Xinhua Sun, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of China to WTO
Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) are market-based standards relating to sustainability metrics, e.g. respect for human rights, workers' safety, and environmental impacts, among others. In recent years, the number of VSS in international trade has grown rapidly. As VSS are largely managed by NGOs or businesses, there is growing concern in regards to accountability for the impact of VSS on the environment and the lives of actors in the value chain. Moreover, VSS are generally left outside of trade agreements.
At this session, the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) – a knowledge-sharing platform jointly established by five UN agencies - presents its second flagship report. The report focuses on the potential role of government in ensuring that VSS effectively contribute to sustainable development across social, economic and environmental dimensions. The session will discuss ways in which the government and the private sector could interact to drive inclusive and sustainable trade growth through VSS, and thereby present concrete pathways for governmental and industry decision makers to enhance the efficacy of VSS.