The State of


Markets 2021

This sixth edition of our annual report

on the state of sustainable markets

covers 14 major sustainability standards

for eight agricultural sectors and forestry.


The Covid-19 pandemic caught the world off guard, causing social, economic and political shocks globally. It brought major changes in our personal and professional lives and caused us to re-assess our values and priorities. Now we need to act.

Sustainability standards are a powerful tool for a recovery that leaves no one behind. Consumers start to recognize the premium around ethically sourced, sustainable goods and services. Businesses across the world are being put under scrutiny for decisions that have an impact on the environment, employees, customers and society.

Our sixth edition of the State of Sustainable Markets shows that sustainability standards continue overall to expand their land coverage for agriculture and forestry. In cotton, for example, at least 17% of production area is certified.

These annual reports offer greater transparency and build awareness of the shifting yet enduring landscape for sustainability standards. They are among the few tools to have stood the test of time with relevant criteria and implementation frameworks to address social and environmental trade in doing business.

We can all encourage sustainable consumption. Consumer choices about products such as bananas, coffee and tea can transform lives – when they support small growers and values-based, sustainable trade. It’s equally important to develop policies and regulations that support sustainable cultivation – such as those which encourage deforestation-free cocoa, fewer agrochemicals or better prices for farmers.

Our hope is that our State of Sustainable Markets report contributes to those choices.

Pamela Coke-Hamilton

Executive Director

International Trade Centre

Consumer choices to support small farmers and values-based, sustainable trade are transforming lives.



This report contains data from 2019, the most up-to-date available for publication. See the full How we work section for more details on our research and data analysis methods.

Our goals:

Make relevant data accessible to analysts, researchers, policymakers and industry professionals

Raise awareness of sustainability-related issues

Encourage collaboration on a common platform

Promote transparency by collecting and presenting a wide range

of harmonised data


For full data, see the

Sustainability Market Trends Dashboard.

This dynamic database tracks agricultural and forestry land covered by certified sustainability standards, and brings together data from international institutions in one accessible platform.



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The International Trade Centre is the joint

agency of the World Trade Organization

and the United Nations.

Copyright: International Trade Center, unless otherwise indicated.