This 2015 report, which came out in early 2016, is a first joint attempt to provide an overview of the voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) landscape from the market perspective. The report was produced by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in partnership with The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The partners developed indicators to systematically collect and report on voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) market trends specifically. They also worked with ISEAL in the details of the report, and with ITC's standards map (www.standardsmap.org). The report builds on previous work IISD has been carrying out with the State of Sustainability Initiative (SSI) reports over the last several years.
Primarily a market trends report, it focuses on nine commodities: bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, forestry, palm oil, soybeans, cane sugar and tea.
The following standards are covered in the report: 4C Association, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Bonsucro, Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA), Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), GLOBALG.A.P. , IFOAM – Organics International, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), ProTerra Foundation, Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network (RA/SAN), Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), and UTZ Certified.
The report's main findings were rapid growth in agriculture and forestry certified markets. Namely the report states in its executive summary that, "since 2008, all standards included in this report have experienced growth in Voluntary Sustainability Standards-compliant areas. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil experienced the greatest jump, with the certified area expanding almost 30 times between 2008 and 2014. Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network’s area (covering a wide variety of commodities) grew more than nine fold, and the UTZ Certified area (covering cocoa, coffee, and tea) increased by 6.5 times between 2010 and 2014. When examined by commodity, Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network tea experienced the highest growth rate in its certified area, expanding ten times between 2010 and 2014. UTZ Certified cocoa grew seven times in the same timeframe. Better Cotton Initiative verified cotton quadrupled between 2011 and 2014. Furthermore, 4C Association verified coffee increased sixfold between 2008 and 2013. Certified forest area expanded by 41% between 2008 and 2014 with the Forest Stewardship Council growing by 82% to 187 million hectares in 2014 and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification expanding by 21% to 263 million hectares in the same year."
To download the full report, click below.