Increasing uptake in emerging economies

Gibson workers, China @ Rainforest Alliance, 2008
Brazil, India and China are dominant forces in global supply chains; poised at the centre of production, trade and consumption in the world’s most important sectors. Sustainability standards can play a vital role in ensuring that economic progress in these sectors is socially and environmentally responsible.

With their influence in nearly every sector in which ISEAL members work, increasing the uptake of credible standards in emerging economies is essential for improving the impacts of sustainability standards. There is an appetite on the part of emerging economy leaders for market-based tools that can incorporate sustainability considerations into core decisions, while also promoting economic prosperity and international competitiveness. Credible standards and certification can support a clear pathway to sustainable development in Brazil, India and China by improving practices at the production level and enabling socially and environmentally responsible choices through the entire supply chain.

ISEAL is leading a landmark project to drive up sustainability standards in emerging economies, focusing on increasing understanding and building strong networks that enable standards to be used effectively in these three countries. The objective of this project is to support the public and private sectors of emerging economies to engage constructively with standards to contribute to sustainability objectives.

Our vision is that in the coming years, international multi-stakeholder standards will be viewed as important vehicles for sustainable development in Brazil, India and China based on shared learning and proven results. We aim to:

  • Increase awareness of market opportunities and development impacts of sustainability standards
  • Increase understanding about how to develop domestic sustainable value chains
  • Support emerging economy leaders to actively participate in global discussions on standards

The ISEAL Credibility Principles are an anchor for generating discussion on sustainability standards. Identifying potential champions and drawing on existing initiatives are also strategies to gain traction for standards.

National flagship projects will become increasingly important in our emerging economies work, particularly to grow support for sustainable value chains locally. For example, in Brazil ISEAL is convening the Rio 2016 Food Vision Working Group to explore how credible standards could be a part of the sourcing commitments of the next Olympic Games. 

Further information


Related information and resources

Jakarta Symposium calls on government and businesses to play a role in implementing sustainable value chains

At the Global Sustainability Standards Symposium in Jakarta, Indonesia, businesses and producers heard how sustainability standards can be a tool to tackle the challenges of declining natural resources and access to global markets.

Salon held in Beijing to explore how mining standards help companies manage supply chains

Mining sector standards and guidelines in China are maturing and gaining prominence as tools for managing stakeholder expectations around sustainable resource management.

Colombia Symposium brings together key players for sustainable industrial development

The Global Sustainability Standards Symposium in Bogotá, Colombia, heard how growing consumer consciousness and widespread benefits for businesses such as access to new markets, supply chain resilience and risk mitigation are driving the uptake of sustainability standards.

Call for Chinese companies to adopt voluntary sustainability standards

A recent article published by chinadialogue says Chinese companies should adopt voluntary sustainability standards to enhance their image and competitiveness.

New report: workers in Minas Gerais region of Brazil on average paid 24% less than living wage

The Global Living Wage Coalition has released a new set of benchmark studies for rural Brazil.

Sustainability Standards continue rapid expansion in China, India and Brazil

ISEAL analysis demonstrates deepening ISEAL member engagement and expansion in Brazil, China and India.

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