Increasing transparency is at the heart of TSC’s theory of change, which proposes that retailers need to be transparent about the sustainability issues most important to them to drive a consistent signal, and that product manufacturers need to be transparent about the sustainability performance of their product supply chains.
TSC’s science-based approach shows that most environmental and social hotspots exist within a product supply chain, or with the customer at product use and end-of-life stages. Therefore, most of TSC’s key performance indicators (KPIs) that suppliers report on are about the degree of transparency that a brand has into its value chain. These KPIs are scored so that perfect transparency results in a perfect score. If you do well in The Sustainability Index it means you have excellent transparency.
TSC and its partners and members have engaged in a range of projects this past year to increase transparency. Four examples:
Under the banner of our Innovation Program, TSC’s leadership in the Responsible Battery Coalition will increase transparency around the environmental, social, and economic challenges associated with recovery and re-use of Lithium-Ion batteries, a product category currently experiencing growing production and sales. This project will provide battery manufacturers a way to demonstrate transparency in terms of how their batteries are managed after first-use.
In our Measurement and Reporting Program, the Agricultural Metrics Task Force has worked to understand how data flows, or doesn’t, across Ag supply chains, and how metrics used by different IT and service providers map to one another. As a result, the Walton Foundation funded a Commodity Supply Chain Project that has brought together all relevant stakeholders to develop interoperability within Ag supply chain sustainability data systems.
In the Beauty and Personal Care, TSC worked with Forum for the Future to develop a product-level sustainability scorecard that five different retailers – CVS, Sephora, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens – have all agreed to use. This is unprecedented in creating a consistent, transparent market signal from the retailers on what is most important, and provides product manufacturers the mechanism to deliver transparency to a market segment that demands it.
These are only a few examples of the numerous projects TSC is involved with or leading that are contributing to increasing transparency.