Sustainability standards are important to everyone:
producers, suppliers, consumers, governments and NGOs.
They cover environmental, social, ethical and food safety issues.
Companies use these recognized, independently assessed
standards to show their sustainability-related performance
and promote sustainability along the value chain.
SECTORS IN THIS REPORT
SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS IN THIS REPORT
4C Services (4C)
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)
Fairtrade International (Fairtrade)
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
IFOAM Organics International (organic)
Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
ProTerra Foundation (ProTerra)
Rainforest Alliance (RA)
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
Consumption fell during the pandemic...
This report contains data from 2019, the most recent data prepared for publication. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the global economy hard, with global disposable incomes decreasing and lockdowns restricting access to restaurants, travel, and retail. Many households have reduced their spending on non-essential, higher-priced products and services, including items covered by certified sustainability standards.
But consumers are seeking
out sustainable options
Demand has increased, however, for nutritious, healthy, and safe products that protect animal and human welfare. Buyers, traders, manufacturers and retailers are using sustainability standards to show consumers and governments that their supply chains comply with safeguarding requirements. These trends vary by geography and commodity market. In developed countries, there are greater prospects for expanding sustainable consumption. In low- and middle-income countries, the biggest barriers are prohibitive costs and a lack of education on sustainability issues in the value chains.
How can we encourage sustainable consumption?
While the pandemic led to an overall drop in consumption of non-essential products, it also sparked greater demand for certified products, with traditional markets in Europe and North America continuing to lead. Consumers in these markets are paying more attention to companies’ environmental and social claims, and are willing to pay more for ethical products. In general terms supply of vss-compliant products continues to outpace demand. To balance the market, demand must increase in emerging economies and producing countries that are also major consumers (particularly in Asia).
Crucial next steps to boost sustainable consumption include:
Educating consumers on the true social and environmental costs of production and the impact of their purchases
Making products more affordable in non-traditional markets
Passing regulations and policies to encourage sourcing and consumption
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