United Arab Emirates (UAE) has unveiled EcoMark Global Accreditation to develop the first-ever sustainability accreditation framework explicitly for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
EcoMark Global Accreditation is designed to boost the competitiveness of MSMEs in the global green economy by streamlining and standardizing the regulatory processes surrounding sustainability benchmarking worldwide.
The EcoMark certification, which is based on ISO standards and digitally enabled, will include a full suite of resources to help MSMEs attain EcoMark status, covering document requirement guidelines and a roadmap to progress from basic to advanced levels of sustainability, and a standardized application process and complete eligibility criterion for accreditors in the participating countries. The framework will be overseen by a central body headquartered in the UAE.
The initiative was announced at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, during a panel discussion titled ‘A New Trade Order: Inclusive Growth’.
The panel, which gathered ministers, policymakers, and academics to explore means to better integrate LDCs, MSMEs, and female and youth-led businesses into global trade, highlighted the need to help emerging enterprises keep pace with increasing consumer demand for products and services that comply with green standards.
Launching the initiative, Mr. Al Zeyoudi emphasized that MSMEs have a pivotal role in driving the transition toward a lower-carbon economy. However, the contribution of MSMEs such as those run and operated by underrepresented groups including women and youth can only be unlocked through targeted and customized support that reduces time, cost and resource constraints associated with environmental regulatory compliance.
“Accounting for almost 90 percent of global businesses, MSMEs must have full access to the global trading system if our vision of a more sustainable and equitable global economy is to be realized. These enterprises are also important agents of change, with the flexibility and singularity of focus required to drive sustainability across value chains. The development of the EcoMark Global Accreditation as an accessible and universally recognized platform will help them both find and compete in new markets around the world, and meet the growing demand for sustainable products and services.”
Mr. Al Zeyoudi said the announcement builds on the progress made at COP28’s first-ever Trade Day held in Dubai last month, where the UAE hosted a series of critical conversations on the contribution of trade to the climate change challenge. As Chair of the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February, Mr. Al Zeyoudi said EcoMark underlines the UAE’s commitment to multilateralism and the desire to deliver full and equal access to the global trading system.
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024 in Davos is taking place under the theme “Rebuilding Trust” and has brought together government and business leaders to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions through public-private cooperation.