Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) is to coordinate the activities of the globally-operating Sustainability Consortium in Europe. In order to do so, it will be setting up the European office of this organization. Furthermore, Dr. Aalt Dijkhuizen, President and Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen UR, has been appointed to the board of directors of TSC.

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) is an independent organization of producers and retail companies for consumer products in the food and non-food sector. Several NGOs (such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)) are also involved in the initiative. TSC is working towards scientific solutions for improving sustainability in the chain of these products. It devises methods for measuring the sustainability of products, collecting and making the required information available, and identifying possible areas for improvement.

A large number of American companies have joined TSC. Wal-Mart was one of the founding fathers and TSC has many other renowned members from across the globe. European participants include Unilever and Ahold. The consortium thinks that Wageningen UR can play an important role in boosting the organisation’s position in Europe. TSC is keen to stress that its choice of Wageningen UR as coordinator is due to its reputation and the strong ties the organization has with the food sector in Europe. The TSC secretariat is in the hands of Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas in the United States.

Producers and retail companies involved in consumer products are in dire need of a transparent, scientific, and most importantly, uniform method for measuring the sustainability of the entire production chain. Companies are facing an increasing demand for sustainable products from consumers.

On the one hand, Wageningen UR will be making a substantive contribution to setting up methods for collecting data and devising improvements. It also will be coordinating the European activities aimed at expanding the network (of both knowledge institutions and companies) in Europe and intensifying relations with similar initiatives in Europe.