Workshop on Enhancing Competitiveness through Voluntary Sustainability Standards: Key Considerations for Caribbean Cocoa, Coffee and Tea Producers

12 - 13 April 2023

*Note: This workshop is applicable for participants in the CARICOM region only

The Workshop

The design and execution of the workshop is to strengthen Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the CARICOM region understanding and incorporation of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) within the production and manufacturing process, inclusive of packaging and labelling standards, to bolster competitiveness and innovation for market entry and distribution within the market of the European Union under the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

• Deepen the understanding of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) for the coffee, cocoa and herbal teas sectors and their market potential for CARIFORUM products in the EU market.

• Support regional private and public sector through enhancing knowledge and capacity on the opportunities and challenges of market access to the EU.

• Support the use of sustainable production methods and practices amongst CARIFORUM private sector to enhance export potential to the EU market.


The CARIFORUM-EU EPA was signed in October 2008 and entered into provisional application between both parties on 29 December 2008.1 The EPA aims to promote trade and investment between the two groupings – and as a result to enhance sustainable growth, employment and development. The Agreement seeks to enhance regional integration and to increase CARIFORUM States participation in world trade, in order to share in the opportunities stemming from globalisation. Despite the market-opportunities made available through the CARIFORUM-EU EPA and the ability of CARIFORUM firms across have market access challenges

While there are several contributing factors preventing these firms from capitalizing on the benefits available under the EPA, a primary challenge is the insufficient knowledge of European import regulations, specifically non-tariff measures (NTMs) inclusive of certification schemes, as well as EU consumer demand and trends. Against this backdrop, the partners to the EPA recognise that development cooperation is a crucial element to assist in building institutional and productive capacity. In this regard, this initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of Micro-Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to understand and adopt Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) to enhance market entry for CARIFORUM products.

Voluntary sustainability standards: Feasibility study
(UNCTAD/DITC/TAB/2021/1) -  19 Apr 2021
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, The Caribbean Export Development Agency, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ)

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Siti Rubiah Lambert

Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba