Private standards project

As a development agency with a clear mandate to provide technical assistance in the area of industrial development and trade capacity building, UNIDO initiated a research project in 2008 to identify the obstacles faced by developing country suppliers and exporters in dealing with private standards.

A first Expert Group Meeting was held in Vienna in May 2008 to refine the approach and identify the country/sector case studies to be undertaken. Subsequently, UNIDO researchers undertook exporters surveys in Turkey (textiles and apparel), India (leather and footwear) and Brazil (furniture), followed by in-depth interviews with selected exporters and buyers to identify, (i) the list of most frequently demanded standards, (ii) the implications arising from implementation of private standards in terms of financial and economic/social costs and benefits and market access. In addition, analysis was carried out on mapping out the basic components of the most commonly cited standards from the surveys. Read the Expert Group Meeting report.

A workshop was held in Vienna on 6 July 2010 to bring together representatives from exporters associations, buyers and sellers in international textile, leather and furniture value chains as well as other stakeholders such as certification companies, NGOs and academia to discuss the draft Guide to Private Standards and to provide expert feedback on the accuracy and usefulness of the information contained therein. Read the aide memoire of the workshop.

The key output of the project is a practical guide to private standards for exporters and sectoral associations in developing countries. The Guide is available in English, Spanish and French. Currently, UNIDO is working with CBI, Netherlands to develop training modules for capacity building programmes in developing countries, based on the research conducted in developing the Guide.