Case studies | Governments and private sustainability standards

Case studies | Governments and private sustainability standards

In the context of the ambitious environmental, social and economic targets within the Sustainable Development Goals, new partnerships are emerging which aim to scale-up sustainable production, trade and consumption.

This ISEAL case study series illustrates how private standards systems and governments are working together to incentivise more sustainable and responsible supply chains which in turn create better sustainability outcomes in different countries and industries. Read more in our ISEAL blog.

To learn more about the relation between public policies and private standards, please contact Norma Tregurtha, Director Policy and Outreach at ISEAL, on

Learn how a partnership between the government of the world’s largest coffee producing state – Minas Gerais – and the world’s largest voluntary standard for coffee, UTZ Certified, enables producers access to high-value markets while scaling-up more sustainable production practices.

The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) aims to promote the use of sustainably produced biofuels though the use of private standards and certification programmes. This case-study explains how the policy – which is currently under revision – needs to do more to distinguish between low-bar standards and more comprehensive, credible standards – which is needed to foster a ‘race to the top’ in more sustainable biofuel production. 

In Mozambique, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has assisted the country’s policy-makers in adjusting its rules for cotton concessions to achieve higher yields while improving on sustainability aspects. In addition to improved extension services, the collaboration with BCI will allow Mozambican producers to meet the rapidly growing market demand for more responsible cotton. 

Learn how the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and a coalition of stakeholders enabled Suriname’s seabob fishery to become the first MSC certified shrimp fishery in the tropics. The certification process also led to wider improvements in fisheries management, with the Suriname government investing in scientific stock assessments, formal management plans and monitoring of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.  

To tackle deforestation, the Peruvian government is promoting sustainable forest management by incentivising certification through reductions in yearly lease payments on concessions. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification has rapidly grown to complement this government regulation, leading to positive impacts on the environment, community relations, and the rights of indigenous peoples.