With deforestation, refrigeration and waste being significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the need for our industry to address these, and other, sustainability challenges was clear.
As one of our four strategic pillars, our work on sustainability came as a result our members’ desire to help drive and communicate environmental sustainability improvements throughout the value chain of the consumer goods industry.
The initial focus of our work was on activities that would address climate change. Climate change is a major strategic threat, potentially affecting our customers, our businesses and the wider economy and society. It brings warmer temperatures, increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and decreased availability of natural resources. Consumer goods companies can expect their consumers, supply chains, and retail locations to feel the impacts.
What consumers buy, and where, when, and how they buy it, will reflect these effects. However, not all consumers will be affected — nor should they be treated equally. Their needs and concerns will be distinct, based on the respective consumer segments and markets that are most important to a specific company. And, while some companies are targeting green consumers in developed markets (that may be less immediately vulnerable to climate change); others may be focused on the rapidly growing middle classes in emerging markets.
Against this backdrop, our Board of Directors decided a work programme comprising six key elements: Deforestation, Refrigeration, Measurement, Waste, the Global Packaging Project, and the Communications Glossary. The Board later approved, in June 2010, resolutions on deforestation and refrigeration to help drive positive change throughout the entire membership.
Case for Action
Climate Change – poses increasing risks to the industry. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, disrupting supply chains and operations and increasing costs. Stakeholder, media and consumer expectations of industry leadership are growing with the risk of campaigning and boycott.
Food and Solid Waste – costs the industry money during the entire product life cycle, has a huge environmental impact and is no longer acceptable as natural resources get increasingly scarce. Government policy is tightening, increasing disposal costs and recycling requirements. Consumers increasingly want the industry to offer them products and packaging with an improved environmental performance along their value chain.