Our Sustainability Pillar leads the industry’s efforts to help dramatically reduce global warming and improve working and environmental conditions. Recognising the scarcity of natural resources and growing demand for energy, food and water, our members understand the need to collaborate to be more efficient and have a lighter footprint on the planet, as well as the need to ensure a harmonised management of critical social and environmental supply chain issues. Our work in this area is managed by our workstreams on climate change and waste and through our Global Social Compliance Programme.


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Addressing Climate Change

Our approach to tackling today’s biggest climate change issues is built around engaging our wider membership and encouraging participation and implementation. With a firm commitment to reduce the level of global warming associated with the consumer goods industry, we leverage strategic partnerships and the combined reach of our membership to drive positive change and address the key topics of deforestation, refrigeration and waste. One objective of our members in this area is to achieve a common global system for the measuring of environmental impacts starting with carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases. We’ve also enjoyed a number of short-term wins, like our Sustainability Glossary and the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability, which are designed to help you along this journey.

Pillar Steering Group

The role of the Sustainability Steering Commitee, led by Marks & Spencer and Unilever, is to identify priority issues for the Sustainability Pillar and recommend corresponding actions to our Board. It steers the existing and new projects of the Pillar, keeps the Board informed on major sustainability developments impacting the consumer goods industry, acts as champions of our projects within their own companies, and encourages broader implementation across the industry.

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Achieving Zero Net Deforestation

In 2010, our Board approved a resolution to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. We aim to achieve this through the responsible sourcing of key commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil and paper, so that the sourcing of these key commodities will not deplete tropical rainforests. It’s a big ask, but we continue to work with our members, providing guidance and supporting those who seek early adoption. This is achieved through the publication of sourcing guidelines and our Activation Toolkit, as well as holding regular workshops and webinars. In collaboration with the US Government, we have also recently created the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 to help address deforestation and the sourcing of key commodities, bringing together industry, national governments and NGOs in the largest public-private initiative of this type.

On Deforestation...


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Shifting to Natural Refrigerants

Our Board also approved a second resolution in 2010 aimed at eliminating HFC-based refrigeration and moving globally to the use of natural refrigerants as of 2015 – a process that has already started. With the support of annual refrigeration summits, our efforts are focused on bringing retailers, manufacturers, technology suppliers and strategic partners together to discuss challenges and find solutions. Our Activation Toolkit offers “How-to” guidelines and support for those companies who wish to address this issue, while webinars and workshops are also held on a regular basis.

On Refrigeration...


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Removing Waste from the Supply Chain

A newer strategic focus, waste management performs a vital function in safeguarding human health and the environment. At a more fundamental level, waste generation is the opposite of resource efficiency, and global waste generation contributes to a whole range of environmental issues, including resource use and scarcity, energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and ecological impact. To address this issue, we are looking to create waste metrics to highlight the benefits of recycling and develop a toolkit and share best practices on the handling of food waste. We will seek regular engagement with key partners, stakeholders and our wider membership to help drive these initiatives forward.

Improving Global Working & Environmental Conditions

Through our work in The Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP), we are targeting continuous improvement of working and environmental conditions in global supply chains. To this end, alongside a programme-specific cross industry membership, we are working to harmonise the landscape of compliance standards while supporting efforts on capacity building at supplier level through a shared, consistent and global approach. As we look to expand membership to this business-driven programme, we will continue to drive convergence towards an internationally accepted reference through the usage of common tools/processes, sharing of best practices and partnerships

GSCP Executive Board

The Executive Board steers the work of the Programme and is responsible, with the support of the Advisory Board and our team, for its general management. The Executive Board helps ensure the GSCP delivers on its objectives and integrates the expectations of all stakeholders.

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Our Collaborative Efforts on Capacity Building

The GSCP is ultimately working towards remediation of root causes of non-compliances, aiming at supplier ownership of solutions and their implementation. We therefore support the development of collaborative models to build capacity at supplier site. These efforts are developed and implemented through projects with stakeholders including business and multi-stakeholder initiatives, and international organisations such as United Nations agencies UNIDO and ITC, and ILO Better Work.This work aims at enabling continuous process improvement at buying companies and their suppliers for better supply chain and risk management and increased resource and cost effectiveness. This will create a larger and more responsible, reliable sourcing base resulting in greater consumer confidence. In parallel, the GSCP is supporting better needs assessment and implementation of actions through the establishment of regional networks and strengthening further the engagement of stakeholders, including suppliers, at all levels of our work.

Reference Tools

To drive convergence, the GSCP is building a set of reference tools that describe best existing practice, uphold relevant international standards - where these exist - and provide a common interpretation of fair labour and environmental requirements and their implementation.

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Creating Alignment on Best Practices

The GSCP has developed a suite of Reference tools that describe best existing practices and provide a common interpretation of social/labour and environmental requirements and their implementation at supplier level. Comparability and mutual recognition can be achieved between our members and the wider industry by using the GSCP Reference tools as a benchmark through the GSCP Equivalence Process, the first multi-sectoral industry benchmark on social and environmental best practice. This tool will help drive upward convergence in approaches to social /environmental compliance and uphold international standards, improving business efficiency, practices and reputation across the board while also improving the quality of auditing across multiple sectors.

The Equivalence Process

Variations in social compliance and environmental compliance standards, audit process and methodology as well as requirements for auditing competence make it difficult for buying companies to recognise and accept audit reports coming from other social / environmental compliance schemes. The GSCP Equivalence Process will help companies and initiatives overcome this by allowing them to benchmark their standards, tools and processes against agreed best existing practice.

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Upcoming Pillar Events

Sustainability Activation Toolkit

The Toolkit provides simple “how-to” guidelines that contain information on the rationale for addressing key topics, what steps to follow, reference documents, useful contacts and how to measure progress.

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GSCP Information Kit

Our special GSCP information kit provides you with everything you need to know about what we are up to in the world of social and environmental compliance and includes details on our achievements so far.

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