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A new report “Linking Voluntary Standards to the Sustainable Development Goals” sheds light on how businesses can become more sustainable. The report was officially presented today at the Geneva Trade Week. UvA political scientist Philip Schleifer is one of the lead authors of the report.

The United Nations previously called on the private sector to contribute more strongly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. But how might they do that? One way is through ‘voluntary sustainability standards’. There are almost 300 of such voluntary standards operating in all kinds of industries and countries that help govern issues in global supply chains. However, these voluntary standards have mostly been overlooked in the discussion on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report therefore helps decision makers to decide on which voluntary sustainability standards to pursue in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The researchers have mapped and coded ‘areas of interlinkage’ between the voluntary standards and the SDGs.

By exploring these questions, the report helps decision makers in the public and private sectors to better understand where voluntary standards are best placed to make contributions to the SDGs.

Full report

The report is a joint product of the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the German Development Institute, the European University Institute, and the UvA. 

Inquiries and contact information

Dr. P. (Philip) Schleifer

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group: Political Economy and Transnational Governance