chatham House) on Policies and Action to Shift Eating Patterns has a section on certification schemes – see in particular pages 53-57.