The challenges are unprecedented. So are the opportunities.
Increasingly pressure is being felt by multiple stakeholders to reduce the environmental and social impacts associated with global consumption. Retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, governments, NGOs, researchers and consumers all hold a stake in the sustainability of global product production and use.
As global citizens, we face extraordinary challenges: complexity of global trade and supply networks, world population growth expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, diminishing resources, worker safety and fair treatment, human health and safety.
At the core of multiple stakeholders’ interests and at the center of such challenges we find the need to more accurately quantify and communicate the sustainability of products. The challenge before us, then, is to work collaboratively together, developing an approach that drives better understanding, standardization, and informed decision making.
Drivers and Needs for More Sustainable
Products and Standardization
- Desire for product transparency and increasing demand for responsible products
- Confusion on what constitutes a sustainable product-Proliferation of single attribute eco-labels and increase in green claims and green washing
- Call for help in making informed decisions
- No set standard for suppliers to measure the sustainability of products throughout the life cycle
- No set standard for suppliers to report measurements to their customers
- Lack of data and traceability of system inputs and outputs and their implications
- Shifts in resource pools and resource usability
- Unrealized potential in efficiency and economic value
- Existing and developing regulations for communication and labeling
- Lack of a harmonized approach in a world of multi-national companies
- Need to evaluate the benefits and unintended consequences of new regulations
- Incentives and policies that promote safe and responsible innovations and strategies
- Need to better understand resource availability and social and environmental impacts over time
- Evaluating the benefits to environmental, economic and social imperatives resulting from measuring and reporting product sustainability
- Understanding how professional buyers and consumers evaluate and respond to products and communication efforts
- Need for scientifically grounded and transparent data and methodologies