Sustainable markets blogs

126 - 150 of 164 blog posts
  • Suzanne Fisher's picture

    Leading scientists and experts urge leaders to move beyond GDP and value nature

    Suzanne Fisher 21 February 2012

    A group of the world’s leading scientists and experts in sustainable development – and all past winners of the Blue Planet Prize – call

  • Indonesia: Reshaping the debate on small-scale farmers

    Bishwadeep Ghose 17 February 2012

  • A farmer tending his sunflowers in Kenya. Credit: Abbi Buxton

    A day in the life of a commercial consultant

    William Van Bragt 14 February 2012

    Find out how IIED, a Kenyan flower business and a consultant get flowers grown by smallholder Kenyan farmers onto the shelves of a UK supermarket.

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    Top ten highlights from 2011

    Camilla Toulmin 22 December 2011

    December is traditionally the month of 'top 10s'. Every year, as journalists, bloggers, commentators and organisations across the world reflect on the year that's gone, the online world is flooded by lists highlighting the highs and lows. Search in Google and you'll instantly have to hand more than 150 million top 10 lists for 2011.

  • Earth Summit 2012: Crucial opportunity that needs broader buy-in

    Camilla Toulmin 20 December 2011

    As shoppers in New York surged through streets and avenues bedecked with festive offerings, delegates from around the world were summoning up the collective will to make something of the crucial opportunity presented by the Earth Summit in Rio

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    A tale of two cities: Durban and Brussels

    Camilla Toulmin 13 December 2011

    The media has been telling a tale of two crises: they are complex, interconnected and have much in common. The common threads include richer countries living beyond their means and racking up high levels of financial and ecological debt over several decades leading to an economic and financial crisis. In Europe, we are due for a substantial adjustment in living standards, to get back into balance. Analysts reckon that in the UK, families will only regain their 2002 incomes by 2016 – and that’s if all goes to plan.

  • Sian Lewis's picture

    Fair trade: still centred on smallholders?

    Sian Lewis 27 June 2011

    To what extent do approaches such as fair trade, corporate social responsibility and inclusive business models allow the private sector to meet commercial objectives while also reducing poverty and empowering small-scale farmers? This was the question posed at the latest in a series of IIED and Hivos ‘provocations’ held at the European Parliament in Brussels last week (22 June).

  • Does the development community focus too strongly on smallholders? (Credit: Flickr/United Nations Photo)

    Fast track out of poverty: farm labour or smallholder?

    Sian Lewis 2 June 2011

    When IIED and Hivos launched their ‘provocation’ seminars late

  • Sian Lewis's picture

    NGOs: friend or foe to markets for the poor?

    Sian Lewis 6 April 2011

    The latest ‘provocation’ seminar from IIED and Hivos, held in Paris last week (30 March), began by asking who are the contents and discontents of development approaches to make markets work for the

  • Abbi Buxton's picture

    Fairtrade and formalisation for small-scale miners

    Abbi Buxton 18 February 2011

    The world's first Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is launched in the UK to help formalise the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector. But is formalisation the best way forward?

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    Carbon and labels: an unhappy marriage?

    Emma Blackmore 11 January 2011

    Agriculture is just one of the sectors in which carbon labelling — the labelling of a product to show how much carbon (and other greenhouse gases) have been emitted during its ‘lifecycle’ — is being used to show how individual products contribute to climate change. The logic behind applying carbon labels to agriculture seems sound enough: agriculture accounts for 10 to 12 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and produces much of the food we eat and the products we buy. Finding a way to tell consumers how much individual agricultural products contribute to this should encourage them to choose those products with the lowest carbon footprint and help make agriculture more sustainable. But the truth is that it is very difficult to provide accurate carbon labels for agricultural products. And carbon labelling can impact farmers in the developing world in ways that don’t support development.

  • Adrian Fenton's picture

    The misleading metrics of microcredit

    Adrian Fenton 21 December 2010

    Microcredit – the distribution of small loans to low-income sections of society — is one of the more fashionable tools to appear on the international development scene in recent years.

  • Certification: into the wild.

    David Hebditch 10 December 2010

    Collection and trade of wild products is increasing but concerns surround its current and future sustainability. The FairWild standard for wild collection seeks to address such issues by promoting sustainable practices and rewarding collectors with increased returns through a certification process. Standards and certification are increasingly being applied to new environments; but as discussed before on Due South, their suitability needs to be considered in light of the contexts in which they are applied. Traditionally certification has been applied to privately owned areas with enforceable property rights, but it is relatively untested in wild collection settings, which have their own unique challenges.

    Could FairWild provide the sustainable answer?

  • Sourcing gender

    Anoushka Boodhna 17 November 2010

    Designing business models that reach and benefit poor women working in agriculture can be a challenge for businesses.

    But is that surprising?

  • Ben Garside's picture

    RIP BoP?

    Ben Garside 19 September 2010

    Last month C Prahalad, co-author of the high profile Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) approach died. What of his legacy in big business realising the untapped fortune at the ‘bottom’ - the poorest 4 billion?

  • Kate Lewis's picture

    Volunteer tourism defies recession but is this positive news for the South?

    Kate Lewis 19 August 2010

    Despite reports that the international tourism market has suffered during the downturn, one strand of tourism – the gap year and volunteer tourism market – seems to have flourished. This can partly be attributed to the increase in redundancies, which has prompted more people to take time out to reflect on what to do next and to gain a new perspective on life. Shortage of graduate jobs has also encouraged undergraduates to escape the gloomy outlook at home to gain valuable work experience to give their CVs a winning edge for when they return. This influx of volunteers to the South, armed with the desire to contribute time, money and skills to a poorer society is surely a good thing. Or is it?

  • Abbi Buxton's picture

    Fairtrade – the gold standard?

    Abbi Buxton 11 August 2010

    Now that Fairtrade has proved its resilience to recession is it time to make it the gold standard for all ethical produce and move beyond its origins in agriculture? Is the certification scheme that circumvents traditional market and pricing dynamics ready for new challenges in new markets? If so, what will those challenges look like?

  • 'Dios mio gracias!': Can Colombia´s pyramids teach us anything?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 22 July 2010

    For over three years pyramid and money laundering schemes brought artificial prosperity to the lives of many Colombians, allowing people to improve their quality of life beyond their wildest dreams. Then, within a few days, everything was gone, and the country was left with a social disaster on its hands. Sound familiar?

  • Israel, Palestine, and the Recession

    Anais Hall 6 July 2010

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington DC on 6th July 2010 to meet with President Barack Obama. Obama will seek to bring the Israeli and Palestinian leaders into direct peace talks, again. But how will this attempt differ from past efforts?

    Can the current woes of the recession help foster peace negotiations through intensified economic restraints?

  • Bill Vorley's picture

    Has agriculture been a winner in the economic downturn?

    Bill Vorley 14 June 2010

    While the downturn has hit many economic sectors hard, have farmers prospered?

  • Blunt instruments, crude addictions

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 8 June 2010

    It’s one of the more ironic twists to the Deepwater Horizon tale. Just a few hours before the US Attorney General announced that a criminal investigation was to be brought against British Petroleum, Transoceana, and Halliburton for their roles in the Deepwater Horizon oil spillage, President Barack Obama met with his Peruvian counterpart, Alan Garcia.

  • A tale of two deltas

    Barbara Kiser 5 June 2010

    So the ‘junk shot’ of golf balls and shredded tyres failed to plug the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. There was a strange circularity about BP’s idea of fixing this petroleum-fuelled nightmare by clogging it with petroleum-derived products.

  • Together we're better - sharing for sustainability

    Anais Hall 27 May 2010

    The spotlight was on transparency and sustainability at yesterday’s Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) meeting in Amsterdam. The organisation, which works on sustainability reporting frameworks, was holding its annual conference with a focus on this dual issue, and speakers included media representatives from the UK-based Guardian  and others from the United Nations and International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    The thrust of the GRI’s message is that ‘transparent communication changes perceptions, builds trust, and motivates action towards greater sustainability.’ And sustainability is key as we emerge bleary-eyed from years of ‘bubble’ thinking and the global economic meltdown that triggered.

  • Latin America´s Leftist Tide - Less Ebb than Flow

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 24 May 2010

    Much has been made of Latin America´s ‘leftist tide’ in the last decade. After disappointment with Washington Consensus Policies such as privatization, trade liberalization and deregulation, the last decade saw the assent of nine nominally ‘leftist’ governments in Latin America, promising to sweep away neo-liberal orthodoxies and redistribute wealth to the poor. Not only that, they promised to break with economic ‘dependency’ on the developed world and chart their own paths. But did the new leaders insulate their countries from the worst of the recession, or make them more vulnerable to it?

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    Turning the spotlight on agriculture

    Emma Blackmore 7 May 2010

    Have we glimpsed real signs of economic recovery?