Nestled in the hills of Northwest Arkansas, at a historic deck house secluded on a bluff overlooking the Kings River valley, TSC’s thought leaders gathered to talk about how to make real change in sustainability hotspots, at the first-ever Idea Forum Retreat. An opportunity reserved only for Tier 1 members and retailers, these members spent three days together to both identify where TSC members can take action on sustainability hotspots and create opportunities to share best practices among TSC leaders.
The Idea Forum, created to allow Tier 1 members and retailers to interact regularly, holds many gathering and workshops throughout the year to continue making progress on hotspot improvement through collective action of TSC members. “We realized that we needed a place where our leaders and Tier 1 members could really take a deep dive into the sustainability topics of today and explore the innovations of the future.” says TSC CEO, Euan Murray. “Because our Tier 1 members and retailers represent diverse sectors, organizations and even parts of the world, we made sure that these sustainability champions have the space and platform to dive deep into collaboration, have meaningful interaction with each other and a bit of fun along the way.”
TSC member and partner, The Nature Conservancy, provided the breathtaking King House River Deck House as the location for this inaugural retreat, just outside of Eureka Spring, Arkansas. The cozy, historic, and beautiful environment deep in the Ozark mountains provided the perfect opportunity for members to unplug and focus on the future of TSC and the future of more sustainable consumer goods. Members in attendance ranged from Tier 1 companies that had been founding members of TSC and brand-new members who had just joined the month before.
Over the course of the 3-day retreat, these leaders found themselves often gathered around a family-style farm table, a roaring fire, or gazing at the night sky, reflecting on the impactful discussions and decisions made in the Deck House throughout the day. On our last night together, TNC Arkansas provided a very special gathering on the banks of the Kings River with homemade Arkansas treats and a crackling camp-fire for our special guests. Many relationships were made or built-upon, while attendees of this exclusive meeting came together to set goals for the future and make connections with colleagues in sustainability from all different parts of the supply chain.
Highlights and outcomes from the 2017 Idea Forum
TSC and TSC members to focus on high priority topics for collective action:
Increasing recycling and recyclability for products and packaging
Group wanted to focus on aligning the US recycling infrastructure to enable the increase of recyclable goods that make it to the proper waste stream, building on existing consumer education coming from manufacturers.
Creating data mapping across the value chain
Attendees called out the need to connect data and data elements across supply chains so that information flows more smoothly.
Building energy efficiency, GHG, and renewable energy opportunities
Building consumer awareness through TSC member activities.
Attendees brainstormed ways to connect better with consumers through TSC and TSC member activities. These ideas included building awareness of the connection between human wellbeing and environmental health and creating trust with consumers and TSC’s brand.
Building consumer demand for more sustainable products.
Idea Forum members discussed a common interest in increasing or supporting consumer demand for more sustainable products from manufacturers and retailers. TSC and our members can better help consumer understand how and why a product is sourced through creating diagrams and messaging on our supply chain measurements. By changing and supporting consumer behavior around more sustainable goods, we can ensure that consumers automatically make the more sustainable choice when they can.
Retailers and brands should lead the way on actions in the supply chain.
Goal-setting and external communication of sustainability goals can trigger actions up and down the supply chains.
Move beyond pilot projects to scaling results.
Learnings from the new Idea Forum format
- TSC Tier 1 members and retailers are building momentum and learning from each other’s’ goals and challenges
- The importance of making sure company and organizations’ metrics align
- Learned from each other about conservation related outcomes and needs
- How recycling touches everyone in every part of the supply chain and across sectors
- A sustainability paradigm shift if happening both in the U.S. and the Europe
- TSC staff are currently planning the next Idea Forum call and in-person event
- A special Idea Forum meeting will happen at TSC Summit 2018
Are you a TSC Tier 1 member or retailers and are not yet involved in the TSC Idea Forum? Contact Sarah Lewis.
Are you a TSC Tier 2 member or not a TSC member and are interested in hearing more about what you can do to join the Idea Forum? Contact Carolyn Baltz.