The 2019 Impact Report of The Sustainability Consortium’s (TSC) performance of consumer products worldwide, shows an impressive 30.5% improvement from the baseline year of 2016. This result demonstrates which industries are solving sustainability, which issues are not seeing the required improvements, and where organisations commit to boosting transparency in the future.
On a 100-point scale, the 1450 consumer product manufacturers who participated in the 2018 THESIS Index scored an average of 44.8. Three years of comparable data clearly show a trend of improvement; in 2016 the average score was 34.3 compared to 38,6 in 2017.
Wageningen Economic Research is coordinating the European activities of TSC, of which Unilever, Mars, Walmart, the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and more than 100 other companies and organizations are members. WUR currently co-operates with Albron, Bidfood, Sodexo and Sligro and their suppliers on implementing the THESIS index in the Netherlands.
Room for improvement
The increased index scores largely represent increased transparency that product manufacturers have into their own global operations and increasing transparency into sustainability issues elsewhere in their value chain: product use, intermediate manufacturing, on-farm activities, and activities in fisheries and aquaculture.
For the third year in a row, a vast majority of product manufacturers who participated in The Sustainability Insight System (THESIS) reported that they made changes to products, packaging, internal or supply chain practices to improve their index score. Of the 86% who reported making changes, 23% changed processes, 30% changed product or packaging design, 76% improved internal communication, 77% engaged suppliers, and 30% made more public disclosures.
However, there is still significant room to improve with supplier transparency around deforestation, transportation, product packaging, product end-of-life and disposal. Issues such as supply chain distance (spatial and structural), relational distance (willingness to share data), and existing regulations, certifications, and traceability infrastructure can all be reasons why supply chain transparency is relatively high or low. For example, many countries, including US and EU, have regulations regarding traceability of specialty crops like fruits and vegetables, while other countries do not.
About The Sustainability Consortium
The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) developed a globally harmonized sustainability assessment index of consumer products (THESIS). It provides businesses with an efficient tool to stimulate sustainability consistently, completely, and continuously throughout the chain. The tool is used by over 2500 companies globally.