This report examines the state of fragmentation across nine key agricultural commodity sectors in the 10 largest producer countries and ways of increasing coordination. It used data on geographical scope of certified or verified producers collected in the Standards Map database for each standard and then measured fragmentation in 90 country-product markets using a requirement overlap index and process overlap index.
Multiple standards were found in 86 or the 90 markets reviewed and 11 or more VSS operating were found in more than 30 of these markets. “For instance, cocoa producers in Côte d'Ivoire may have to contend with up to 11 different standards, while coffee producers in Brazil can be certified or verified to the 13 sustainability standards operating there.” It also found “VSS often differ substantially in the requirements they ask producers to comply with, which suggests a high level of fragmentation in terms of requirements.”
The report lists recommended instruments of coordination to combat this fragmentation including; information exchange (listing ISEAL’s Global Sustainability Standards Conference) as “an essential foundation for coordination”, benchmarking and mutual recognition of standards, harmonization and the use of international policy frameworks.
It also highlights recent coordination efforts among major standard-setting organizations, such as “Rainforest Alliance and UTZ merging, in part to reduce multiple farmer audits for coffee, tea and cocoa.”
To read the full report, click below