A new report from IISD’s State of Sustainability Initiatives examines how voluntary standards can help protect biodiversity. It found that while the market for certified products is booming – nearly $300 billion for the top 10 commodities and 52.5 billion for agricultural products in 2015 – standards remain a negligible force across global agricultural production. “If voluntary standards are to play a major role in reducing the impacts of agriculture on biodiversity loss, they will have to, at a minimum, establish a significant presence among other crops—most notably, staple crops such as wheat, maize and rice,” said study author Jason Potts, a senior associate at IISD.
“The good news is that we can build political will to address biodiversity loss,” Potts added. “Parties of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are leading efforts to identify concrete solutions and immediate actions to achieve their biological diversity targets.”
The study builds upon the CBD’s Biodiversity Impact Indicators for Commodity Production (BIICP), which identifies a core set of biodiversity indicators that can help governments and the agricultural industry understand how best to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity. The CBD Secretariat contributed to the development of the report.
“Voluntary sustainability standards are an important element of the necessary policy mix to redirect funding towards sustainable production practices and reducing biodiversity loss,” said Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary, CBD. “This report makes an important contribution by providing a better understanding of the role and potential of different voluntary sustainability standards, and what policy-makers can do to promote their wider application and their more robust integration into overall policy frameworks.”