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Background Papers

There has been a rapid expansion in the development of voluntary sustainability standards over the past decade. These standards address key sustainability issues for commodity supply chains. As the demand for and supply of sustainable markets grow, compliance with voluntary sustainability standards is increasingly becoming a condition for market entry. Major growth in the production and sales of certified/verified agricultural products have been fuelled by private sector commitments to green their supply chains. However, when looking at the distribution of supply, there is a trend toward more economically endowed economies excelling in supply of standard compliant products, with the least developed countries, particularly in Africa, left behind. Emerging economies need to be able to more effectively participate in production and supply of compliant products in order to achieve economic sustainability. There is, therefore, an urgent need for increased technical assistance and access to finance for LDCs particularly in sub-Sahara Africa.


  • Chris Wunderlich, Coordinator, Sustainable Commodity Assistance Network (SCAN); UNFSS Coordinator
  • Frank Grothaus, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • David Cuming, Smallholders’ Access to Markets for Certified Sustainable Products (SAMCERT)
  • Ragnar Wetterblad, FAST (Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade)