The Procurement for Development Forum, co-convened by Chatham House and the Department for International Development (DFID), aims to provide a setting for leading UK retailers, food importers and food processors to discuss ways in which to improve ethical sourcing practices and impact on development.
This meeting, held at Chatham House on 15 July 2010, was designed to achieve a deeper understanding of the impacts and effectiveness of various voluntary certification systems and private retailer standards on sustainable development.
With varying degrees of success, many such standards-based initiatives are improving access to markets, strengthening trade relationships and/or earning higher prices for specialty products. Since buyers generally require compliance with multiple standards, however, the costs associated with implementation can be prohibitive for some producers-especially smallholders and unaffiliated producers. In order to improve effectiveness and alleviate cost pressures on producers, greater collaboration is needed at the pre-competitive level among stakeholders throughout the supply chain. This may involve mainstream training of best practices across the voluntary system and the development of value chain models that are more inclusive and also facilitate smallholder access.