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The Sustainable Spices Initiative

Benchmarking Standards

Standard Development


One of the main goals of SSI is to facilitate the creation of a generic sustainability standard for the spice sector. In order to achieve this, Rainforest Alliance (RA) has been inducted to help adapt the Sustainable Agriculture Standard (SAN) to the production of the following spices - pepper, ginger, turmeric, chilies, vanilla, cloves and cassia.


Through local workshops with stakeholders in Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Madagascar, Rainforest Alliance has developed Local Interpretation Guidelines (LIGs) for these seven spices. The project on developing these LIGs is now complete and being implemented on the ground.


Eventually, these guidelines will be extended to all 34 culinary spices recognized by the European Spice Association (ESA).




It is clear that in order to create mainstream market transformation in the spices sector, existing standards in the market must be benchmarked to level the playing field. Along with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the SSI has developed an 'Equivalency Tool' which provides information on standards and codes of conduct addressing hotdpots in the supply chain.


The tool is based on ITC's Standards Map which provides comprehensive, verified and transparent information on voluntary sustainability standards and other similar initiatives covering issues such as food quality and safety. The main objective of the Map is to strengthen the capacity of producers, exporters, policymakers and buyers, to participate in more sustainable production and trade.

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