Opening remarks by Dorothy Tembo at T4SD Hubs Launch in Nepal (en)
Thank you FNCCI President, Mrs. Bhawani Rana for your warm welcome.
This morning I had the pleasure of launching the EU-funded “Trade Related Assistance Facilitating Increased Trade and Participation in Coffee and Pashmina Value Chains” project, or Nepal TIP for short.
This afternoon, I am very happy to launch the Trade for Sustainable Development Hub in Nepal – also known as the T4SD Hub Nepal. I am delighted that AEC was chosen after a competitive process to be its host. In fact, we will shortly sign the Memorandum of Understanding to make this official! We look very much forward to this partnership.
At the International Trade Centre, we support the business community, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries and LDCs, to succeed in global markets and bring about the best outcomes for inclusive development.
This, putting it succinctly, is what the T4SD Hub Nepal is all about.
As business owners in the audience today, you and your colleagues across Nepal work tirelessly to add value to your products, to take advantage of global value chains, and maximize returns coming back to your companies and to your communities. This value factor drives the activities of both AEC and ITC. Yet, what is it that we value? How do we ensure these values are prioritized and reinforced in a meaningful way…in a way that benefits as many people as possible?
One thing that has become extremely clear over the past decade is that value goes far beyond economic returns. Business as usual is not an option if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 nor in the long term to protect the planet.
Business growth should promote improvements in the wellbeing of workers and communities while maintaining the health of the environment around us. More and more, we are realizing that empowering women and young people unleashes huge economic potential and societal benefits. At the same time, ignoring the cost of climate change is not an option for long-term business growth.
This trend encapsulates not only businesses but also consumers, NGOs, international organizations and governments, all of whom help define and promote development that works for all. The SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the UN Global Compact are just a few of the many initiatives that describe what we value for businesses and society.
But this framework for sustainable development goes beyond agreements and goals. More and more consumers are demanding value-based business, which has translated into companies taking the initiative as the market evolves.
For example, a consumer survey in 2015 found that two-thirds of respondents were willing to pay more for sustainable products and services, which was a 10% increase from the same survey in previous years. A similar survey in 2017 found that nearly three-quarters of consumers would change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. This consumer demand, in turn, helps drive company supply.
Upcoming ITC research, supported by the European Commission, shows that over 85% of retailers in the surveyed EU markets reported an increase in the sales of sustainable products and 92% foresee this trend is likely to continue in the next five years.
These trends are promising. But despite growing consumer demand, business initiatives and government support, we still struggle to implement sustainable and inclusive development at a global level. Moreover, there is much work to do to convince companies that value-based business models can be competitive for large corporations, and small businesses and start-ups alike.
This is where the T4SD Hub Nepal comes in. Funded by the Swedish government to promote and scale sustainable trade in the coffee, tea, and medicinal and aromatic plans sectors in Nepal, the hub will build on the collective expertise of the ITC and AEC as well as all of you in the room today.
With the T4SD Hub Nepal, we aim to address key topics such as voluntary sustainability standards, climate resilience and resource efficiency that are key challenges for SMEs to become and remain competitive in global value chains.
The ultimate objective of the T4SD Hub in Nepal is to strengthen the competitiveness of Nepalese SMEs’ by implementing green or sustainable business practices.
The hub will consolidate tools and services developed by ITC’s Trade for Sustainable Development programme by acting as a one-stop shop offering integrated sustainability solutions for SMEs while helping them to meet buyer requirements.
This approach helps meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 2 on Sustainable Agriculture; SDG 8 on Decent Work, and SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production and SDG 13 on Climate Action.
Now more than ever, the contribution of small business is measured not just in more growth, better jobs and more effective ways to capture value. It is also measured in how sustainable and environmentally responsible it is.
With that, it gives me great pleasure to launch T4SD Hub Nepal and urge all of you to make the best use of its services as Nepal moves forward to a more prosperous and sustainable future.