How can voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to poverty reduction for smallholder farmers?

IISD’s State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) Review: Standards and Poverty Reduction presents how 13 widely adopted voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to the three dimensions of poverty reduction: access to resources; opportunities and choice; and power and voice.

The findings suggest that VSS compliance can contribute to poverty alleviation through supporting better practices among farmers, enhancing producer knowledge, and fostering farmers’ capacity to grow higher-quality and more sustainable products. In turn, this can bring farmers better product prices and incomes, and increase social capital through stronger producer organizations. Importantly, key conditions need to be in place to enable smallholder farmers to access markets for VSS-compliant products.

The related recommendations include:

• Establishing a living income reference for farmers
• Supporting smallholder access to productive and sustainable land
• Improving farmers’ VSS knowledge and implementation
• Stimulating demand for sustainable products.
• Enhancing support for business and market diversification
• Improving assurance, monitoring, and learning systems
• Systematically including farmers in VSS decision making
• Adopting a gender-equality approach.

In case you want to read the full report on IISD website click here.