Remarks by the Executive Director at the United Nations Global Compact High-Level Meeting
Remarks by the ITC Executive Director at the United Nations Global Compact High-Level Meeting
‘Partnerships to achieve global food security for post-2015 development’
New York, 22 September 2014
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Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.
I am really pleased that Georg has invited me here today to join you in celebrating the launch of the Food and Agriculture Business Principles. As a member of the FAB Core Advisory Group, the International Trade Centre has closely worked with the Global Compact over the past two years towards the development of the Principles and we congratulate the Global Compact today on this significant achievement.
The Food and Agriculture Business Principles are framed as desired outcomes and actions for companies to align with the UN goals articulated at Rio+20 and for consideration in the post-2015 discourse.
There is also a clear link between these principles and the focus which ITC has on promoting sustainable supply chains as a means to help developing country small and medium enterprises (SMEs) add value to their products and services. They have particular relevance – and complementarity – to the work we at ITC are doing in the area of sustainable trade.
This session focuses on the conditions that enable the implementation of more responsible and sustainable strategies. Let me briefly outline how the International Trade Centre intends to contribute to this goal.
Part of the answer lies in fostering public-private dialogues to advance business environments which embed sustainability at its core. Similarly such dialogues are essential to promote and share responsible business practices. This is precisely what the ITC encourages when bringing all stakeholders around the table to craft export development strategies.
Sustainability standards are also an important avenue to promote responsible food and agriculture practices. This is why the International Trade Centre has heavily invested in this area. We have built the publicly available Standards Map platform, which is at the core of our Trade for Sustainable Development Programme. The platform references and analyses close to 150 sustainability standards covering over 80 product and service sectors, including agricultural products relevant to the FABs. In addition to sustainability standards, the scope of the platform extends to national standards, codes of conduct and international frameworks and guidelines such as IFC Performance Standards and ILO conventions.
Standards Map is a resource for private companies, from large-scale multinationals to small producers and cooperatives, brands, traders and retailers to help them navigate their journey to achieve their corporate sustainability goals, namely via adoption of credible standards, codes and principles.
The Standards Map platform is used by SMEs in developing countries to chart their roadmap to sustainability. SMEs can perform a self-assessment against a standard of their choosing directly in Standards Map and monitor their progress over time.
I believe that ITC and Global Compact, together with other partners, can work together in three main ways to promote the adoption and ultimate goals of the Food and Agriculture Business Principles. This is the commitment that ITC takes with all of you.
First, we can include these principles in Standards Map so that companies can cross-reference the FAB principles in a neutral and decision-friendly way.
Second, we can develop with Global Compact a customized self-assessment module for these principles that leverage the existing technology in Standards Map, so that businesses from all segments of the food and agriculture supply chain can diagnose, track, monitor and share their sustainability achievements based on what the Principles express.
Third, ITC, the Global Compact and other partners can leverage their respective networks and connect with thousands of small farmers and SME producers, providing these groups a unique farm identifier that can be used to chart their journey towards improved sustainability and link them with buyers who recognize and support the aims of the FABs.
I believe that these joint activities are not only practical steps that we can take together towards more sustainable trade and production but also represent a concrete and impactful partnership between our organizations in a complementary way to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.