Press releases

Improved Standards Map allows users to compare sustainability standards and benchmark their performance

20 February 2014
ITC News
ITC market intelligence tool enhances SME production quality

Geneva) – Voluntary sustainability standards addressing issues related to environmental quality, social equity and trade practices have grown exponentially over the past decade. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face challenges in keeping track of standards and meeting buyers’ sustainability requirements.

To address this challenge, the International Trade Centre (ITC) today launched the new Standards Map, a market intelligence tool that allows users to compare voluntary standards side-by-side and to produce personalized reports that their companies can use to make better-informed decisions about certification and involvement in sustainable production and trade.

‘This tool provides exporters and producers with a way to navigate the constantly moving landscape of sustainability standards at a time when supply chains are growing increasingly complex,’ said ITC Executive Director Arancha González. ‘Standards Map assists SMEs in building a roadmap to incorporate sustainability requirements demanded by international buyers.’

Trade support institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises, exporters, policymakers, producers and researchers can use Standards Map 2.0 to extract up-to-date information on more than 130 standards covering 80 sectors in 180 countries, as well as their requirements and scope of operations.

For example, a representative of a Ugandan coffee farmers’ association looking to export to Spain can use this tool to search standards by product (coffee) and country (Uganda to Spain). The search would reveal that there are 16 standards involved in that value chain, such as the European Union Organic Farming standard and those by Fairtrade International and the Rainforest Alliance.

The user can then find summary reviews for each of the standards, as well as information about costs, scope, assurance, steps required to join an initiative and other information. Also available are charts and graphs that show the connection between a standard and different ‘hotspots’: environment, social, economic, quality and ethics.

At the end of a user’s analysis, there is the option to generate a customized sustainability diagnostic report, which serves as a company’s roadmap towards sustainable production and trade.

Watch a video for an overview of the functions available on Standards Map 2.0. Standards Map is part of ITC’s web-based Market Analysis Tools. For more information, email standardsmap [at] or call +41 22 730 03 99.

Standards Map was launched as part of ITC’s partnership-based programme called Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD). The main objective of the programme is to strengthen the capacity of producers, exporters, policymakers, and private and public buyers to participate in more sustainable production and trade.

T4SD works with organizations such as the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Consumer Goods Forum and AIM-PROGRESS. These partnerships involve benchmarking of voluntary standards and the development of platforms that make companies’ sustainable sourcing strategies more efficient. The programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Humanist Institute for Development Co-operation, the European Commission and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.

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