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The Big Picture of Measuring Sustainability Impacts

09 August 2016

It can be challenging for companies to measure corporate social and environmental impacts, they have impact in many areas, from worker and supply chain welfare, to direct and indirect environmental impact. But what does “positive impact” really mean? And what is the business value of measuring it?

Consumer goods account for more than 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of water withdrawals, and it is expected that more than 2.5 billion more people will join the consuming class in the next few decades. This increasingly sizeable sustainability price tag can only be addressed through the sustainable production, use, and disposal of consumer goods throughout the whole supply chain.

In a unique way, The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a global non-profit organization, is working to transform the consumer goods industry by partnering with leading companies to define, develop, and deliver more sustainable products. TSC uses science to identify the hotspots in different product categories’ life cycles, alongside stakeholder engagement and strategic partnership with other leading sustainability initiatives to develop key performance indicators (KPIs). Examples include TSC’s work with CDP to ensure alignment of greenhouse gas and water-use KPIs, and the collaboration with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to align the KPIs and the Higg Index on a facility-level. The KPIs are presented in the form of a manufacturer survey - recognized as leading in its field due to its comprehensive nature and cross-sector approach, and ranked as a top ten world changing idea by the Scientific American Magazine. Examples of KPI topics are product design, priority chemicals, ingredient disclosure, deforestation, GHG emissions intensity, wastewater generation, transportation and labor rights, and the combination of KPIs in the survey depend on the specific product category.

Anthesis participated in TSC’s first ever training for advisory, verification, and service providers that work in the consumer goods industry.
As a service provider, Anthesis has access to the full portfolio of resources in order to support members and their suppliers in using the tools, collecting data, and analyzing results. Major business opportunities can then be addressed:

  1. Risk Management: By benchmarking a purchaser’s supply base against TSC’s industry average, retailers can see how they perform by KPI and product category. This is useful to give an overall picture of the state of a company’s supply base and to understand and tackle specific issues. In addition, assessing each individual supplier shows where any specific issues might arise and helps the buyers, product teams and sustainability team to know where to focus supplier-engagement efforts.
  2. Performance Management: By overlaying sales volume data with sustainability performance, purchasers can be more proactive and adjust the supplier mix to be sourced from more sustainable suppliers.
  3. Consumer Engagement: The results from a sustainability assessment can be used to communicate sustainability benefits to consumers and to help them make more sustainable choices.

Please join us and TSC in the goal to create a consumer-goods ecosystem that is sustainable using a common approach to measuring and tracking the product sustainability of $1 trillion of retailer sales over the next five years.

To find out more about how Anthesis can support you in impact measurement across your business please contact us on the form below.

 

 

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