Markets working to support sustainable development

Voluntary agreements and partnerships

International Cocoa Initiative

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) is a multi-stakeholder partnership between cocoa companies, labour unions and NGOs with the mission ‘to oversee and sustain efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and forced labour in the growing and processing of cocoa beans and their derivative products’.

It has adopted a programme that:

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Roundtable for a Sustainable Cocoa Economy

The Roundtable for a Sustainable Cocoa Economy (RSCE) ‘is an initiative for dialogue and sustainability amongst all stakeholders in the cocoa economy.' Members of the RSCE include national members of the ICCO and representatives from industry and civil society.

Members work together to set and implement objectives that are designed to make the cocoa industry sustainable. The objectives are: 

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The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

Members of Ethical Trading Intiative (EITI) have to adopt the Base Code for ethical trading and sign up to the Principles of Implementation – these require a company to demonstrate its commitment to ethical trade, to integrate ethical trade into core business activities and drive year-on-year improvements. In addition they should support suppliers through training and capacity building and should report on their activities openly and accurately.

The ETI Base Code Principles are that:

The EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Process in Developing Countries

As part of the FLEGT process, the EU establishes bilateral Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with developing countries to guarantee that wood exported to the EU is legal. In addition, the VPA supports partner countries in improving their own regulation and forest governance procedures.

The VPAs includes 3 main elements: 

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Better Cotton Standard System

The Better Cotton Standard System was designed by the Better Cotton Intiative (BCI) to entrench sustainable development goals within the global cotton industry, to encourage good practice and to establish better cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

The Standard System defines better cotton through a set of production principles and criteria - these say that better cotton is produced by farmers who:

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United Nations Global Compact

The UN Global Compact  (GC) was launched in July 2000 and is a commitment by companies to incorporating environment and development principles within their business structures. Open to any company, The UN Global Compact is a ‘practical framework for the development, implementation, and disclosure of sustainability policies and practices’.

Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) promotes the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through what the RSPO calls “credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders”.

The RSPO is a forum for discussion of palm oil sustainability, in addition it has produced a set of standards for RSPO certified palm oil. Members wishing to sell RSPO certified palm oil must comply with the production and supply chain standards detailed below. Certification is by an independent third party auditor.

Production Standards*   

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