Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards. Services, approaches, successes

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1 Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards Services, approaches, successes

2 Developing and scaling up of standards Creating socially acceptable working conditions Promoting production methods that are eco-friendly and conserve resources Improving conditions for marketing and boosting added value Facilitating fair trading relationships ADVISORY SERVICES The Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ), and advises the Ministry on the application of standards for greater sustainability. In order to maximise the positive effect of standards in developing countries, we also support standards initiatives and the environment in which they are operating to develop new voluntary standards and expand existing ones. Our advisory services are comprehensive and focus on the elements and processes needed for the development and scaling up of standards. They include creating mechanisms for monitoring, reviewing and lodging complaints; designing procedures to regulate cooperation between all parties, and the coordination of these processes. In some cases we also act as a secretariat for interest groups that are jointly negotiating a standard. EXPERIENCE We harness all the information and expertise we gain with respect to standards development in various industries and sectors continuously for our work. We thus have a broad range of experience, knowledge and instruments to offer. BACKSTOPPING We provide backstopping for newly formulated standards in the first stages of their practical implementation. This involves preliminary testing of the standards, including analysis of how well suited they are for practical application by producers and auditors, whether or not they fit local conditions in developing and emerging countries, and whether they produce the anticipated results. The lessons learned are then fed back into the further refinement of the standards, in cooperation with various partners. Better working conditions for agricultural labourers GRASP stands for GLOBALGAP Risk Assessment on Social Practices. It is a new risk-assessment module looking at working conditions on farms worldwide. It supplements the GLOBALGAP standard already established in the agricultural sector. GRASP uses a checklist to examine compliance with basic criteria, such as employment contracts and minimum wages. This gives customers an insight into the production processes of their suppliers so they can respond better to shortcomings. GRASP was developed under a public-private partnership PPP) involving the standards initiative GLOBALGAP, GTZ and the retailer Coop Switzerland. Currently, implementation is being tested in five developing and emerging countries. Photo Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards

3 Implementing standards Promoting the legal framework Establishing organisational procedures Training staff Making participation simple THE POLITICAL LEVEL An enabling environment is the key to sustainable production. This is why, on behalf of BMZ, we advise governments on formulating national legislation and developing services to support the application of standards. THE BUSINESS LEVEL We advise and assist enterprises and producers in implementing sustainability standards. Training the employees of manufacturing and trading companies, and of suppliers and service providers forms an important element of our work. We devise training courses, and provide advice on assessing and introducing management and internal control systems. In addition, we develop systems for impact monitoring, and put these in place in cooperation with our partners. ON THE GROUND So that as many population groups as possible can benefit from the positive social, ecological and economic effects of standards, the entry bar should not be set too high, particularly for small farms or small concession holders. Appropriate services are established to enable participants such as these to implement standards. We also cooperate with a very wide range of actors, covering a large network. These include standards organisations, private firms, NGOs and trade unions. For example, we cooperate closely with the Forest Stewardship Council FSC) one of the most important standards initiatives for promoting responsible management of the world s forests and their representatives at the national level. In this case much has been achieved at the grass-roots level: so far, some 115,000,000 hectares of the forests worldwide have been FSC-certified. Photo Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards Basic standard for the coffee sector Some 55,000 producers worldwide now cultivate coffee in compliance with the 4C standard. The Common Code for the Coffee Community 4C) Association is a multi-stakeholder initiative. It sets out minimum requirements for ecologically and socially sound coffee growing for the mass market. The 4C model is the first step in an ongoing process of improvement, paving the way for the gradual introduction of more demanding sustainability criteria in coffee production, not least through its broad range of training services. 4C was developed by representatives of the coffee sector and civil society in producer and consumer countries. GTZ set up the secretariat for the initiative. What was once a PPP project, financed by BMZ, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO) and the private sector, has now evolved into the independent 4C Association, which continues to be advised by GTZ.

4 Creating instruments Promoting acceptance Improving results Networking knowledge and people Stimulating new developments BROAD-REACHING With our instruments, on behalf of BMZ and other ministries, we foster the participation of a large number of actors in standards systems. Prerequisites for this include comprehensive information on standards and their impact as well as the offering of professional services. We promote the accreditation and qualification of auditors and certifiers. We collaborate on harmonising standards, thereby opening up additional markets for producers. For example, coffee growers who produce according to the standard of the Rainforest Alliance can now market their coffee beans in the 4C system as well, without additional certification costs. INNOVATIVE Innovative concepts facilitate the adaptation of standards to current needs. We adopt innovations, develop them further and test them. One example of this was the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural production, which we tested in Thailand and Mozambique. Our worldwide networking gives us access to the knowledge and the different perspectives of various actors from industry, civil society and politics. This leads to the emergence of innovative approaches that we apply, for example, by participating in an advisory capacity in dialogue forums or round tables, or by acting as a secretariat. STIMULATING More and more governments are promoting standards by creating national incentives for compliance. Fundamental instruments are required in this context. We are developing an information system for BMZ, which will help public procurement offices in Germany to consider sustainability criteria when making purchasing decisions. For the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety BMU), we are now devising a recognition mechanism for certification systems which shall ensure that biomass used for electricity generation in Germany is produced sustainably. Round Table Codes of Conduct The Round Table Codes of Conduct, for which GTZ provides the secretariat, has long since broadened its scope of activity beyond voluntary commitments by companies. Its members include private sector actors, such as companies and industrial associations, NGOs, trade unions and various German federal ministries. The Round Table promotes implementation of voluntary social standards in developing countries through information, dialogue and joint pilot projects. It is also helping to develop a national corporate social responsibility strategy in Germany. Photo GTZ-Archive

5 Shaping globalisation sustainably A third of total global trade in goods is accounted for by products from developing and emerging countries. In recent years their share of world trade has risen steadily, with an increase of nearly a third between 1996 and 2006 alone. Over the last few decades, trade has been an important driver of globalisation. However, 'Growth and Responsibility' to use the motto of the German G8 presidency in 2007 must go hand in hand. Only then can sustainable growth, social issues and environmental protection be harmonised in such a way that future generations can expect to enjoy at least the same quality of life that we do today. At the G8 Summit in L Aquila in 2009, it was stressed once again that fair trading relations are a vital prerequisite for improving the situation of people in developing countries. They are an essential factor in the fight against poverty, which German development policy is committed to pursue as part of the Millennium Development Goals MDGs). International and national regulatory systems offer a framework for making globalisation fairer and more eco-friendly. However, they are often insufficiently enforced or do not adequately address social and ecological factors. Private companies and civil society groups, politicians and service providers have all contributed to the development of sustainability standards over the last two decades so that global trade can promote growth and reduce poverty in developing countries in the long term. This is making production more acceptable in social and ecological terms; it is creating economically viable conditions, and shaping trade in a successful and transparent fashion. The experience of recent years has shown that the development and implementation of sustainability standards and the promotion of corresponding initiatives help to ensure that economic growth does not come at the expense of the environment and social justice. In this way, resources are being secured sustainably for the future, and poverty is being reduced. Photos Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards

6 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GTZ) GmbH German Technical Cooperation Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg Eschborn, Germany T F E I Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards Responsible: Carsten Schmitz-Hoffmann E I Contact person at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development: Petra Hippmann, Division 315 T Text: Beate Wörner Design: Iris Christmann Print: Lokaydruck

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