Trade for Sustainable Development Forum to spotlight supply chain sustainability

30 September 2015
ITC News

Only days after the international community adopted an ambitious set of Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the International Trade Centre is bringing together leaders from business, standards organizations, governments, and civil society to look at how supply chains, particularly for food, can be made more sustainable.

ITC’s second annual Trade for Sustainable Development Forum, from 1-2 October in Geneva, will look at innovative solutions to make food and agricultural supply chains more sustainable. It will explore challenges that different supply chain players still need to overcome, and consider how governments can build a more supportive policy environment. These issues are at the heart of Goal 2 of the United Nations system’s new post-2015 development agenda, which calls for ending hunger, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

The event, which is held under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization’s annual Public Forum, will highlight how technology can be leveraged to connect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sustainable supply chains, so as to spur broad-based job growth while improving environmental and social performance.

Supply chain traceability from farm to table will figure prominently in the discussions. The new Blue Number Initiative, recently launched by ITC in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact and GS1, the non-profit global organization for supply chain standards, provides farmers and agri-businesses anywhere in the world with a unique identification number – a Blue Number. The online network will enable farms to enhance their visibility and connect to potential customers and suppliers. Importantly, it will help farmers better understand how to improve their sustainability performance, and help governments identify where best to target aid that will boost developing country trade.

The Forum will also serve as an occasion to take stock of the Trade for Sustainable Development Principles, which emphasize sustainability, transparency, accessibility, and alignment with the UN’s development agenda. Launched a year ago by ITC, the initiative helps stakeholders from across the supply chain to find common ground on sustainability standards. Thus far, over 40 companies, NGOs, standards bodies and business groups have signed on to the principles. Representatives from some of the signatories will share their experiences in implementing the principles.

The Forum will close with experts and senior policymakers from Europe, North America and China looking ahead at the fast-changing landscape of sustainability initiatives, and sharing their views on interventions would yield the maximum impact over the next year.

Both days of the event will be webcast live at

The programme and further information is available at