MSME Day 2024: Leveraging the Power and Resilience of MSMEs to Accelerate Sustainable Development and Eradicate Poverty

On World MSME Day, 27 June 2024, the spotlight shines on the resilience and critical contributions of Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in fostering global economic stability, growth, and sustainable development.

MSMEs form the backbone of the global economy, accounting for 90% of businesses, more than 70% of employment, and 50% of GDP worldwide. These enterprises are pivotal in promoting equitable economic growth, fostering job creation, and supporting the livelihoods of the working poor, women, youth, and marginalized communities.

As a UN Global Compact member, Foundation FSSC celebrates the day alongside the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s theme is MSMEs and the SDGs: Leveraging the Power and Resilience of Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises to Accelerate Sustainable Development and Eradicate Poverty in Times of Multiple Crises. The theme highlights the vital role these enterprises play in addressing multifaceted global challenges and driving progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Advancing the SDGs through Food Safety

Ensuring food safety is a fundamental step in eradicating poverty and hunger. It promotes public health, reduces foodborne illnesses, and enhances the overall quality of life. Safe food ensures that fewer people fall ill, as consuming unsafe food can lead to illness, which in turn results in an inability to work and a loss of income. By implementing international food safety standards and practices, Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) help prevent food contamination, ensure that food products meet high-quality standards, and support access to safe food for all, including the poor and vulnerable populations.

Further, FSMS are crucial for developing sustainable food production systems. Through efficient resource management and food loss and waste reduction measures in food production processes, FSMS like FSSC 22000 help increase productivity and production of safe food while building more sustainable and resilient food systems.

The FSSC 22000 Food Safety certification Scheme and the FSSC 22000 Development Program support the strengthening of food safety systems for food business operators of all sizes, including MSMEs.

The FSSC 22000 Development Program: A Catalyst for Food Safety and Market Access for MSMEs

In the expansive global food industry, MSMEs play a crucial role in the food supply chain. Yet, they continue facing significant challenges such as limited access to finance, technology, markets, and supply chains. To unlock their full potential and enable them to drive sustainable transformation, it is essential to implement support programs that promote their growth, professionalization, and resilience.

These enterprises require policies, support structures and investments that promote their growth and formalization – and, in turn, help communities prosper, uplift the most vulnerable, and pave the way for more sustainable and just livelihoods.
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

Recognizing this, Foundation FSSC has introduced the FSSC 22000 Development Program, designed to support these organizations in producing safe food.

Aligned with international food safety standards such as CODEX HACCP and GFSI Global Markets, the FSSC 22000 Development Program allows MSMEs to systematically develop and improve their food safety systems. It further helps MSMEs enhance their market access by meeting the food safety expectations of larger buyers and international clients. Being listed on the FSSC website as a conforming organization demonstrates compliance with international food safety standards and enhances credibility in the global market.

To assist MSMEs in their journey towards improved food safety, the Program offers a two-level approach that allows an organization to develop and improve its food safety system at the conformity level that matches the maturity of its current operations. Self-evaluation tools and resources further support organizations in assessing their current food safety practices, identifying areas for improvement, and effectively implementing necessary changes. As they develop their capabilities, organizations can choose to remain at a conformity level or proceed towards FSSC 22000 certification.

The structured support and flexibility offered by the FSSC 22000 Development Program make it easier for MSMEs with limited resources and expertise in food safety management to gradually improve their food safety systems without the pressure of meeting all requirements at once, optimize operational efficiency, and effectuate cost savings.