Eco - labels and voluntary sustainability standards that uphold not just the quality but also the sustainability of products from developing countries can be the key to unlocking new markets, a United Nations report said on Monday.
Ecolabelling is a voluntary method of environmental performance certification and labelling practised around the world.
An ecolabel identifies products or services proven environmentally preferable overall, within a specific product or service category.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the report was launched at the International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards here.
The convention has been organised by the Quality Council of India (QCI) and the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards on September 17 ans 18.
"Today, there are almost 500 eco - labels in 199 countries and 25 industrial sectors, " UNCTAD Deputy Secretary General Isabelle Durant said in a statement.
"With broad uptake, standards can move industries towards improved social, environmental and economic performance.
Standards translate the broad concept of sustainability into specific and concrete measures for companies and their suppliers and influence consumption decisions of the consumers, " she said.
The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a knowledge - sharing and convening platform backed by UNCTAD, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, International Trade Centre, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
The platform is designed to analyse voluntary sustainability standards and disseminate information about them even as national multi - stakeholder platforms for VSS have been developed in different emerging economies.
India established the first national platform in 2016 with UNFSS support, with Brazil and China following suit.
"Currently, several other countries are also exploring the possibilities to develop their national platforms, " the statement said.
These platforms aid dialogue between public and private stakeholders on "how to pro - actively use VSS", it added.