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Greening Global Supply Chains: From Blind Spots to Hotspots to Action
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Provides Practical Pathway To Both Manufacturers And Retailers To Reduce Social and Environmental Impacts And Uncover New Market Opportunities
Tempe, AZ – The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) announced today the release of its first Impact Report, marking a significant collaboration between leading multi-national corporations, civil society, and academia, combining science and metrics with practical guidance on implementation to accelerate the rise of more sustainable supply chains, and more sustainable consumer products.
The report – “Greening Global Supply Chains: From Blind Spots To Hotspots To Action” – showcases a consistent, science-based measurement and reporting system that can serve as an important barometer for the entire consumer goods industry globally. It was vetted by more than 100 diverse stakeholders to assist both manufacturers and retailers in improving transparency and making progress towards their goals for addressing key environmental and social impacts within their product supply chains. Additionally, TSC sets a goal to create a consumer goods eco-system using a common approach to measuring and tracking the product sustainability of $1 trillion of retailer sales over the next five years.
“This is a huge milestone for TSC. The price tag of consumer goods comes at a huge cost, but TSC metrics, research and engagement of over 100 members uniquely positions us to drive real change in sustainable consumer goods supply chains” says Sheila Bonini, chief executive officer of The Sustainability Consortium. “This report identifies key priorities for the consumer goods sector so we can all move in the same direction to drive real impact.”
“The Sustainability Consortium’s findings are helping us solve a big challenge, which is how do we get our arms around our total supply chain”, said Laura Phillips, SVP, Global Responsibility Sustainability at Walmart. “And how do we really focus for impact in our supply chain with our partners? TSC’s ‘hotspot’ analysis approach helps us do exactly that, together with the global community.”
Given the increasing demand from consumers for such transparency and more sustainable choices on the retail shelf, but a reluctance to pay higher prices, TSC stakeholders designed a simple, collaboratively-produced system to address both of these imperatives—meeting consumers’ demands, while at the same time reducing the costs of investing in sustainability improvements to supply chains.
Supply chains are sometimes referred to as the arteries of global society. The Report recognizes that in order to shift the consumer goods industry at scale, attention must be focused on the mainstream: the things we all buy every day. Based in the science of sustainability—and supporting sustainable sourcing decisions of buyers globally—TSC’s system covers between 80% to 90% of the sustainability impacts of all consumer goods.
Importantly, recommendations from the report can also help global companies meet existing commitments to reduce climate impacts, and are consistent with U.N. Sustainable Development goals and Paris climate change summit in December 2015. Moreover, they serve as a way to align a global marketplace rife with fragmented standards and certifications.
The report also serves as a collective call to action, to transform the measurement and tracking of product sustainability in order to drive the scale of change required to reduce the expected impacts of global climate change. In other words, it showcases not just the sustainability science but the power of collaboration and collective action to shift the entire global marketplace forward as multiple ‘demand signals’ are sent between retailers, manufacturers, and consumers.
Jonathan Atwood, Vice President, Sustainable Business & Communications, Unilever North America and TSC board member said, “We can devise big transformative change programs working with others that are also looking at the same Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the same metrics. That to me is the power, and there’s a growth opportunity if we get this right.”
Leading environmental non-profit organizations such as Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are also highly supportive of TSC’s report findings. “Progress can only be achieved if companies are measuring performance within their supply chains,” said Elizabeth Sturcken, Managing Director, Corporate Partnerships at EDF and TSC board member. “A collective call to action is needed and TSC is the leading system for product level benchmarking. If companies measure their suppliers’ performance through TSC tools, then they can measure and report quantifiable progress towards their climate commitments.”
Visit www.sustainabilityconsortium.org to learn more about TSC’s innovative work and product performance benchmarking tools, and to download a copy of the report, “Greening Global Supply Chains: From Blind Spots To Hotspots To Action”.
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The Sustainability Consortium is a global nonprofit organization working to transform the consumer goods industry by partnering with leading companies to define, develop, and deliver more sustainable products. TSC creates change through the implementation of its science-based, metrics-driven approach, and by collaborating with its broad membership base— which includes manufacturers, retailers, corporations, and NGOs—and other stakeholders to drive innovation for a new generation of products and more sustainable supply networks. Our mission is to transform the consumer goods industry so that the mainstream consumer goods we buy every day are better and more sustainable. We will achieve this by translating the best sustainability science into business tools, and by engaging stakeholders to implement these tools to engender change along supply chains and drive continual improvement across the entire product life cycle, to create more sustainable consumer products. The Sustainability Consortium has more than 100 members and there are over 2,000 users of TSC tools worldwide; it convenes more than 200 global organizations annually over an average of 75 networking opportunities. Formed in 2009, TSC is jointly administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas. It also has a European office at Wageningen University and Research Center, and a Chinese office in Tianjin, China. For more information visit www.sustainabilityconsortium.org.