Trade associations have always been a key stakeholder group in TSC’s work. Representatives and experts from trade associations have provided research on environmental and social hotspots, and helped TSC researchers understand industry structure and supply chain configuration. They have suggested standards and other initiatives to align TSC’s KPIs to, and have been a voice for corporate stakeholders not well-represented in TSC’s membership, such as small businesses.
A trade association is a voluntary organization made up of corporate members who see value in working together on certain, “pre-competitive” issues, in a particular domain of industry. Trade associations are typically non-profit and maintain the autonomy of their corporate members, and address such issues as common standards, fair competition, labor, legislation and policy, and systemic risks and opportunities. Trade associations can play a critical role in sustainable business practices. Trade associations can be the place where sustainability science is promoted, shared, and acted upon. They can participate in standards-setting processes that create efficiency and effectiveness in the sector. They can help communicate the sector’s actions to become more sustainable, to both consumers, other non-profits, and government.