Sustainability Standards A NEW DEAL TO BUILD FORWARD BETTER
SUSTAINABILITY: PARADIGM FOR SOCIETY’S FUTURE It has become commonplace to say that sustainability has moved from niche to mainstream. This is a response to greater public awareness of social and environmental issues, the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals and globalization interconnecting our value chains and resources. Political and economic challenges remain, but the sense of urgency and the commitment of a range of actors offer the opportunity to ‘build forward better’. Various sustainability tools and initiatives have emerged. These can be found in the International Trade Centre (ITC) Standards Map.
Growing public concerns Climate change and poor working conditions in developing countries are now ‘front-page’ topics, no longer just concerns addressed by non-governmental organization (NGOs) and understood by a narrow market segment of ‘conscious consumers’. When it comes to a place on the global agenda, social and environmental sustainability is now a ‘top of mind’ issue for consumers, multinationals and policymakers. Google searches for sustainability-related terms such as ‘CO2 compensation’, ‘atmosfair’ or ‘MyClimate’ quadrupled in 2019, compared to previous years.
Momentum has been building, especially in the past decade, for more concerted action on sustainability. A realization is emerging that more coordinated efforts are needed to change the dynamic and move the debate forward. Time is running out; a new urgency has taken hold.