VSS are advanced market based strategies to endorse sustainable production
and business practices. VSS systems are the proposals from non-government organisations
that aim to push the sustainable production and consumption by generating the
market demands for sustainable products and also a supply to meet those
demands. These approaches help buyers (both consumers and businesses) in
recognising the sustainably-made products and they also lead producers, mine
and tourism operators, forest managers, and others in selecting sustainable practices.
VSS systems are a very significant market instrument for driving
sustainability, and the world of standards is increasingly revolutionising and progressing.
In any sustainable standard system present in an industry, there
is always a standard that describes the good social and environmental practices
or performances. However, that standard
alone would not be enough to build a market for sustainable products. The market
mechanism behind standards depends 4 other significant factors of a system which
are assurance, labels & claims, traceability ad capacity building. Talking
about the traceability here, it’s a system that traces the ‘chain of custody’
of products, from where the products were produced, through the complete supply
chain to give proof of the source of the product that has a label or a claim. VSS
systems feed incentives for various actors to upkeep and apply more sustainable
practices. Consumers trust on these standard systems to recognise products that
were made using such practices which they value and willing to back up. For validation of sustainability claims, most
of the standard systems gets engaged itself in some form of traceability, which
sometimes also termed as ‘chain of custody’. The most strictly controlled form
of traceability is the ‘Identity preservations’, but this might need a lot of
work as it needs products to be 100% traceable and that too from certified origins.
The selection of a traceability system can have significant use for total
functioning and impact of the standard system, for example; RED (Renewable
Energies Directive) of EU commission. RED has made that mass balance approach
to traceability is tolerable for their necessities to show trustworthy sourcing
of biofuels but specific stakeholders are arguing that this could lead to false
claiming to be made. For that, online traceability is perceived a good replacement
to traceability systems and it would also reduce on-site audit time and cost.