Of Leaders and Laggards

By: Euan Murray, CEO
The Sustainability Consortium



This week I made my debut on the main stage at GreenBiz 17 in my new role as Chief Executive of The Sustainability Consortium. I told a story I’ve told many times before: we once asked a supplier about their greenhouse gases. They replied that they made t-shirts, not greenhouses. This story, although amusing, is also alarming. After decades of scientific research, NGO action and consumer pressure, we know that over half of companies still have zero visibility into their supply chains. (more…)

The Washington Post | You’re about to see a big change to the sell-by dates on food

The majority of Americans have no clear idea what “sell by” labels are trying to tell them. But after 40 years of letting us guess, the grocery industry has made moves to clear up the confusion.

On Wednesday, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the two largest trade groups for the grocery industry, announced that they’ve adopted standardized, voluntary regulations to clear up what product date labels mean. Where manufacturers now use any of 10 separate label phrases, ranging from “expires on” to “better if used by,” they’ll now be encouraged to use only two: “Use By” and “Best if Used By.” (more…)

GreenBiz | These Hidden Ingredients Can Improve Your Supply Chain

Keith Larson, GreenBiz

The Sustainability Consortium CEO Euan Murray said when it comes to sustainable supply chains for consumer goods the world falls neatly into two groups: leaders and laggards.

One of the main problems is that nearly half of the laggard companies have no visibility of sustainability risks in their supply chains, Murray said about green supply chains during the GreenBiz 17 event in Phoenix, Arizona.

“In 2017, after decades of scientific research, NGO pressure, and consumer action… half know nothing,” Murray said. “And that’s a huge opportunity missed environmentally, socially and, of course, commercially too.”

For example, the Sustainability Consortium (TSC) once asked a supplier about greenhouse gases in manufacturing. “They said, ‘You asked us about greenhouse gases in manufacturing. We make T-shirts; we don’t have any greenhouses,'” Murray said. “If we are to solve this, those are the people we’re going to have to get to really move the needle.”

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Environmental Leader | Johnson Controls, Aqua Metals Ink Battery Recycling Technology Partnership


In a deal that will allow Johnson Controls to expand its automotive batteries production without carbon emissions and excess waste, Johnson Controls has invested in Aqua Metals, a company that uses a water-based process to recycle 99 percent of the lead from used lead-acid batteries.

Johnson Controls is the world’s largest automotive battery manufacturer. It supplies 146 million batteries a year to auto makers and to replacement-battery sellers Interstate Batteries and retailers such as Costco, Walmart and AutoZone. (more…)

Trase | Are zero-deforestation pledges slowing deforestation?


By the end of 2016, more than 400 companies had committed to reduce or eliminate the deforestation embedded in their products. These pledges are an important first step, but the real challenge comes with translating them into action.

The conventional wisdom has been that if consumer-facing companies pledge to ban deforestation from their supply chains, this ambition will somehow trickle down, leading to a shift towards sustainable practices at the frontier of tropical forests. A review of the status of deforestation-related efforts tells a different story.

Environmental Leader | Holding Supply Chains Accountable for Carbon Emissions Saves Money, CDP Reports

Carbon Emissions

A sustainable supply chain will result in a lot fewer carbon emissions, reports CDP, which looked at 89 supply chain members that cut those heat-trapping emissions by 434 million tons in 2016.

A story in Triple Pundit says that this then got the attention of financial executives by creating a savings of $12.4 billion last year. Among the businesses that were part of the survey: Unilever, Microsoft, Ford, Intel and WalMart, all of which have gone public as to their sustainability efforts. The story, however, notes that only half the companies interviewed said they actually saved money by holding their supply chains accountable for carbon emissions. The half that did said they saved big.

GreenBiz | How P&G, Unilever are washing beaches clean of plastic

Clean Energy Briefing

“Plastic” defines a substance that is soft, pliable and easily workable. It is ironic that plastics have placed a chokehold on the environment and the economy.

“Globally, despite 40 years of effort to focus on recycling, we currently collect 14 percent of plastics for recycling,” said Andrew Morlet, CEO of the circular economy think tank the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, at a World Economic Forum (WEF) panel during Davos 2017. “And we lose a lot of that during the recycling process, so we retain only 2 percent of that value for reuse. At the same time, one third [32 percent] of all plastics leak into the environment.”

Our addiction to throwaway containers, he warned, means that by 2050 there will be more plastic material in the ocean, by weight, than fish.

Ethical Corporation | Access the 2017 US clean energy briefing with General Motors and Autodesk

Clean Energy Briefing

This report is essential intel to develop a successful renewable energy strategy – with exclusive insights from General Motors and Autodesk’s own clean energy strategy.

Sustainable Brands | Study: Effectively Marketing Sustainable Goods Could Represent $1T Market Opportunity

Effective Marketing Sustainable Goods

A new global consumer study from Unilever reveals fascinating insights regarding consumer interest in and commitment to sustainable products, as well as an over $1 trillion market opportunity for brands that can effectively and transparently market the sustainability of their wares.

We Mean Business | Walmart’s Science based targets: A Game Changer

Walmart's Science based targets: A Game Changer

Walmart has become the 26th company to successfully set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that are in line with what climate science says is necessary to keep global warming below 2°C.

Approving Walmart’s science-based target marks a turning point for the Science Based Targets initiative – a partnership between CDP, WWF, WRI and the UN Global Compact. Walmart is not only the first retailer to have set a Science Based Target, it is also the world’s largest retailer. Indeed, Walmart ranks 15th on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the world’s biggest and most powerful public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value. Given the scale of the company’s operations and market capitalization, this shows science-based targets are quickly going mainstream. (more…)

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