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Benchmarking & Recognising Sustainability Standards


Organisations use third-party audits and certifications to ensure their suppliers provide decent working conditions to their employees, source their materials sustainably and respect the environment among other criteria. But with hundreds of schemes on the market to choose from, and dozens more emerging each year, it can be challenging for organisations to know which scheme to trust. The decision becomes more challenging given that not all audit schemes cover social sustainability measures the same way, resulting in distrust in audits and misalignment in the industry.

To support companies in their supply chain due diligence, The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) launched the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) in 2017 to recognise third-party audit schemes and programmes that cover key sustainability requirements and apply relevant governance and verification. Through a comprehensive benchmarking process built on criteria developed by CGF members and expert stakeholders, the SSCI currently recognises audit and certification programmes that meet industry expectations on social sustainability, and will later focus on environmental sustainability as well. As a result, the SSCI is able to provide trusted guidance to organisations on which schemes are credible and trustworthy.

It was created by replicating the successful approach taken by the CGF’s Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) for recognising standards and builds off the work of the CGF’s previous initiative on supply chain compliance, the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP). In 2020, in-line with the CGF’s new global strategy, the SSCI became a key Coalition of Action.

Learn more about how the SSCI supports companies and organisations in their supply chain due diligence in this new short video:


The SSCI isn't another social compliance standard or certification scheme.

In benchmarking and recognising audit and certification schemes, the SSCI drives alignment among sustainability standards in the consumer goods industry and helps ensure confidence in sustainable sourcing.

Building Trust & Ensuring Confidence

The SSCI is not another social compliance standard or certification scheme; instead, it seeks to align different schemes on industry-defined expectations for sustainability and provide buyers and suppliers with clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability requirements and apply relevant governance and verification practices. It helps ensure confidence in sustainable sourcing; reduces audit duplication, complexity and cost for all stakeholders; and ultimately drives positive social and environmental impacts on the ground. 

By demonstrating alignment with the SSCI criteria and achieving SSCI recognition, audit and certification scheme owners signal a strong commitment to raising the bar in their certification process while driving harmonisation and alignment within the consumer goods industry as a whole.

Learn More About the SSCI

Download the SSCI one-pager.

The objectives of the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative are to:

Support companies in their supply chain due diligence by recognising robust schemes that drive positive change and address sustainability compliance issues

Increase efficiency for suppliers and buyers by reducing audit duplication through recognition of robust sustainability schemes

Contribute to continuous improvement of sustainability auditing and certification schemes and encourage them to reflect CGF resolutions in those schemes worldwide

Collaboration for Impact

Since 2018, the SSCI has partnered with the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), the leading environmental compliance recognition organisation in the seafood industry. Together with the GSSI, the SSCI is in the process of developing a social compliance benchmark for third-party auditing schemes in the seafood industry.

Introducing the SSCI

Join the SSCI Co-Chairs of Ahold Delhaize and Nestlé in conversation about the SSCI on the CGF Podcast.