Sustainability

Sustainability is a major preoccupation of commodity trading companies. In an industry built around truthworthy and long-lasting business relationships, sustainable development is much more than a concept. Rather, it stands for what is put into practice every day on the ground.

As is to be expected for a industry as diverse as the global commodity trading industry, activity- or commodity-specific best practices have been developed.

For traders, the sustainability imperative can be driven by different factors. While in mining and extractive industries an important challenge is respect for the surrounding environment, in the case of agricultural commodities sustainability is most often associated with the sharing of improved farming or processing techniques. For high-demand products such as specialty coffee or cocao, sourcing quality implies working hand in hand with local producers and striving to establish a win-win-win situation for producers, traders and consumers alike.

Traders, fair trade enablers

Commodity trading companies play a vital role in bridging market gaps and structuring the production chain. The strong growth in demand for fair trade agricultural products in recent years meant that physical trading firms were able to work with certification bodies, improving living conditions for producers and enabling them to tap into growth markets with higher margins.

5 concrete examples of industry best practices

FDFA and SECO Publish Guidance on Implementing the UNGPs

STSA warmly welcomes the Guidance for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights in Commodity Trading published on 28 November 2018. This is an important step in a dialogue, started in 2013, between commodity trading companies, STSA, representatives of civil society and federal and cantonal authorities. With practical examples, the Guidance illustrates the expectations of the UNGPs and thus also meets an important demand of companies.

Download the guidance

The Swiss Trading & Shipping Association is a non-profit, non-political Swiss association representing companies active in commodity trading and shipping activities, trade finance and related services.

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