Press releases

ITC, OECD to prioritize use of standards to build supply chain resilience

25 August 2023
ITC News

(Jaipur/Geneva) On the sidelines of the G20 Trade Ministers Meeting in Jaipur, India, the OECD and the UN small business agency – the International Trade Centre (ITC) – signed a memorandum of understanding to make global supply chains more sustainable using standards, data and tools to promote responsible business conduct.

Responsible business conduct, according to the OECD, is the globally recognized concept that all businesses avoid and address negative impacts of their operations, while contributing to sustainable development in the countries where they operate.

Aligning to global guidelines on responsible business conduct helps businesses to build resilience along their supply chains. For example, during the pandemic, companies supported their suppliers by accelerating payments to solve immediate cash-flow issues, enabling them to continue operating. OECD countries produce half of global GDP and represent over 60% of global trade, so if businesses in these countries collectively moved to strengthen their supply chains, the impact would be positive and tangible.

The ITC-OECD memorandum of understanding highlights the need to build resilient, sustainable and inclusive global supply chains, with the active involvement of small businesses, women and indigenous peoples. Small businesses make up 90% of companies worldwide and play a big role as suppliers along global supply chains. Women-owned businesses that export tend to earn more, pay more, employ more people and be more productive than firms that operate only domestically. Involving indigenous peoples is key to promoting sustainable trade, as they protect 80% of global biodiversity.

Through the partnership, the organizations will share their expertise and expand the reach of their existing technical and sector programmes, while classifying sustainability initiatives and analysing the landscape of sustainability initiatives, drawing on the ITC Standards Map.

ITC and the OECD will also develop tools to promote implementation of responsible business conduct along supply chains.