As Sustainable Brands marks its 10th anniversary, many of us find ourselves in a reflective mood. We can recall the decade’s pivotal milestones like they were yesterday as we also consider the challenges that lie ahead.
Despite the countless amazing achievements and major advances in embracing sustainable practices among corporations, what strikes me is the continued widespread lack of visibility and business integration that exists between governing boards, shareholders, and their supply chains. They still seem to exist in different universes – which can’t be good for our economy and even worse, I imagine, for our climate.
“If I were a CEO of a consumer goods company in the 21st century, I’d really want to know what was going on within my supply chains,” remarks Sheila Bonini, CEO & executive director of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC). “And I think the challenge today is that most of them don't.”
Thankfully, Walmart has proven itself to be more of a leading light than Wall Street or Congress. By demanding sustainable practices throughout its supply chains, and establishing its Sustainability Index, it has helped bring the rest of the consumer goods world along with it. And it also did something else profoundly important in 2009 when it helped establish TSC, an organization with more 100 members today, including the likes of Unilever, BASF, PepsiCo, MillerCoors and Wrangler/VF Corp, to name but a few.
TSC’s goal to advance a world of more sustainable consumer products is no small ambition when you consider that the industry as a whole accounts for 60 percent of all GHG emissions, 80 percent of water usage, and two-thirds of tropical forest loss globally. This past April, TSC created a new milestone when it released its first impact report, Greening Global Supply Chains: From Blind Spots to Hotspots to Action, which outlines a practical pathway for how manufacturers and retailers can collaborate to set priorities, reduce climate impacts, and uncover new market opportunities. This video, created by my agency, Citizen Group, helps illustrate how it can serve as an important barometer for the consumer goods industry globally:
You might say this is capitalism’s best shot at avoiding the ultimate 'big short.'