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Voluntary Sustainability Standards Coaching program

  • Published on April 24, 2023

The VSS Coaching programme provides direct support to SMEs

It consists of:

  1. Workshops on Voluntary Sustainability Standards

•Provide basic knowledge for company on the Voluntary Sustainability Standards and the role for market access.

  1. Individual Coaching of SMEs

•Expert coach to work directly with company: identification and confirmation of selected standard

•Complete the pre-assessment against selected standard

•Data from the assessment will be used as the basis to develop a sustainability action plan and cost-benefit analysis for company

  1. Roundtable with expert on standard

•Review company assessment and sustainability action plan with experts from the relevant standard setting organization

•Expert coach to support companies to revise the action plan and keep track of the implementation progress

  1. Link to other components of the project

•Several companies will be selected at a later stage to receive support from ITC/T4SD projects related to access to markets/finance.


Purpose / Objective

The VSS Coaching program helps SMEs to prioritize the implementation of sustainable criteria of VSSs/sustainability schemes according to a timeframe, financial resources availability, and potential benefits (access to markets/access to finance)


Item Assessment information

Needs addressed

  • c-check Scaling sustainable and circular business models
  • c-check Adopting SCP norms, technologies and practices

Leaving no one behind

  • c-check Promoting equal women/men participation and development with SCP
  • c-check Enhancing SCP practices and collaboration between key stakeholders (public and private)


  • c-check Tested
  • c-check Implemented
  • c-check Evaluated Proof of Concept
  • c-check Applicable multiple countries


  • 12.1
  • 12.5
  • 12.8
  • 12.a

How does the tool make an impact on SDG12?

12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns,

12.5 Reduced waste generation;

12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development;

12.A Support for developing countries

How does the tool make an impact across SDGs?

How does the tool promote and/or make an impact on MEAs?

It could provide aggregated data of SME’s capacity to comply with environmental/sustainability requirements included in MEA.


Preliminary Phase

Understanding the benefits of compliance with voluntary sustainability standards (VSS)

Training of Trainers for VSS Coaches on the VSS Coaching program methodology

Coaching Phase

Collect data on sustainability performance

Develop a sustainability standard (VSS) implementation strategy

Roundtable with expert on standard

Implementation Phase

Implement, monitor the progress of the VSS strategy