Voluntary sustainability standards, trade and sustainable development

The demand for sustainable products in developing countries like Brazil, China and India has grown even faster than in developed-country markets. Standards that uphold not just the quality but the sustainability of products from developing countries can be the key to unlocking new markets, according to a new United Nations report. The report, Voluntary Sustainability Standards, Trade and Sustainable Development, shows that when sectors like agriculture commit to proven standards regimes that build confidence in the sustainability of, say, cocoa from Brazil, the effect can be both direct and indirect. The direct impact is that producers can produce more appealing products that meet consumers’ demands tied to sustainability, the report says. The quality of products will also improve, given the stringent compliance of international standards.

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