KATY, Texas, Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and DNV GL - Business Assurance will develop and implement joint projects in the field of water footprint measurement and promote water management best practices, with a particular emphasis on Africa. They will also help build the capacity of the local private sector in the field of certification, label creation, evaluation, training and coaching in food safety and security, as well as in responsible supply chain and quality management.
A memorandum of understanding on this was signed in Vienna today by LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, and Luca Crisciotti, Chief Executive Officer of DNV GL - Business Assurance. In recent years, the focus within sustainable business practices has shifted from evaluating companies' own operations to understanding their responsibilities in terms of the full value chains of their products and services. In many markets, freshwater resources are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change and the competing demands from industry and growing populations. Consequently, many businesses are seeking to measure and mitigate the water footprints of their products and services. UNIDO and DNV GL will jointly develop a water footprint self-assessment tool to assist small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries to evaluate their water footprint in restricted stages of a product life cycle, specifically the so-called 'cradle-to-gate' assessment from agricultural production through processing and production up to the factory gate (i.e. before the product is transported to the consumer). "UNIDO and DNV GL will work in partnership and in collaboration with large food brand owners and manufacturers to help them make their supply chains more inclusive and sustainable," said Director General Li.
Suppliers in developing countries and economies in transition often face difficulties in adequately responding to market requirements, especially in terms of quality, quantity, productivity and sustainability, which prevent them from seizing business opportunities with local, regional and global buyers. By upgrading the supply capacity of local producers in collaboration with large food brand owners/manufacturers, the UNIDO/DNV GL partnership will ensure that clusters of local suppliers establish sustainable business linkages with these buyers and gain access to national and, at a later stage, regional and international markets. The suppliers upgraded through this capacity-building program will demonstrate a considerable improvement in their performance and compliance with food safety standards. At the same time, large buyer companies will benefit from their supply chains becoming more inclusive and sustainable.
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