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Voluntary market standards drive sustainable production and consumption: cooperation between supply chain actors is required for scale-ups

Infographic | 06-07-2017

Enhancing the sustainability of international supply chains is an important target of Dutch foreign policy. The main objective of the Dutch Aid and Trade agenda is, ‘together promoting industry in developing countries, corporate social responsibility and international investment’.There are a multitude of voluntary initiatives that try to achieve sustainable trade in timber and in agricultural resources, such as coffee, cacao, fish, soya and palm oil. Businesses and NGOs together have established platforms for defining market standards for sustainable production and trade, and logos have been introduced to inform consumers, such as Fair Trade and UTZ Certified for coffee and cacao, RTRS (Round Table on Responsible Soy) for soya, and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) for timber. By using these standards to certify their supply chains, companies may contribute to several SDGs, such as eradicating extreme poverty, encouraging sustainable economic development and protecting biodiversity.

From the year 2000 onwards, the market share of sustainably produced commodities has increased considerably in the Netherlands, thanks to the joint efforts and cooperation between companies, sector organisations, and civil society, with the Dutch Government playing a supporting role. Market shares of sustainably produced resources are also significant in other countries, but in production regions the adherence to standards for making production more sustainable is much lower. There are several barriers to scaling up sustainable consumption and production and realising inclusive impacts, such as high costs for producers, a lack of local finance and knowledge, insufficient global demand, and the absence of a level playing field in consuming countries. These barriers call for businesses, NGOs and governments to jointly develop solutions that can support local and global governance levels, and be applied across sectors. Governance arrangements are required at farm, company and landscape levels, in and across production sectors, in trade and distribution, and finally at the global level where both national governments and intergovernmental institutions operate.

Source data

Market shares data are compiled by PBL. Most Dutch market shares are for 2015, with the exception of fish (2014) and soya (2013). Most global shares are for 2013, with the exception of wood (2014) and fish (2015). The following information sources were used:

CBS (2015). Monitor duurzame agro-grondstoffen 2015 [Monitor sustainable agricultural resources 2015 (in Dutch)]. Statistics Netherlands, The Hague. https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/economie/landbouw/monitor-duurzame-agro-grondstoffen-2015.

KNVKT (2015). Meerdere wegen naar duurzame koffie. Rapportage verduurzaming 2015 [Various pathways towards sustainable coffee. Sustainability report (in Dutch)], The Hague, Royal Dutch Coffee and Tea Association (KNVKT).

Lernoud J, Potts J, Sampson G, Voora V, Willer H and Wozniak J. (2015). The State of Sustainable Markets – Statistics and Emerging Trends 2015. ITC International Trade Centre, Geneva.

Logatcheva K. (2015). Monitor Duurzaam Voedsel 2014: consumentenbestedingen [Monitor sustainable Food 2014 (in Dutch)]. LEI Wageningen UR, The Hague, Wageningen.

MSC (2016). Global impacts report 2016. MSC Marine Stewardship Council,  London.

Oldenburger J, Fons Voncken F, Penninkhof J and Van Benthem M. (2016). Duurzaam geproduceerd hout op de Nederlandse markt in 2015 [Sustainably produced wood on the Dutch market in 2015 (in Dutch)]. Stichting Probos, Wageningen.

Task Force Duurzame Palmolie (2015). Duurzame plamolie de norm in 2015 [Sustainable palm oil is the norm in 2015 (in Dutch)]. Final report.

Van Gelder JW, Kuepper B and Vrins M. (2012). Soy barometer 2014, a research report for the Dutch Soy Coalition. Profundo research and advice, Amsterdam.

Van Oorschot M, Kok M, Brons J, Van der Esch S, Janse J, Rood T, Vixseboxse E, Wilting H and Vermeulen WJV. (2014). Sustainability of international Dutch supply chains: Progress, effects and perspectives. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague.

Vermeulen WJV, Uitenboogaart Y, Pesqueira LDL, Metselaar J and Kok MTJ. (2010). Roles of Governments in Multi-Actor Sustainable Supply Chain Governance Sytems and the effectiveness of their interventions. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague.

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