Fostering Green Exports through VSS

With the growing consumer interest in “green” or “sustainable” products, major retailers increasingly opt for products that claim to be sustainable.

One way a product can claim to be “green” is through Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS). Complying with VSS can help improve access to more profitable markets and their price premiums can lead to increased profits. They can help developing countries transmit trade-induced economic growth to social development and environmental sustainability. VSS can also positively contribute to the country’s capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However certifying for VSS can be a big challenge, especially for small-scale producers due to high certification costs, the complexity of the certification process, and lack of knowledge.

Therefore this project aims to:

  • Increase national capacity to enhance “greener” sustainable exports
  • Establish a multi-stakeholder platform on VSS that could lead to more communication and coordinated efforts among stakeholders
  • Equip countries with better knowledge on VSS so that they are able to strategize how VSS could contribute to inclusive economic growth and sustainable development

The countries that participate in this project are Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Vanuatu and the Philippines.

Other UNCTAD VSS-Related Projects

BioTrade Initiative

UNCTAD’s BioTrade Initiative helps countries to harmonize economic development with the conservation of native biodiversity through the trade of goods and services derived from unique plants and animals. In the past 20 years, several organizations and companies in many countries have taken up the BioTrade Initiative, its principles and criteria, in a variety of sectors. For more information, please refer to the publication – 20 Years of Bio Trade.

Visit UNCTAD BioTrade Page

Non-Tariff Measures Hub

Non-tariff measures (NTMs) are policy measures other than tariffs that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods. They are increasingly shaping trade, influencing who trades what and how much. For exporters, importers and policymakers, NTMs represent a major challenge. Though many NTMs aim primarily at protecting public health or the environment, they also substantially affect trade through information, compliance and procedural costs.

Understanding the uses and implications of NTMs is essential for the formulation of effective development strategies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNCTAD’s NTM Hub serves as a gateway to that end, providing information on classification, data, research and analysis and policy support. Increasing transparency and understanding of NTMs can build capacity of policymakers, trade negotiators and researchers to strike the delicate balance between the reduction of trade costs and the preservation of public objectives.


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

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