Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 3 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Signed, Sealed… Delivered? looks ‘behind certiﬁcations and beyond labels’ at howForeword these tools and the performance standards that underpin them create business value. But our decision to explore the experience of business with marks and movements like Energy Star, Fairtrade, Marine Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance had a larger purpose, asking: What has been learned about the best ways to improve supply chain performance, increase trust among value chain partners, and change customer and consumer behavior? What lessons can be extrapolated to the challenge of scaling sustainability overall? Signed, Sealed… Delivered? applauds the ways certiﬁcations, labels and standards have advanced more sustainable business practices. They empower customers and consumers, powerfully combine standards-setting and branding, and deliver credibility and transparency via independent assurance. Businesses use them to deﬁne, deliver, demonstrate and create demand for better sustainability outcomes. And they have improved lives and livelihoods in supply chains while helping preserve and regenerate resources. We also conclude we are reaching limits in terms of scale. Certiﬁcation and labeling are time and money intensive; we can’t — we shouldn’t — certify and label everything. The aim behind certiﬁcations and the aspiration beyond labels is the creation of organizations and market systems that are just and sustainable in their entirety. Rather than certiﬁcations and labels driving endless incremental improvement, we anticipate — we hope for — a future built on increasingly rigorous, pre-competitive standards for sustainability performance, above which brands compete to make sustainability intrinsic, where new business models emerge with factors previously requiring certiﬁcation part of their DNA, and where civil society ﬁnds more e ective and e cient ways of holding business accountable. Certiﬁcations and labels have been pioneers in building a more sustainable economy. Some will continue to deﬁne leading edges while others form crucial minimum performance ﬂoors in future markets. Their continued roles are welcome and required, even as we hope overtaken by the emergence of a more sustainable economic model overall. We are endlessly grateful to our sponsors — Starbucks, Mars, Brown-Forman and O ce Depot — and many collaborators. We thank too you, the reader, and invite your reactions and feedback. Mark LeeMark LeeExecutive Director, SustainAbilitylee@sustainability.com
Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 4 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Our warm thanks to all who contributed to this project, including:Acknowledgements — Our lead sponsor Starbucks, sponsors Mars and Brown-Forman, and supporting sponsor O ce Depot. We are grateful not only for their ﬁnancial support but for their many intellectual contributions to the research. Special thanks to Ben Packard and Colleen Chapman at Starbucks, Daniel Vennard at Mars, Rob Kaplan at Brown-Forman, and Yalmaz Siddiqui at O ce Depot. — The many dozens of people from businesses, standards-setters, NGOs, government and others who generously shared their insights with us through interviews, ongoing conversations and their own research. Their contributions are woven throughout this report and their names are listed in the Appendix. We also thank KoAnn Skrzyniarz of Sustainable Life Media and Drummond Lawson of Method for hosting roundtable discussions early in the research. — From the SustainAbility Board and Council: Mark Lee for championing the project from the beginning and for reviewing drafts; John Elkington of Volans, Peter Zollinger of Globalance Bank and Geo Lye for inspiration at key points; and Dorothy MacKenzie of Dragon Rouge and Rob Cameron of Fairtrade International for reviewing draft sections. — And our SustainAbility colleagues, particularly Mohammed Al-Shawaf, Frances Buckingham, Marion Chivot, Tom Cousins, Caren Holzman, Geo Kendall and Kyle Whitaker for invaluable support on research, editorial guidance and launch; and a hat tip to Preetum Shenoy and Mark Lee for the title and subtitle. Finally, we thank Rupert Bassett for the report design. Patrin Watanatada Heather Mak November 2011 Patrin Watanatada Heather Mak Director, SustainAbility Manager, SustainAbility email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 5 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels30 second Signed, Sealed… Delivered? explores the value and challenges that businesses ﬁnd in using certiﬁcation andsummary labeling as tools to improve economic, environmental and social outcomes across global value chains. Certiﬁcation, labeling and the standards-setting organizations behind them have been pioneers in building a more sustainable economy. For businesses, they provide a credible, consensus-set reference point for collective action, access to expertise and networks, and can spur demand for certiﬁed or labeled goods. But the very traits — governance and inclusiveness — that make consensus-based standards so useful as credible mechanisms for collective action also pose challenges for businesses seeking to move quickly and to di erentiate themselves in the marketplace. And like any tool, certiﬁcation and labeling have limits — including limits to scale. We conclude that there is a need to deconstruct and evolve the old model that combines standards, certiﬁcation and on-pack marks. Instead we urge a shift towards a new model based upon increasingly demanding and pre-competitive standards, above which brands compete, collaborate and partner with civil society to transform supply chains and consumer norms and behavior, and where civil society and government evolve more e ective and e cient ways of holding business accountable.
Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 6 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Certiﬁcation, labeling and the standards-setting organizations behind them haveExecutive been pioneers in building a more sustainable economy. They’ve made what was once invisible visible, changed societal and consumer norms, given producerssummary access to new markets, promoted multi-stakeholder collaboration, and driven operational changes among businesses and other large buyers. They are now in widespread use as operational tools for business to make purchasing decisions, manage supply, market and sell to B2B and B2C customers, guide employees, and respond to stakeholders and regulators. How well are these schemes working for business? With close to four hundred certiﬁcations and labels and counting in the marketplace, have we reached a point of diminishing returns — both for business and for the sustainability agenda? Our key ﬁndings are summarized below. 1 We recommend that businesses think in terms of deﬁning, delivering, demonstrating and creating demand for better sustainability outcomes across the value chain. We identify four key ways in which businesses have relied on certiﬁcation and labeling that we refer to as the 4Ds: to help them deﬁne criteria for processes, performance or measurement that will result in better sustainability outcomes, to contribute to delivering better sustainability outcomes by providing expertise and on-the-ground relationships, to demonstrate to their business and civil society stakeholders that better sustainability outcomes are being achieved through certiﬁcation, veriﬁcation or some other assurance, and to create or respond to demand for better sustainability outcomes from B2B and B2C customers. Thinking in terms of the 4Ds provides a framework for deciding whether standards, certiﬁcation and/or labeling are most appropriate — and when other tools or relationships might be more powerfully deployed. 2 Businesses have realized most value in working with certiﬁcation and labeling to deliver, demonstrate and meet business-to-business (B2B) demand. They experience both beneﬁt and challenges from deﬁne, and least value of all in creating business-to-consumer (B2C) demand. Working with the consensus-based standards and civil society organizationsThis report has been written primarily behind certiﬁcations and labels gives businesses a credible and shared referencefor consumer brands who work point for collective action, as well as access to expertise and networks.with or are considering working Businesses also ﬁnd value in meeting B2B and institutional demand for certiﬁedwith sustainability certiﬁcation and or labeled goods. However, businesses also experience challenges when theylabeling. We also expect it to be of perceive independent standards to be too low or too slow to change. Whereinterest to organizations working in the businesses experience most challenges and see least value is in working withcertiﬁcation and labeling space seeking certiﬁcation and labeling to create demand from B2C consumers.greater insight into the way in whichbusinesses use them and how they canbecome more e ective partners.
Executive summary Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 7 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels 3 Consensus-based standards embody inherent tensions. Certiﬁcation and labeling have limits — including limits to scale. The very traits — governance and inclusiveness — that make consensus- based standards so useful as credible mechanisms for collective action also pose challenges for businesses seeking to move quickly and to di erentiate. Certiﬁcation, even when used well, is necessarily a snapshot in time and space, while independent labels invite conﬁdence but pose increasing marketing challenges for brands as they proliferate. These challenges will amplify with scale: certiﬁcation cannot reach every farm and factory in the world, while labels alone will not shift the mainstream consumer. 4 Businesses are moving to separate certiﬁcation use from communication. We looked at retailers seeking to simplify complexity for their customers; brands seeking to address supply chain challenges while di erentiating and growing their own brands; and “100% sustainable brands” such as Method or the UK’s Cafédirect are looking both to continue raising the bar on performance and to communicate their leadership positions. There is a wide variety of approaches to inﬂuencing both suppliers and consumers, but we see two trends increasing: (1) Strategic use of independent certiﬁcations and standards to manage supply alongside other mechanisms, combined with (2) unique brand campaigns that create an emotional connection or speak to a “What’s In It For Me” for the consumer, with sustainability certiﬁcations, labels or attributes used back-of-pack (metaphorically or literally). In both cases, the business or brand embraces, rather than outsources, its relationships with its suppliers and consumers. We welcome both of these trends and believe this will lead to more value for both business and for society. 5 We need to deconstruct and evolve the old model that combines standards, certiﬁcation and on-pack labeling in one system. The “classic” sustainability label (think Fairtrade or Energy Star) combines a set of consensus-based standards with service delivery, independent auditing or veriﬁcation, and a product label. This was an inspired and innovative idea at a time when the need was to raise awareness and to develop a common platform for taking action. But as we seek to scale the impact of voluntary standards in order to transform global production and consumption, recognizing that standards, certiﬁcation and labeling do not have to co-exist — and that they are part of a bigger toolbox for inﬂuencing sustainability outcomes — opens up many more possibilities for how business and the voluntary standards movement can work together more e ectively.
Executive summary Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 8 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels 6 The model for the future? Pre-competitive standards, competing (and collaborating) brands and new forms of partnership and accountability. We urge a shift towards a new model based upon increasingly demanding and pre-competitive standards, above which brands compete, collaborate and partner with civil society to embed these standards into business models and to transform supply chains and consumer behavior — and where civil society and government evolve more e ective and e cient ways of holding business accountable. Business will innovate to deliver to outcomes rather than standards, complement certiﬁcation with strong supplier-buyer relationships, and use the power of their brands to delight and mobilize consumers into adopting more sustainable behaviors. In turn, standards will stretch and innovate alongside business, certiﬁcation will be complemented by new mechanisms such as partnerships and national regulation, and labels will fade into a quieter, background role, acting as trust marks for those who seek it and leaving brands — and consumers themselves — to take the lead.
1.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 9 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels In the last ﬁfty years, the value of internationally traded goods has increased fromWhy this research? less than a ﬁfth to more than half of world GDP. A couple of years ago, a shipping container followed by the BBC went twice round the world in a year, stopping at Scotland, Shanghai, Brazil and Los Angeles along the way. Whereas a century ago we might have known where, how and who produced the things we eat, wear and use, in so many instances today all we know is what we’re told. And how can we be sure that what we’re told can be trusted? Enter the sustainability certiﬁcation or label: the independently veriﬁed standard accompanied by an on-pack mark that tells the consumer a product was produced (think Fairtrade or organic) or can be consumed (think nutritional labels or Energy Star) in a more sustainable way. It’s a powerful idea that combines sustainability standards-setting and branding, underpinned by the credibility of an independent body. But 33 years after the world’s ﬁrst sustainability label (Germany’s Blue Angel) appeared, we’re in a di erent, noisier world, where seven billion of us and counting are bumping up against the limits of the planet’s natural resources. A number of trends indicate it’s time to examine the model. Certiﬁcations and labels are everywhere. From Italy’s 100% Green Electricity to New Zealand’s Zque natural wool label, the Ecolabel Index lists 426 certiﬁcations and labels in 25 industry sectors and 246 countries as of November 2011. Around two-thirds of these were developed in the last decade alone, and new schemes continue to arrive. From their origins as civil society and policy initiatives, certiﬁcations and labels have now become important tools for businesses. Our informal review found that most of the ten largest publicly held companies in each of the apparel, carpet, electronics, food & beverage, household & personal care and pulp & paper industries employ certiﬁcations and labels. We expect this trend to continue as more and more businesses set sustainability goals for their value chains and need credible ways both to deliver and to demonstrate that these have been met. It’s not only consumers who are confused — it’s businesses. Nowadays it’s stating the obvious that consumers are confused by the sheer number of certiﬁcations and labels: according to the Natural Marketing Institute, 51% of American consumers think “there are too many green seals and certiﬁcations” and 59% wish there were one over-arching universal seal. But businesses are confused as well.1 In the many conversations we’ve had over the past year, a few questions came up repeatedly: — What are they for? Are they minimum standards that stand in for regulation or leadership guidelines to which to aspire? How do we choose between schemes that cover the same commodity, attribute or category? — What’s the value? Are these best used to manage supply or to build our brands? Is it worth developing our own or better to participate in an existing scheme? Where do we use other tools instead? — What’s the future? Will demand for certiﬁcation and labeling increase or diminish? Will their role change? How will these schemes evolve?
1 .0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 10Why this research? Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Many research initiatives are underway to map the certiﬁcations, labels and standards landscape, understand their impact and develop strategies going forward and many useful tools have been developed to help businesses to navigate this tangle. (See Appendix 1 overview of some of the major research initiatives and tools.) There’s another question, though. As we’ve come to learn, the ﬁrst question to ask isn’t “Which certiﬁcation or label?” Rather, it’s “Why certify or label?” This places the question in the context of other ways available to businesses for improving or communicating sustainability impacts across the value chain. Our intent is to contribute to the debate by exploring the business perspective on certiﬁcation and labels. — How do businesses use these tools to inﬂuence and communicate with their stakeholders? What value and challenges do they experience? — What do businesses need to understand in order to make smarter use of these tools? How can certiﬁcation and labeling initiatives evolve to become more e ective partners and mechanisms? — How should businesses see certiﬁcation and labeling in the context of other ways of inﬂuencing and communicating better economic, environmental and social outcomes? For this report, we have focused on the perspectives of consumer brands and retailers operating in Europe and North America, where certiﬁcation and labeling is relatively advanced. We’ve taken a qualitative approach to our research, undertaking some 85 interviews with businesses, standards-setters, certiﬁers and other expert observers, and supplementing these discussions with desk research and our own point of view. A list of interviewees is included in Appendix 2.
1 .0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 11Why this research? Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond LabelsLabeling is now Examples of companies Labels used in the sector Users of the ten largestcommonplace in many in the sector companies in the sectorconsumer goods industries (Exceptions)Apparel Adidas Organic (cotton) All Nike (Richemont Richemont Rolex) VF CorporationCarpet Beaulieu GreenGuard All Interface NSF 140 Mohawk ShawElectronics Apple Energy Star All LG EPEAT Panasonic SamsungFood & Coca-Cola Fairtrade AllBeverage Kraft Marine Stewardship Council (Anheuser-Busch Nestlé Organic Kirin Holdings) Unilever Rainforest Alliance UTZ CertiﬁedHousehold & Henkel AISE AllPersonal Care Kimberly-Clark Eco-Cert (Procter & Gamble L’Oréal Fairtrade Kao Corporation) Procter & Gamble Nordic Swan OrganicPulp & International Paper Forest Stewardship Council AllPaper Nippon Paper Programme for the (Procter & Gamble) Oji Paper Endorsement of Stora Enso Forest Certiﬁcation Sustainable Forestry Initiative Sustainable Green Ecosystem CouncilSource: SustainAbility research
2.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 12 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels The best certiﬁcations and labels are, ﬁrst and foremost, agents of change.How certiﬁcation They’ve made what was once invisible visible. They’ve created a metaphorical lineand labeling work of sight between production and consumers. They’ve shifted societal and consumer norms, built capacity, given producers access to new markets, promoted multi- stakeholder collaboration and cross-industry alliances, driven operational changes among businesses and other large buyers, and empowered consumers with information. How have they done this? We see four ways in which sustainability certiﬁcation and labeling work to achieve better economic, environmental and social outcomes: 1 Deﬁne standards for better sustainability outcomes. Some specify processes (most), others metrics (Bonsucro). 2 Deliver better sustainability outcomes through capacity-building, expertise, relationships, infrastructure and networks. This is a major feature of the agricultural voluntary standards initiatives, for example. 3 Demonstrate intent or delivery of better sustainability outcomes. Certiﬁcation involves independent checking and assessment, while veriﬁcation generally means some form of veriﬁcation of a manufacturer’s or producer’s own assessment. 4 Create Demand by identifying and appealing to a want or need for the better sustainability outcome among buyers. Some engage in highly active marketing (Fairtrade, Energy Star), while others may do very little (Common Code for the Co ee Community).“Fairtrade was the driving force for getting people to want to know more It’s important to note that there are three conceptually separate mechanisms, about who is producing their co ee which often, but don’t always go together. For example, the ISO 26000 corporate and the conditions under which they’re responsibility standard isn’t a certiﬁcation. producing it. The direct trade model, the competing seals, the development — Standards set requirements to be followed by program participants, often taking of Starbucks CAFÉ Practices, all owe a consensus-based approach. their existence in some sense to — Certiﬁcation provides third party assurance that a product, process or service is Fairtrade.” in conformity with certain standards. Matt Warning — Labeling provides on-pack claims, marks or seals that indicate conformance Professor of Economics, with the standard. 2 University of Puget Sound Consider the following programs, which all combine certiﬁcation, labeling and standards: — Fairtrade (1988) Fairtrade deﬁnes standards for producers in developing countries for better trading conditions and to promote sustainability among products such as handicrafts, co ee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey and cotton. To help deliver on the goal of alleviating poverty and empowering producers, it provides a premium to producers and asserts higher social and environmental standards. To demonstrate the label’s credibility, external bodies certify products against the Fairtrade standard. It aims to inﬂuence demand by partnering with brands and retailers, and by forming a social movement through events like the Fairtrade Fortnight. A label is displayed on pack.
2.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 13How certiﬁcation and labeling work Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels“Intel said to us, ‘If you provide us — Energy Star (1992) Launched by the United States Environmental Protection with a credible measuring stick, we Agency (EPA), the Energy Star label deﬁnes energy usage standards for di erent will innovate and compete on that product categories. The standard is adjusted every few years to allow for standard.’” improvement. To help deliver on this goal, the number of product categories has Wayne Rifer been expanded in partnership with the Department of Energy, the standard has EPEAT Director of Standards also been licensed internationally in partnership with governments, and regular and Product Veriﬁcation, educational campaigns are run. To demonstrate product adherence to standards, Green Electronics Council Energy Star uses licensed Quality Assurance Providers. To inﬂuence demand, it has been embedded into government and other institutional purchasing programs and awareness has been raised through many government partnerships with utilities, state agencies and other organizations. A label is displayed. — Marine Stewardship Council (1997) Launched by WWF and Unilever in 1997, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) deﬁnes through a consensus basis what sustainable ﬁshing practices are for wild-caught ﬁsh and sets a tiered standard which includes performance indicators for ﬁsheries to meet in order to be classiﬁed as sustainable. To help deliver, the MSC provides technical assistance to ﬁsheries. To demonstrate that ﬁsheries have met the standard, they go through an assessment with an accredited third party and are encouraged to improve their performance. To inﬂuence demand, the MSC works with governments and retailers to increase the number of certiﬁed ﬁsheries and increase the points of distribution for products that carry the label, and also works with other organizations to raise awareness about sustainable seafood for consumers. A label is often, but not always, displayed.How standards, certiﬁcation Deﬁne standards Deliver through Demonstrate Inﬂuence Demandand labeling work to achieve for processes, capacity-building, intent or delivery by identifying andbetter sustainability outcomes performance or expertise, relation- through certiﬁcation, appealing to a want measurement ships, infrastructure veriﬁcation or other or need among and networks assurance buyersStandards Codify requirements, often consensus based.Certiﬁcation Provides third-party assurance that a product, process or service is in conformity with certain standards. Often, support the producer or business being certiﬁed in making improvements.Labeling Provides on-pack claims, marks or seals that indicate conformance with the standard and serve to communicate with the buyer or consumer. Sometimes supported by a marketing or public education campaign.
3.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 14 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels If certiﬁcation and labeling started out primarily as ways for NGOs andHow businesses policymakers to deliver change through markets, they’ve now also become widely used by businesses as operational tools: to make purchasing decisions, manageuse certiﬁcation supply, market and sell to B2B and B2C customers, guide employees, and respond to stakeholders and regulators. Consider the following examples.and labeling Suppliers and producers — To make purchasing decisions. Sodexo’s seafood sourcing speciﬁcations includes a commitment to increase its use of standards or labels. — To inﬂuence changes in producer and supplier practices. As a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), IKEA has committed to transitioning all of its cotton to BCI guidelines by 2015. Customers: B2B and institutional — To meet B2B buyer speciﬁcations or reporting requirements. Walmart’s supplier sustainability scorecard asks suppliers to specify any 3rd party labels or certiﬁcations. Other buyers may ask for more general environmental impact reporting, for which a certiﬁcation can serve as a proxy or guide to responding. — To meet government or institutional purchasing speciﬁcations. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games’ Sustainable Sourcing Code requires purchases of Fairtrade and Soil Association-certiﬁed goods. Meanwhile, the Responsible Purchasing Network, whose members include major universities, municipal governments, and non-proﬁt organizations, speciﬁes the usage of various standards and certiﬁcations in the purchase of product categories such as paper, cleaning products and electronics. Customers: B2C — To meet consumer expectations in a particular category. Just about every high street fast food chain in the UK now o ers a certiﬁed co ee. — To support or enhance the brand story. Although it has been working with the Marine Stewardship Council for over ﬁve years, McDonald’s Europe has just begun placing the mark on its ﬁsh sandwich wrappers in part to raise awareness among its consumers, in part to support its shift in brand positioning from ‘fast food’ towards ‘good food, fast.’” Civil society and regulators — To respond to stakeholder pressure. Kimberly-Clark and Mattel both committed to increasing purchases of Forest Stewardship Council-certiﬁed pulp and paper following Greenpeace campaigns. — To report or to respond to regulatory disclosure requirements. The Global Reporting Initiative Food Processing Sector Supplement asks food & beverage companies to report on the percentage of raw materials sourced under third-party standards or certiﬁcation. The French government is piloting a program to require all consumer products and services sold in France to display information about their environmental impacts.
3.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 15How businesses use Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labelscertiﬁcation and labeling Employees — To engage and guide employees. The narrative behind the Cradle to Cradle certiﬁcation has inspired the designers at Steelcase’s Designtex. — To set goals for the business to work towards. Apple designs its MacBook Pro to meet EPEAT Gold environmental criteria.How businesses use sustainabilitycertiﬁcations and labels Civil Gov’ment / Society & Institutional Regulators Customer Respond to Meet purchasing pressure and speciﬁcations disclosure requirementsInﬂuence changes Inﬂuence changes Supportin practices in practices brand storyProducer Supplier Brand Consumers Make purchasing Meet consumer decisions expectations Engage and Meet purchasing guide expectations Employees B2B Customer
1975 Timeline 1 1980 Interest in Ethical Co ee Other initiatives and events Certiﬁcations, labels, and standards 1985 Rainforest Alliance incorporated First Fairtrade label launched / First Fairtrade co ee sold Pricing mechanism of ICA falls apart 1990 National Organic Program established by the USDA1962 International Co ee Agreement created by the UN Association of Co ee Producing Countries formed / Volatility in co ee market due to increased speculation 1995 First Rainforest Alliance co ee farms certiﬁed Signed, Sealed… Delivered? First Sustainable Co ee Congress Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) established Bird friendly Co ee from the Smithsonian released / Starbucks CAFÉ Practices Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels 2000 Rumour of collapse of ACPC / Introduction of Fair trade at Starbucks Co ee crisis UTZ Certiﬁed / International Fairtrade Certiﬁcation / USDA organic / EU organic 4C project set up / Nespresso AAA Programme / Kraft-Rainforest Alliance partnership FLO separation into FLO International and FLO-CERT / Sara Lee-UTZ commitment 2005 4C association o cially set up Sainsburys all own label roast and ground co ee converts to Fairtrade 2010 Nestlé launches Nescafé Plan Fair Trade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance joint statement / Fair Trade USA innovation strategy 16
1975 Clean Water Act in the US / Formation of many marine non-proﬁt organizations Timeline 2 1980 Other initiatives and events Interest in Sustainable Seafood Certiﬁcations, labels, and standards 19851959 Purse seine nets allowed for yellowﬁn tuna 1990 US dolphin safe label / US Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act World Oceans Day / collapse of Newfoundland cod ﬁshery 1995 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? Seafood Choices Alliance formed; Unilever sustainable ﬁsh commitment1972 Stockholm Conference / US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) created / Global Aquaculture Alliance formed Marks & Spencer works with MSC / Monterey Bay Aquarium develops Seafood Watch program MSC label released / Naturland creates standard on organic shrimp Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels 2000 Whole Foods introduces certiﬁed seafood carrying Fish Forever label Best Aquaculture Practices standard created WWF Aquaculture Dialogues to form performance based standards 2005 Ocean Wise label created / Greenpeace start sustainable seafood campaigns Walmart commitment to 100% MSC certiﬁed Mainstreaming of sustainable seafood among large retailers Creation of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) 2010 Mars makes sustainable seafood commitment for pet food Launch of ASC label / WTO says Dolphin safe label is trade restrictive 17
1975 US Congress passes Energy Policy and Conservation Act Timeline 31980 Other initiatives and events Interest in Greener Electronics Certiﬁcations, labels, and standards19851990 EPA starts Energy Star program / TCO launched in Sweden1995 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? EPA-DOE partnership begins for increased Energy Star product categories Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels2000 EPA funds the start of Green Electronics Council / WEEE becomes European law Release of Electronic Industry Code of Conduct2005 Green Electronics Council founded EPEAT system released based on IEEE-1680 Sustainable ICT Forum / GeSI created2010 Shortcomings of Energy Star revealed 18
1975 Timeline 4 1980 Concern grows over chemicals and ﬂame retardants in fabrics Interest in Ethical Apparel Other initiatives and events Certiﬁcations, labels, and standards 19851974 Multi Fibre Agreement created 1990 Levi Strauss & Co ﬁrst code of conduct / Nike child labor news story Beginning of Nike boycotts and campaigning Maquila Solidarity Network formed 1995 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? SA8000 standard created by SAI / Nike code of conduct Ethical Trade Initiative Base Code Saipan sweatshop lawsuit / Fair Labour Association incorporated Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels 2000 “No Logo” brand backlash / WRAP established Peopletree founded Multi Fibre Agreement dismantled / Saipan lawsuit settled / SEDEX, FFC, Madeby formed 2005 BCI, Fairtrade cotton, Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA) created / Nike, Levi’s disclose factory list Walmart makes commitment to organic cotton Gap child labour scandal and announcement of remediation measures Oxfam-Marks & Spencer partnership 2010 Levi’s revises Terms of Engagement / Sustainable Apparel Coalition launch 19
4.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 20 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels We’ve seen that certiﬁcations and labels work to deﬁne, to deliver, to demonstrate Value, challenges and to create or respond to demand for better sustainability outcomes. How e ective are these four Ds from the perspective of business? To ﬁnd out, we asked and implications dozens of brands and retailers: “What value and what challenges do you experience in working with certiﬁcations, labels and standards?”“We’re seeking a sectoral 4.1 Deﬁne standards for processes, performance or measurement transformation — certiﬁcation is a mechanism for that. Big components of Value Challenge this are pre-competitive, and we need “Saves us from re-inventing the wheel.” “The standard’s not the right one.” the rest of the industry to do it too.” “Enables us to raise standards across “The standard doesn’t work for us.” Interviewee the industry.”“One of the problems with developing Working with external standards not only saves work and draws on the expertise labeling criteria based on current of many, but gives businesses a common reference point for collective action. “We technologies is that it could stiﬂe can’t do it unless the rest of the industry comes along as well” was a common innovation. A new technology might statement. actually be better for the environment but not comply with the standards set And as more businesses sign on to a standard, it creates a movement. “I follow — and so not be eligible for a label.” retailers like Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose closely,” says Paul Uys, Julia Hailes vice-president of sustainable seafood at Loblaw, Canada’s largest food retailer. Author of The New Green “Why paddle up a di erent creek?” Consumer Guide But working with external standards poses challenges as well — as almost by deﬁnition, compromise is required. Businesses expressed frustrations with the soundness of criteria (“based on perception or politics, not science”, “popular only because it was the ﬁrst”), the level at which requirements are set (“too low — we can’t di erentiate ourselves”), the ﬁt for the business (“requires us to change our processes for no reason”), or the failure of the standard to adapt to new knowledge or processes (“hampers innovation”).“There is a role for rigorous, prescriptive 4.2 Deliver through capacity-building, expertise, infrastructure and networks certiﬁcation, but not everything needs to be certiﬁed. It depends on the scale Value Challenge of the issues. Certiﬁcations matter “Gives us access to services, expertise “Limits ﬂexibility.” where everyone needs to get behind and a built-in stakeholder network.” the same actions and where there’s signiﬁcant incentive not to get behind Many certiﬁcation and labeling organizations provide access to valuable services, those actions.” experts and local networks. “You’re talking to the world’s best people working on Patrick Laine sustainable agriculture, labor, and so on. We have a lot of expertise on cocoa, but Director of Corporate Relationships, we don’t have it all,” says Alastair Child, global cocoa sustainability director at Mars. WWF-UK But committing to a single standard can limit sourcing ﬂexibility in the case of raw materials standards. It also ties the business to the reputation and viability of the standards-setting organization.
4.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 21Value, challenges and implications Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels“We look to agricultural certiﬁcations 4.3 Demonstrate intent or delivery through certiﬁcation, veriﬁcation and roundtables to provide value in a or other assurance number of ways, and ﬁrst is through governance and transparency on the Value Challenge standard-setting process.” “Credibility and convenience.” “Not enough evidence of impact.” Jan Kees Vis “We can’t get or don’t trust the Global Supply Chain Director, information.” Sustainable Agriculture, Unilever Credibility was the most frequently cited beneﬁt amongst the businesses we spoke“We encourage our top suppliers to get with — a beneﬁt of the involvement of a trusted third party. According to the Natural [EPA] SmartWay certiﬁcation — it’s a Marketing Institute, almost three-quarters of U.S. consumers “admit that it is hard great program, and it helps me in my to know who is telling the truth” about sustainability claims, and over half said “I like reporting.” to see someone else endorse what a company says it does for the environment or Mark Bueltmann society.” 3 Manager of Sustainable Supplier Development, American Electric Power Not only does working with certiﬁcation or labels reduce the risk of making claims, it provides a convenient and fast way of assessing sustainability for those with little time or resource. Retailers with hundreds of products will rely on labels to select their green product sets, and to communicate their beneﬁts quickly to customers. But getting the information can be a challenge — particularly for retailers or manufacturers with little visibility into their supply chains beyond the ﬁrst tier. In other cases, the information may not be reliable. And as more and more businesses report on impacts beyond their operational footprint, they rely on certiﬁcations and labels to serve as a proxy for supply chain impacts. But while measuring outputs such as GHG emissions, acres of FSC-certiﬁed land or volumes of certiﬁed co ee is straightforward, it is far more di cult to measure outcomes — and this is what most are seeking.“There are certain business segments 4.4 Create Demand by identifying and appealing to a want that actively seek out speciﬁc ecolabels or need among buyers in certain product categories.” Yalmaz Siddiqui Value Challenge Senior Director, Environmental “Our consumers and customers expect “It’s just not easy to engage our Strategy, O ce Depot it, and some of them reward it.” consumers on sustainability, and labels don’t di erentiate anymore.”“People are logo’d out.” Drew Tremblay Businesses cited B2B value from the use of certiﬁcations and labels. Many Business Development Manager, governmental, institutional and corporate buyers now have ‘green’ purchasing policies Domtar which reference certiﬁcations and labels. Some businesses are proactively selling on such claims: one manufacturer noted that its raw ingredient suppliers would promote their sustainability certiﬁcations and awards, even without being asked.
4.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 22 Value, challenges and implications Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels But B2C value was harder to ﬁnd. The biggest challenges: “Sustainability is not a top purchase driver, so we don’t have a return on our investment,” “Our customers don’t understand the issues, so they don’t respond to the label,” and “Every brand has a mark — it’s no longer a di erentiator.” Simpler frustrations exist as well: we heard comments such as “Our designers don’t want to use the labels in their design” or “It’s hard to ﬁnd the room to put both required and voluntary information on-pack.” (One person we spoke with noted wryly that cereal companies were at an advantage, with their larger packaging!)“I think these certiﬁcations would like to 4.5 Implications be more dynamic, but they ﬁnd it really hard. These are systems set up ten or What have we learned from these conversations and from past experience? We twenty years ago that are struggling make four general observations: to change due to their governance systems.” 1 Consensus-based standards are good for collaboration, not so good for Scott Poynton di erentiation. Executive Director, The Forest Trust The great strengths of consensus-based standards are governance and“We started the Marine Stewardship inclusiveness, making them valuable to businesses as credible reference points Council not to create a few perfect for moving entire industries. However, these strengths also pose challenges for boutique ﬁsheries, but to create anyone seeking to innovate swiftly or for businesses seeking to di erentiate powerful incentives to move the themselves in the market. entire industry. We set the bar at an intermediate level that will be a stretch By their nature, standards embody tensions. It’s not easy both to be inclusive — but not a holy grail.” and to adapt quickly to new knowledge. And it’s not easy both to meet the needs Michael Sutton of leaders at the same time as drawing in their mainstream counterparts. Vice-President, Monterey Bay Aquarium As Kellie McElhaney of the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California, Berkeley says, “Sustainability is a team sport — you really do have to have everyone in the room. [But] sometimes you drop to the lowest common denominator, and it’s below where some companies are in their programs. This can slow things down for the most sustainability-minded folks.” 2 Certiﬁcation is necessarily a snapshot in time and in space — and the solution is not more or better inspections. Certiﬁcation inspections and auditing, if done well in a spirit of supplier capacity- building and sharing responsibility for problems between supplier and buyer, can be important tools for uncovering challenges and supporting suppliers in instituting better practices. But too many audits place burdens on producers and suppliers, and if used at arms-length are at best a blunt instrument and at worst a way for brands to outsource responsibility. Said one social auditing expert we spoke with, “The amount of time and e ort spent on monitoring doesn’t seem to result in enough return on investment. It’s not that brands don’t want to drive change. But there are just too many factories and not enough resources.”
4.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 23Value, challenges and implications Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Nor is the solution more or better audits. There’s a deeper limitation related to the systemic nature of social and environmental challenges. Take agricultural certiﬁcation. “Certiﬁcation by deﬁnition is at farm-level,” says Andrew Bovarnick, global head of the United Nations Development Programme’s Green Commodities Initiative. “The farm might have the best forest stewardship and water management practices, but if that farm is surrounded by a landscape with deforestation and water contamination, there will be minimal environmental sustainability. It’s a di cult one for certiﬁcation schemes to deal with.”“Everyone wants a label — but very few 3 Labels preach to the converted — but are limited in what they do for the rest. people can point to hard evidence that shows that this is making an impact Labels work (and are often required and regulated) where people are motivated on consumer purchasing above and to look for them: consider the plethora of on-pack labels that address nutritional beyond that niche group who will content, allergens, alcohol content, safety, and so on. But how well do they work always seek it out.” to sell more distant concerns that are rarely the ﬁrst purchase driver for all but a Luke Upchurch niche few? Head of Communications & External A airs, Consumers International For the less converted majority — or even the converted but busy — labels won’t make much of a dent. One person told us that eye-tracking technology show that“Labels don’t work so well anymore. consumers spend mere seconds looking at any label, let alone a sustainability You need a softer, more open label. And recognition for most seals remains relatively low — although in relationship that connects the some cases, that is changing. For example, according to the Natural Marketing consumer to our story.” Institute’s 2011 data, 42% of American consumers recognize Rainforest Alliance, Jean-Marie Shields 26% LEED and 19% Forest Stewardship Council, although 95% recognize Global Brand Director, Energy Star and 76% recognize USDA Certiﬁed Organic 4 — both of which are Starbucks associated with strong “What’s In It for Me?” factors. The biggest opportunity now is to shift the behavior of “light- or mid-green consumers” — those who care about sustainability, but who also place a high premium on price and convenience. And for this, we’ll need something more than a label. As Dara O’Rourke of GoodGuide says, “Our data shows that there is a much greater market for sustainable products than is currently being captured — but the current system of four hundred logos is not a winning strategy for capturing that market potential. People need to connect to this information in an almost emotional way, the way they do with some brands and retailers.” Retailers are well-placed to step in. According to an October 2011 GlobeScan/ SustainAbility survey, three-quarters of experts surveyed ranked “retailer’s brand or reputation” as having a “high” or “very high” inﬂuence on their purchase decisions — almost as high as “independently veriﬁed sustainability labels.” 5
4.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 24Value, challenges and implications Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels“We’ve created a model that has 4 And ﬁnally, certiﬁcation and labeling face limits to scale. delivered real results in the market and in the ﬁeld — but the coupling of We cannot certify every factory and farm in the world. standards-setting with labeling might not be sustainable into the future. Agricultural certiﬁcation illustrates this challenge emphatically. “At the moment, The standards-setting process should certiﬁcation is the only process we have, but at some point we’ll have to jump stand the test of time, but labeling to a completely di erent mechanism,” states Jan Kees Vis, global director of and certiﬁcation might be replaced by sustainable agriculture at Unilever. “We’re not going to certify every farmer better models.” in the world, we can’t create a roundtable for every raw material.” Andrew Dr. Alan Knight Bovarnick of the UNDP’s Green Commodities Facility shares this view, Founder, Single Planet Living noting that another “massive challenge is maintaining the rigor of auditing as certiﬁcation schemes become more popular and the numbers of farmers getting“For consumers, trust marks have certiﬁed increases.” run a course where they now lack di erentiation in a sea of competition. Nor can we label everything in the world. The onus is on marketers to ﬁgure out how to engage, inspire, and delight — Understandably, the goal of certiﬁcation and labeling organizations is to see beyond slapping a label on-pack. The widespread take-up of the label. Yet, the more brands carry these marks, the [packaging] real estate is so limited, less the consumer is likely to notice, and the less of a di erentiator they become and the consumer impact is so in for any one brand. This makes the investment much harder to justify for a doubt.” business if the expectation is to di erentiate, to increase sales or to secure a Rob Kaplan price premium from the consumer. Manager of Corporate Responsibility, Brown-Forman And there’s another, perhaps less obvious, cost to labeling. In order to ensure that product claims match product practices you need traceability: connecting the product to actual practices at origin and along the supply chain. Traceability can have many beneﬁts from food safety to more e cient supply chains, but segregating certiﬁed product — especially a commodity that is processed and mixed along the chain — all the way through the supply chain is hugely expensive. Is it worth the cost of communicating what the consumer may not reward? “Traceability can add value, especially when communicating to consumers, but we must recognize that resources spent on traceability can limit those available for farm level programs,” observes sustainability strategy and supply chain consultant Liz Muller. “Why not just fund the change?”
5.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 25 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels How will certiﬁcation and labeling need to evolve to accelerate more sustainableRecommendations modes of production and consumption as seven billion of us and counting bump up against the limits of the planet’s natural resources? This is a question that some standards-setters are looking at. The International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling (ISEAL) Alliance, the global association for social and environmental standards which includes Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance and Social Accountability International among its 19-strong membership, has just launched the recommendations of its “Scaling Up Strategy,” which includes leveraging the support of key external actors, increasing producer and enterprise access to standards, and increasing the e ectiveness and e ciency of standards systems. Businesses, too, will need to evolve their approach to certiﬁcation and labeling. We o er three proposals. 5.1 De-construct the classic model — and rebuild The “classic” sustainability label (think Fairtrade or Energy Star) combines a set of consensus-based standards with services delivery, independent auditing or veriﬁcation, and a product label. This was an inspired and innovative idea at a time when the need was to raise awareness and to develop a common platform for taking action. But as we seek to scale their impact in order to transform global production and consumption, thinking in terms of a more ﬂexible model where standards, certiﬁcation and labeling do not have to co-exist — and are instead seen as part of a bigger toolbox for inﬂuencing sustainability outcomes — opens up many more possibilities for how business and the voluntary standards movement can work together more e ectively.How do we scale?Green consumers How do we reach the rest?17–19% 5Certiﬁed world supply ofvarious commodities<20% 6
5.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 26 Recommendations Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels 5.2 Know the value, manage expectations — and partner Know the value. There is signiﬁcant value, but it will come from managing supply, managing risk, supporting brand value and reputation, engaging employees or access to B2B markets. For many categories, the value is unlikely to come from brand di erentiation, increased B2C sales or price premiums. Many people we spoke — from both businesses and standards-setters — acknowledged that from a B2C perspective, the window of di erentiation has closed in many categories. Manage expectations. “I do think managing expectations is critical,” says Patrick Mallet, credibility director at ISEAL Alliance. “Certiﬁcation can be an e ective tool to deliver sustainability but it needs to be applied in coordination with other tools like regulation and ﬁnancial incentives.” One area where managing expectations is especially important is measurement. Linking certiﬁcation or labeling and improvements in social and environmental outcomes “is di cult because it requires the researcher to unwind the speciﬁc impacts of the certiﬁcation from an uncontrolled, dynamic environment with complex feedback loops.” 8 We may need to do more with directional and qualitative forms of impact measurement. Happily, stories are e ective in engaging not only consumers, but also employees and others working in the ﬁeld. Partner. The relationship needs to be a partnership, not a transaction — on both sides. Businesses must not outsource their responsibilities and relationships to a certiﬁcation or label. Indeed, increasingly businesses are seeing certiﬁcations as delivery partners. “Companies are asking us, ‘How can you help us to deliver on the ground? How do we dig in with you to look at our productivity and quality concerns, and how does this align with your agenda to improve farmer incomes?’” says Rob Cameron of Fairtrade International.“We know that the big challenges 5.3 Join forces to create demand are around making more signiﬁcant changes in how we do things on a Finally, brands and voluntary standards will need to ﬁgure out how best to work systemic level. This creates an agenda together to create demand. for brands that is about empowering citizen-consumers — helping us to “Labels have done a lot to increase issue salience and awareness, but they don’t live in the right way overall rather than necessarily do a lot to change consumer behavior,” says Michael Sutton, who co- just making speciﬁc decisions about founded the Marine Stewardship Council and now runs Monterey Bay Aquarium’s speciﬁc products.” Seafood Watch. “Our extensive consumer research shows there isn’t a strong Dorothy MacKenzie correlation between awareness and behavior change.” Chairman, Dragon Rouge Brands, who hold the relationship with consumers, will need to do much more“Our biggest ‘competitor’ is to deploy their insight into consumer behavior and marketing know-how, while misinformation and greenwashing — certiﬁcations will need to continue to establish trust and raise awareness of their this erodes trust in all labels. I’ve seen issues while recognizing the challenges that too much focus on labels poses for enough green leaves in the past few brands. years to ﬁll a forest.” Josh Jacobs Director of Marketing, GreenGuard
6.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 27 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels We see a shift towards a new model, based on the essential foundation set byEmerging good certiﬁcation, standards and labeling.practice Business will innovate to deliver to outcomes rather than standards, complement certiﬁcation with strong supplier-buyer relationships, and use the power of their brands to delight and mobilize consumers into adopting more sustainable behaviors. In turn, standards will stretch and innovate alongside business, certiﬁcation will be complemented by new mechanisms such as partnerships and national regulation, and labels will fade into a quieter, background role, acting as trust marks for those who seek it and leaving brands — and consumers themselves — to take the lead. In moving in this direction, the businesses we looked at are using certiﬁcation, labeling and standards increasingly strategically based on what works for them, their supply chain and their customers. And notably, many are moving towards communicating sustainability through their brands. Below we highlight some ways in which businesses are making more e ective use of these tools to deﬁne, deliver, demonstrate and inﬂuence demand for better sustainability outcomes.When to use a certiﬁcation, label or We saw earlier that businesses use Is it any wonder that no single tool canstandard? It depends... certiﬁcation, labeling and standards do it all? Instead of going straight to the as tools to engage with suppliers, B2B certify or label route, businesses must customers, B2C consumers, regulators, consider each of their key stakeholder NGOs and employees. Consider how groups (as outlined in section 3) and di erent the motivations and needs of ask, “For this stakeholder, what is the these di erent stakeholders are: best way to deﬁne, deliver, demonstrate — Suppliers need a business case, and/or inﬂuence demand for better capacity-building and the ability to sustainability outcomes?” make gradual changes. — B2B customers seek credible but easy Sometimes the answer will be a ways to make purchasing decisions. standard, certiﬁcation or label — and — B2C consumers respond to “what’s in sometimes, it won’t be. We ﬁnd it for me” (WIIFM) and an engaging, that the value of using a standard, memorable story. certiﬁcation or label versus another — Regulators may be responding to approach (be it an industry forum, constituent perception or political bespoke standard, NGO partnership, winds. direct sourcing relationship or a brand — NGOs want to see participatory campaign) di ers widely depending governance and evidence of impact. on the business, the product category, — Employees need actionable guidance the supply chain and the competitive and an inspiring narrative. landscape.
6.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 28 Emerging good practice Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels“Ten years ago, we didn’t want to use Deﬁne. Know what matters to your business, and deploy the best tool. external standards — we felt it would dilute our brand. [But] with time, we’ve Companies are now making signiﬁcant e orts to understand their value chain recognized that the cost and agony hotspots and the company’s own values in order to identify the most material areas of developing your own standards far — rather than trying to cover everything. Certiﬁcations and standards apply to outweigh the beneﬁts. It’s too much speciﬁc points during production, are best used where it’s important to coordinate e ort, and people don’t always trust with others, and need to be complemented by life-cycle thinking. Key elements of it. We’re now on a journey that says, this include: ‘Certiﬁcation is important, but it’s got to be wrapped round with what’s unique to — Stretch goals based on outcomes, not on the means of getting there. These M&S.’ ” goals do not link to any one certiﬁcation or label (and may not even link to Mike Barry labeling or to certiﬁcation as a mechanism), though certiﬁcation or labeling may Head of Sustainable Business play roles in achieving them. For example, Nestlé and Sainsbury’s have both set Marks & Spencer goals to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. Timberland includes simple but powerful goals (bolstered by more speciﬁc indicators): “Protect the Outdoors, Innovate Cradle-to-Cradle Design, Improve Workers’ Lives.” — A set of company-speciﬁc principles to govern the business’s use of certiﬁcation or labels. Both Mars and Unilever are actively engaged with certiﬁcations for their biggest agricultural commodity inputs, but do so through company-speciﬁc unifying frameworks. Mars, which has committed to 100% certiﬁcation targets for both cocoa and palm oil, has deﬁned a set of Certiﬁcation Requirements, while Unilever, which has committed more generally to ‘sustainably sourced’, has developed its own Sustainable Agriculture Code against which it benchmarks third party standards.“Big companies should be more Deliver. Recognize and embrace your roles and responsibilities as a business. connected to their production base. Not delegating all the work to NGOs, Whether it’s partnering or embedding the principles behind standards into the but having teams on the ground, being business, the work does not stop with choosing the standard. engaged with producers, co-operatives, governments.” — Ensuring the standard is a beginning, not an end. This means staying connected Andrew Bovarnick to supplier and consumer relationships through teams on the ground and direct Global Head consumer engagement on the issues, rather than outsourcing these relationships UNDP Green Commodities Facility to a certiﬁcation or label. — Partnering with certiﬁcations and standards on key issues. Businesses are increasingly seeing certiﬁcation and standards bodies as delivery partners, working with them in areas where they themselves can lend expertise. Starbucks worked closely with LEED to develop standards for retail stores and with Fairtrade on helping farmers to improve the quality of their beans through cupping sessions and other support. Kimberly-Clark sits on the board of the Forest Stewardship Council. — Pooling internal resources. Internal collaboration was crucial for the businesses we spoke with, with sustainability, procurement and technical teams working closely together to prepare for changing the supply chain. Costs were also shared across the business, with the investment in a certiﬁcation or label shared rather than ‘charged’ to any one product or brand.
6.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 29Emerging good practice Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels“The trick is getting the designers Demonstrate. Think assessment and development, not auditing. Create feedback and formulators to think about loops from disclosure. environmental impact up front. That’s a cultural shift that every company has to — Going beyond auditing. Leading brands have shifted from an auditing/policing go through.” to a supplier development mindset. They are working with suppliers to make Christine Kennedy the business case for them to take ownership of better labor standards, and Skin R&D Sustainability Manager, assessing the impact of their own purchasing practices or design processes on Unilever factory working conditions. “We talk about ethical sourcing in terms of ‘how we treat our suppliers’ as a fundamental distinction,” says Virginia Bergin, ethical sourcing manager at Starbucks. Said one expert we spoke with, “Use audits to assess a factory and build a relationship that allows the factory to feel comfortable admitting their issues, uncover all the dozens of symptoms that need to be addressed, but worry only about the very few root causes and work with the factory to build capacity on HR processes, grievance processes. This is the only model that can drive systemic change.” — Feeding information back into design. Method and Timberland have both developed their own supplier tools to reﬂect their standards and to enable capacity-building, but align with third party supplier scorecards and codes where possible and useful. Both use product standards intended primarily as design tools, and only secondarily as communications or assessment tools. The Sustainable Apparel Index, building on work done by Timberland and Nike, is now developing cross-industry tools for better design. Meanwhile, InterfaceFLOR is pioneering the use of third party veriﬁed Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) — quantitative declarations of product ingredients and environmental impacts based on a life-cycle analysis. The goal is both to share product information in a consistent and transparent way as well as to feedback into the company’s design processes.“Sustainability shouldn’t change what Demand. Engage well beyond the label. Communicate what makes sense for your you’re known for as a brand — it should brand. Make it easy for consumers and customers to make better choices. support it.” Annie Longsworth Businesses and brands can simplify the complex, make it easier to make decisions, President, San Francisco & Global and create distinctive brand campaigns that engage consumers while drawing on Sustainability Practice, Cohn & Wolfe certiﬁcation as a reason to believe. Technology opens up entirely new possibilities to connect consumers to production — both in-store and online.“Starbucks has a payment app that tells the customer where her co ee is from. — Flexible communication on sustainability that supports the brand story and I’d love to see it also tell the farmer leads with issues that resonate with consumers. Sustainability is only rarely where her co ee is going.” the ﬁrst purchase driver, with value, reliability and quality almost always higher Dervala Hanley on the list. And customers can only take in so many messages at one time. So Vice-President, Corporate Initiatives & communication on sustainability is increasingly playing a supporting, brand- Planning, Starbucks speciﬁc role. Jack Cunningham of Sainsbury’s calls this ‘sustainability by stealth,’ while Beth Holzman of Timberland calls it a ‘gift with purchase.’ The key is to support the brand. For example, BMW’s electric vehicle sub-brand, BMWi, positions itself as a premium, highly-engineered solution for customers worried about rising gas prices and others in search of sustainable mobility solutions.
6.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 30Emerging good practice Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels — Public relations and cause marketing. Once regarded as a less credible alternative to independent sustainability labeling, engaging with consumers through PR or via cause marketing can be far more e ective both in telling a story and in driving sales — although a independent mark still matters for credibility. Marks & Spencer has created a Forever Fish campaign that adds a consumer communications layer to its Marine Stewardship Council commitment, including a Schools of Fish education program for schoolchildren. — Mobile and social technologies that connect the dots across the value chain and the ‘social graph’. GoodGuide’s new Amazon toolbar allows shoppers to consider price and quality alongside sustainability information. Says Dara O’Rourke, co-founder of GoodGuide: “A city may have an environmentally preferable purchasing program and want to buy Greenseal cleaning products — but the janitors won’t use it if it doesn’t work. So you’ve got to bring in quality through user reviews.” Energy e ciency software provider Opower has launched a Facebook app to get customers to change their energy consumption habits. Fairtrade Foundation is testing direct SMS and video connections between producers and consumers. — Curation. The chic sister to ‘choice-editing’, curation means not only limiting the choices available to consumers, but helping consumers to see the value of that limited experience. eBay’s World of Good site deﬁnes a set of environmental and social attributes but draws extensively on third party certiﬁcation, labeling and a network of “Trust Providers” to back up claims. Start-up Blissmo delivers an appealing monthly box of organic and environmentally preferable products. — Post-purchase engagement. This deepens the brand’s engagement with consumers and, where appropriate, does a better job of hitting at hotspots. Levi’s ask their users to wash jeans less often to save water. Patagonia has changed the game with its “Buy Less, Buy Used” campaign that encourages consumers to buy used Patagonia gear on eBay.
6.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 31Emerging good practice Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond LabelsWhat businesses would like to see More explicit recognition of baseline Faster decision-making and adapting tofrom standards versus leadership. At present, few new knowledge. Standards systems are standards acknowledge that they target well aware of this need, and it is reﬂected the mainstream via a minimum bar in the new ISEAL strategy. As Dr. Sasha — the Common Code for the Co ee Courville of the ISEAL Alliance has said: Community is one notable exception “We have to ensure the integrity of the for being fully transparent in this governance systems and ensure the regard. We will need some standards to multi-stakeholder balance but we also deﬁne leading edges and others to form need to be able to go fast, so what does crucial minimum performance ﬂoors this new form of democratic governance in future markets, but businesses will look like?” 9 As we went to press, the need to know which is which. global Fairtrade system announced that producer representation in the Fairtrade Reward businesses for better General Assembly would increase to performance. According to the 50%, a move that Fairtrade considers Ecolabel Index, just over two-thirds of likely to increase the speed of decision- labels use a pass-fail system and fewer making.10 than one-ﬁfth use tiers — making it di cult for high-performing businesses More collaboration. This is beginning to di erentiate themselves. to happen amongst some of the bigger standard-setters. Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Utz Certiﬁed, who all certify cocoa, co ee and tea, announced in February 2011 that they were working together to reduce the level of complexity and cost for farmers and to seek further cooperation in the ﬁeld.11
Case Study 1 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 32 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Approach to cocoa supplyMars Mars prioritizes its commodities by asking itself the following questions: “HowEnsuring a important is the commodity to our business? How big is the threat or opportunity? How big is our ability to inﬂuence it?”sustainable Says Alastair Child, global cocoa sustainability director, “Chocolate is our longest-supply of cocoa established segment. What keeps us up at night is, ‘How do we get cocoa thirty or forty years from now?’ And we buy a lot of cocoa, so we’re heard. All these three things come together for us on cocoa.” “We chose to go with certiﬁcation because we think this is what will scale. We want this to be a pre-competitive e ort. What we don’t want to see is any one group of farmers ‘getting lucky’ because they happen to be in a particular company’s supply chain. We want to get to a base level of support services.” Mars chooses the certiﬁcations it works with based on a set of Certiﬁcation Principles that reﬂects what Mars considers to be most important to cocoa production and livelihoods: productivity and labor. This gives Mars ﬂexibility to use di erent certiﬁcation schemes — which it believes is needed in order to achieve its goal of sourcing 100% certiﬁed cocoa by 2020.Mars & Cocoa Deﬁne Deliver Demonstrate DemandIn-house Mars Certiﬁcation Cocoa Development Cocoa Cause Requirements Centers & Village Sustainability marketing Cocoa Centers BlogPartnership or IBM/USDAcollaboration partnership, World Cocoa Foundation membershipThird-party UTZ Certiﬁed, Certiﬁcation incertiﬁcations, labels Rainforest Alliance, certain marketsor standards Fairtrade
Case Study 1 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 33 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Approach to engaging consumers Di erent Mars brands use cocoa sourced via di erent certiﬁcation schemes. Mars Inc. buys the cocoa and the brands request the supply they want. Maltesers in the UK has switched to Fairtrade, while Germany’s Balisto bar uses Utz Certiﬁed cocoa, and UK’s best-selling Galaxy and Australian Mars Bars use Rainforest Alliance cocoa. Mars is exploring and innovating ways to engage the consumer in certiﬁcation. Says Daniel Vennard, global sustainability director brands, “We want to use our marketing know-how to engage millions of consumers in these causes in a way that also helps grow the brands.” In the UK, the Galaxy brand included Rainforest Alliance in one of its TV campaigns whilst in Australia the recent Mars Bar certiﬁcation was communicated via PR. In Germany the Balisto brand, a cereal- based bar with a ‘natural’ feel, created a successful distinctive campaign (associated with its UTZ certiﬁed cocoa) that planted one cocoa tree in Africa for every pack sold.
Case Study 2 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 34 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Approach to sourcingNestlé As the world’s largest food & beverage company, Nestlé has major buying powerResponsible and a 140-year history of developing supplier relationships and in-house expertise.Sourcing Platform Nestlé has decided not to place third party certiﬁcation at the center of either its approach to supply management or sustainability communications. Instead, Nestlé emphasizes its own responsible sourcing platform that combines in-house plans, guidelines, codes and capacity-building teams for key commodities and suppliers plus NGO partnerships and industry collaborations. For palm oil, Nestlé is working with The Forest Trust to go beyond RSPO commitments, to understand the palm oil supply chain and to build transparency on areas of impact. Says Duncan Pollard, Sustainability Advisor at Nestlé: “First, certiﬁcation standards are a negotiated compromise which often leaves them weak in some areas, and by providing a comprehensive approach they often lack the ability to make an impact on the truly di cult issues. Second, di erent schemes also deliver upon di erent outcomes, which are often poorly understood at the consumer level. Finally, they are not making a substantive impact at a smallholder level.”Nestlé Deﬁne Deliver Demonstrate DemandIn-house Cocoa Plan, Responsible Cocoa Plan website Communication on Nescafé Plan, Sourcing Platform, Cocoa Plan Nespresso AAA Agricultural Service Team, Cocoa and Nescafé PlansPartnership or AIM-PROGRESS NGO partnershipscollaboration SAI Platform, and endorsements partnerships with Rainforest Alliance and TFTThird-party Common Code for Certiﬁcation incertiﬁcations, labels the Co ee Community, certain marketsor standards Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Case Study 2 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 35 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Says Stefan Canz of Nestlé’s Corporate Agriculture division: “We have to take into consideration the structural challenges the farmers are facing.” As part of the Nescafé Plan, the company is supplying high-yield plantlets to replace ageing, low- yield trees. Certiﬁcation schemes do not cover this aspect, and if yields decline in the long run because of ageing trees, co ee growing won’t be economically viable anymore. Nestlé does see certiﬁcation as a useful yardstick. “For us, the role of certiﬁcation is to verify whether we’ve been able to meet the commitments we’ve set. Certiﬁcation is not an end point: it’s verifying that we’re on the right journey,” says Pollard. Nestlé also works in partnership with certiﬁcation bodies to tap into their expertise to create impact for farmers — not necessarily buying co ee certiﬁed to that standard. “With the Nescafé Plan, we worked with Rainforest Alliance because we thought, ‘There’s a lot we can learn from your environmental knowledge and increasing social standard — but you should work with us because of our ground linkages to the farmers and the impact our supply chain will have on farmers’,” says Stefan Canz. Approach to engaging consumers Nestlé sees standards from an operational perspective rather than a consumer communications perspective. In some cases, highly visible ingredients such as cocoa are marketed through the brands, while palm oil is dealt with at a corporate level only. Nestlé uses on-pack certiﬁcation where there is strong consumer demand, as with Fairtrade Kit Kat in the UK and Ireland.
Case Study 3 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 36 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Deﬁning greenO ce Depot As a reseller facing a range of competing deﬁnitions of ‘environmentally sustainable’Clarifying ‘greener’ across its stakeholders, O ce Depot has created a system to clarify the idea of ‘greener.” “There are certain business segments that actively seek out speciﬁc ecolabels in certain product categories, other segments that seek environmental attributes such as ‘recycled’ or ‘non toxic’ without requiring an ecolabel, and most others that are simply confused by the array of deﬁnitions and approaches to ‘green’,” says Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental strategy. O ce Depot’s GreenerO ce™ Ratings classiﬁes o ce products as ‘light green’, ‘mid-green’ or ‘dark green’ depending on their environmental attributes (e.g. recycled), speciﬁcations (e.g. 10%, 30%, 100% recycled) or ecolabels (e.g. Greenseal, to validate the recycled content). In all cases, items rated must deliver one or more of the following environmental beneﬁts versus typical alternatives in the category: saved resources or lower waste, saved energy or lower emissions, and use of safer chemicals.O ce Depot Deﬁne Deliver Demonstrate DemandIn-house GreenerO ce Customer education ratings system and reporting services, ‘Nutritional Label’ and other on- pack messagingPartnership orcollaborationThird-party Wide range ofcertiﬁcations, labels certiﬁcations andor standards labels
Case Study 3 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 37 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels “One big challenge is to deﬁne what’s greener: a product with a high degree of one attribute, such as Energy Star’s ‘Most E cient’ standard, versus a similar item that may not be as stringent on the single attribute, but has multiple environmental attributes, such as slight energy e ciency along with non-toxicity and recyclability,” says Siddiqui. “There is no clear answer. It depends on the product’s hotspots and on what the customer cares about.” Deciding what constitutes light, mid- or dark green is an ongoing journey. “We revise our deﬁnitions based on stakeholder input and new insights,” says Siddiqui. “For example, bio-based products are designated ‘green’ by the US federal government, so we decided to include corn-based products in our rating system. Since then we’ve seen a rise in the food versus fuel or products debate, and new life-cycle analyses imply corn may not be that great an alternative to synthetic materials. As such, we’re re-evaluating where corn ﬁts into our system.” Selling green To encourage customers to buy greener, O ce Depot puts a lot of emphasis on deﬁning the “What’s In It for Me” (WIFM) associated with environmentally sustainable choices. It does so by educating customers on the economic, health and other beneﬁts of greener choices, and it includes a WIFM for every attribute in its GreenerO ce Ratings. The company has also made a signiﬁcant investment in providing greener purchasing reports to major customers. Says Jackie Buckwell, UK Environmental Manager: “The reports show trends over time and assist customers to set targets.” One strategic question O ce Depot has struggled with is whether to have a dedicated ‘green’ private label, or to incorporate green attributes and ecolabels across a wider range of private label products. Having initially launched a separate brand, O ce Depot Green, a question kept arising: should new SKUs with environmental attributes or ecolabels be branded as O ce Depot Green or placed under the existing private labelfor that category? O ce Depot has now decided to move towards a consistent approach to designate ‘greenness’ across products in all its own brands. It does this through use of a consistent design identity and environmental attribute icons.
Case Study 4 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 38 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Approach to designTimberland A medium-sized, global apparel brand with a long-standing commitment toEnvironmental leadership on social and environmental performance, Timberland began by developing its own product labels and supplier standards and encouraging industrysustainability and wide collaboration for greater scale.factory working “As a company very committed to transparency — we’d been doing GRI reporting for years — we asked, why wasn’t there the same type of information on ourconditions products as you’d see on a box of cereal in a grocery store?” says Beth Holzman, Timberland’s Manager of CSR, of the company’s famous Nutrition Label. The label, ﬁrst launched in 2006, appears on every box of Timberland footwear and provides consumers with information about the company’s environmental performance. Now, the company has developed a product-speciﬁc Green Index rating, which scores a product on its climate impact, chemical use and resource consumption — the three most material environmental impacts of a Timberland shoe according to life-cycle analysis. Timberland’s goal is to score all of its footwear products by the end of 2012. Says Holzman, “We wanted the Green Index to do two things: ﬁrst, to become an internal design tool, second to empower consumers to make better purchasing decisions.”Timberland Deﬁne Deliver Demonstrate DemandIn-house Green Index, Quarterly calls Nutrition Label, Timberland Code and reporting Earthkeepers of Conduct and Campaign Assessment Questions, In-house assessment teamPartnership or Leather Workingcollaboration Group, OIA Eco Working Group, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, GSCPThird-party OIA Eco Indexcertiﬁcations, labels (in future) GSCPor standards Environmental Module
Case Study 4 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 39 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels So far, the Green Index has been more successful as a design tool. “As we get more information about the environmental impact of our products, we’ve been able to give our designers the information they need to make better decisions at the start of the design process.” But driving consumer preference through the Green Index has been more di cult. Although Timberland has received stakeholder and consumer kudos for its innovative transparency, there is little evidence that the Green Index has driven sales. “Without comparability between our boots and our competitors’ boots, you can’t fully get there,” says Holzman. “That’s why we are working with the Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to develop an industry- wide index.” “We know that no one’s banging on our door to ask for a cool green shoe. So we consider our environmental attributes to be a ‘gift with purchase.’ It does help to di erentiate us in the marketplace, but it’s the fundamental quality and value attributes that attract the consumer.” Approach to supply Timberland also uses its own assessment questionnaire for suppliers, based on ILO conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Timberland’s own sta serve as factory assessors. Where appropriate, it is beginning to align with other standards. “Unfortunately there isn’t yet the equivalent of the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct for the apparel industry,” says Holzman. “We were one of the ﬁrst companies to move away from the compliance, checklist model — we train our assessors to be partners and capacity-builders and to go beyond factory walls. “We were also one of the ﬁrst companies to integrate environmental management into the process, so we didn’t want to align with standards that don’t reﬂect this. Last year we adopted the Global Social Compliance Programme’s environmental management module, which aligns with our priorities. We want to create e ciencies among all the brands asking suppliers for assessment information.”
Case Study 5 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 40 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels The UK’s ﬁrst Fairtrade hot chocolate and co ee brand, Cafédirect was formed byCafédirect ethical NGOs Traidcraft, Oxfam, Equal Exchange & Twin Trading after the co ee crisis in 1989. As a pre-cursor to the Fairtrade Foundation UK, Cafédirect’s portfolio100% Fairtrade has been 100% Fairtrade from the start, and much of its early life was spent helping to build out Fairtrade as a movement and a mark. But as the Fairtrade market has grown over the last decade and a half, Cafédirect has faced competition from newer Fairtrade players such as supermarket private label and big roasters. These brands are both less expensive due to di erent procurement models and scale (especially private label) and, some say, may have further to go on the Fairtrade journey. “Fairtrade is a starting point but not an end in itself,” says Cafédirect impact & sustainability manager Whitney Kakos. “You can have a whole aisle of Fairtrade- certiﬁed products and the consumer sees them all the same way – despite there being some major di erences between the brands.” Cafédirect has gone ‘beyond Fairtrade’ by embedding fair trade principles into its business model through its Gold Standard (which, among other things, speciﬁes that at least one-third of proﬁts be re-invested in the supply chain), governance model (producers sit on the Cafédirect board and own shares), and Producer Partnership Programmes. Besides establishing this point of di erentiation, Cafédirect’s other challenge is appealing to the majority of roast & ground co ee buyers who buy primarily on taste, packaging and price. So Cafédirect’s ﬁrst consumer message is quality and taste, and its supporting message is a strong focus on relationships with producers and ‘direct’ procurement, playing o its name.Cafédirect Deﬁne Deliver Demonstrate DemandIn-house Cafédirect Producer Partner- Reporting against Cafédirect Gold Standard ship Programmes, Gold Standard KPIs marketing, Cafédirect govern- Friends of ance structure, Cafédirect Direct procurement NetworkPartnership orcollaborationThird-party Fairtrade,certiﬁcations, labels Soil Associationor standards organic
Case Study 6 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 41 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Approach to designing sustainability into the businessMethod As a household & personal care brand founded on a commitment to sustainability,Cradle to Cradle Method approaches certiﬁcation ﬁrst and foremost as a design tool. This works because its certiﬁcation of choice — the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certiﬁed program based on Michael Braungart and William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle approach to design — is both a design vision and an externally audited design process. As part of the product development process, Method sends every proposed ingredient to McDonough and Braungart’s environmental research institute and design ﬁrm for review. The Cradle to Cradle certiﬁcation also helps Method to tell its story to both its retail customers and its more eagle-eyed consumers. “Retailers are looking for external validation to help them feel conﬁdent that they’re not greenwashing by putting a product in their green set,” says Drummond Lawson, Method’s green giant (aka director of sustainability). “C2C assesses ﬁve key categories of sustainability performance rather than a single attribute, so we’ve found it a good ﬁt for the comprehensive sustainability vision to which we adhere. We’re also the only cleaning product and one of a very few consumer products with C2C certiﬁcation. Our salespeople love that richer narrative. And for those consumers who do look at labels, C2C is the best story we can tell — it links directly to our company’s vision and philosophy.”Method Deﬁne Deliver Demonstrate DemandIn-house Greensourcing supplier User experience reporting frameworkPartnership or EPEA and MBDCcollaboration materials reviewThird-party Design for thecertiﬁcations, labels Environment certiﬁcationor standards Cradle to Cradle certiﬁcation
Case Study 6 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 42 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Lawson emphasizes, however, that Method does not think labeling is the way to communicate sustainability. “Labels are on the periphery. Ninety percent of the demand we’re going to build is through user experience. We want to make sustainability live through the brand.” Approach to supporting suppliers on the journey The design-led approach extends to Method’s approach to working with its contract manufacturers. The company has developed a custom vendor reporting framework, Greensourcing, that di ers from more evaluation-focused supplier scorecards in two ways: ﬁrst, it provides Method’s designers with actionable information to reduce manufacturing footprint at the design stage, and second, it aims to help suppliers to set and track goals and ultimately to develop green manufacturing competencies. Method is aware of the challenges that customized requests for information can place on suppliers. Says Lawson, “We didn’t go with an existing program because we didn’t know of any others that worked in the way we needed. We do want to make it easier for suppliers and it would get very complicated if every brand had its own scorecard. We are trying to ﬁnd a way to align our information request with other supplier sustainability scorecards.” Approach to assurance Method takes a nuanced approach to assurance that combines corporate transparency, ecolabeling and branding. “As a company, we report under the B Corp framework because we feel that a green product should come from a green company,” says Lawson. “For our products, we think the strongest guarantee of our performance should be in the Method brand itself. That’s the best place to be, like Patagonia.” “But ecolabels are useful for people who are less familiar with our brand. Cradle to Cradle is extremely compelling for people who know the story, but it’s less well- known overall. We like [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s] Design for the Environment because we consider their criteria for evaluation to be technically sound. It has credibility from its government backing, and it ﬁts well with our product line.”
7.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 43 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Where next for deﬁning, delivering, demonstrating and inﬂuencing demand forOn the horizon better sustainability outcomes – for business as well as for certiﬁcations, labels and standards? Can brand claims ever be as trusted as third-party claims? How will certiﬁcations, labels and standards and business work together more e ectively to create demand? What role will government have to play? Drawing on some of the emerging trends from the research, we highlight just a few key questions below that we believe will grow in importance. We hope to explore these and others in our ongoing work in this space. — How will demand for certiﬁcation and labeling itself change? Two important drivers are set to inﬂuence the demand for transparent, trusted, e ective certiﬁcation and labeling. First, B2B and institutional ‘green’ purchasing policies are now widespread across all levels of government, the corporate sector and other organizations such as universities. These make extensive use of certiﬁcations or other simple marks that enable the decision-maker to ‘tick the box’. Second, emerging markets consumers are at a much earlier stage for certiﬁcations and labels. According to Cohn & Wolfe’s 2011 ImagePower Green Brands Survey, the biggest challenge facing Chinese consumers in ‘buying green’ is poor, confusing or untrustworthy labeling. — Will we see a merging or rationalization? Some say that competition is healthy, while others say that too many certiﬁcations, standards and labels confuse and take up valuable resources. The answer is probably somewhere in between. We are starting to see some indications, with UL Environment buying Canada’s Ecologo and GreenGuard in the past year and a half. — How will new models of governance and assurance develop? How do we complement certiﬁcation in other ways, whether through national regulation and public-private partnerships, veriﬁcation, a greater sense of joint accountability amongst suppliers and buyers, or more sophisticated, even cloud- based, information ﬂows? — How might brands use their power? Big multinationals may not be as nimble as entrepreneurs, but what these companies have in earth-scale abundance is brand, deep insight into consumers and the power to shape our aspirations, values and behavior. How will brands use that power and marketing capabilities to change the world for the better? How might they use advances in technology to tell compelling stories that connect production and consumption? And can they ﬁnd a way of collaborating to scale their impact on the front-end as well as the back-end?
8.0 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 44 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels In this report, we have sought to provide a lens through which companies of allFinal remarks shapes and sizes can look to think about the speciﬁc — and often signiﬁcant — value of certiﬁcation, standards and labeling to their business. By deﬁnition, however, these tools are designed to work with existing markets and product lines. If the move to a more sustainable world requires new trading relationships and new forms of consumption — such as services, sharing, re-use, and yes, less consumption — a product-by-product focus may end up missing the larger point. Too much focus on any one product may distract from the greater imperative to keep production and consumption within environmental limits and to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all. We urge a shift towards a new, systems-focused model based upon increasingly demanding and pre-competitive standards, above which brands compete, collaborate and partner with civil society to embed these standards into business models and to transform supply chains and consumer behavior — and where civil society and government evolve more e ective and e cient ways of holding business accountable. Please do get in touch and join us as we continue to explore what these new models ‘beyond labels’ might be, even as we celebrate everything ‘behind certiﬁcations’ and all we have learned from their experience and e orts to pave the way.
Appendix 1 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 45 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Surveying the landscape “The State of Sustainability InitiativesResearch and Review 2010: Sustainability “The ISEAL 100: A Survey of Thought and Transparency” (IISD, IIED,collaborations on Leader Views on Sustainability Aidenvironment, UNCTAD and Standards” (ISEAL Alliance, March ENTWINED). Major overview of systemcertiﬁcations, labels 2011). Survey of thought leaders on characteristics and market trends for ten awareness and use, commitment, voluntary sustainability initiatives (VSIs)and standards beneﬁts, impacts and evaluation, areas of in bananas, cocoa, co ee, forestry and improvement and building trust. tea. www.isealalliance.org/iseal100 www.iisd.org/pdf/2010/ssi_ sustainability_review_2010.pdf “Scaling Up: Top Ten Trends” (ISEAL Alliance, December 2010). Outlines “Informing Green Markets” (Erb the trends and opportunities facing the Institute, University of Michigan). Report voluntary standards movement. from annual conference series. www.isealalliance.org/news/interview- www.erb.umich.edu/News-and- dr-sasha-courville-scaling-up-top-ten- Events/news-events-docs/10-11/ trends InformingGreenMarkets.pdf “An Overview of Ecolabels and Sustainability Certiﬁcations in the Assessing impact Global Marketplace” (Corporate Sustainability Initiative, Duke University’s “Certiﬁcation and Roundtables: Do Nicholas Institute for Environmental They Work?” (WWF, 2010). Examines Policy Solutions, October 2010). whether multi-stakeholder initiatives are Literature review of sustainability and measurably and permanently shifting market performance of ecolabels and markets towards improved economic, certiﬁcation systems. Descriptive environmental and social outcomes. global survey with World Resources http://assets.panda.org/downloads/ Institute and Big Room of over 150 wwf_msireview_sept_2010_lowres.pdf labels and certiﬁcations. Parallel studies of ecolabels in food and agriculture, “Certiﬁcation Impact: Global personal care, electronics, textiles and Assessment of Standards and apparel. Certiﬁcation Systems” (RESOLVE, http://center.sustainability.duke. Packard Foundation, Walton Family edu/sites/default/ﬁles/documents/ Foundation, Mars, ongoing). Major e ort ecolabelsreport.pdf to understand what is known about the impact and beneﬁts of these systems. “2010 Global Ecolabel Monitor: Towards www.resolv.org/our-work/issues/ Transparency” (World Resources sustainable-development Institute and Big Room). Global survey of ecolabels covering basic information, “The Impacts of Private Standards on enforcement, content, rules, governance Global Value Chains” (International and ﬁnal backing, market share, impact, Trade Centre, ongoing). Examines the and improvements. impacts of private standards on global www.ecolabelindex.com/downloads/ value chains. Global_Ecolabel_Monitor2010.pdf www.standardsmap.org/en/reference_ material/publications
Appendix 1 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 46 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels What’s next? Online tools to help businesses and others navigate the landscape “Scaling Up Strategy: Scaling Up the Impacts of Voluntary Standards” Ecolabel Index (ISEAL Alliance, June 2011). Strategy for One-stop global directory of a wide range ISEAL Alliance members to dramatically of certiﬁcations and labels. increase their social, environmental and www.ecolabelindex.com economic impacts through: positioning credible standards systems as leaders Ekobai.com in achieving sustainable development; Global B2B marketplace for certiﬁed leveraging the support of key external goods & services. actors for scaling up; increasing producer www.ekobai.com and enterprise access to standards; and increasing the e ectiveness and International Trade Centre Standards e ciency of standards systems. Map www.isealalliance.org/scaling-up Helps producers, exporters and policymakers evaluate di erent voluntary Green Products Roundtable standards Voluntary stakeholder group of www.standardsmap.org representatives from the private, nonproﬁt and government sectors US Environmental Protection Agency’s working to reduce confusions over the Greener Products Portal “green” marketplace and improve the Navigator for products using their EPA production and buying decisions of ecolabels and standards. product manufacturers, institutional www.epa.gov/greenerproducts purchasers and consumers. Currently conducting a major mapping exercise of Consumer Reports GreenerChoices standards and other mechanisms. Consumer guide to ecolabels and green www.keystone.org/spp/environment/ products. Green-Products-Roundtable www.greenerchoices.org Sustainability Consortium SELECT™ Eco-Label Manager Developing “transparent methodologies, Chemicals giant BASF has developed a tools and strategies to drive a new system for its employees and preferred generation of products and supply customers to analyze and compare eco- networks that address environmental, labels, environmental claims, directories social and economic imperatives.” and ratings systems www.sustainabilityconsortium.org https://select-ecolabels.basf.com/ Applications/EcoLabelManager.nsf
Appendix 2 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 47 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Dr. Alan Knight Founder, Single Planet Living Diane Taillard Director Sustainability &Interviewees Alastair Child Cocoa Sustainability Director Traceability, GS1 Global — Certiﬁcation & Community Development, Dorothy MacKenzie Co-Founder & Mars Chairman, Dragon Rouge Allanna McAspurn UK General Manager, Drew Tremblay Business Development MADE-BY Manager, Domtar Dr. Anastasia O’Rourke Co-Founder, Big Drummond Lawson Green Giant aka Room Inc. Director of Environmental Sustainability, Andrew Bovarnick Global Head, Green Method Commodities Facility, UNDP Duncan Pollard Sustainability Advisor, Andrew Hough Director, Lead Auditor of Nestlé Fishery Assessments and Chain of Custody, Elisabeth Laville Founder & Director, Utopies Moody Intertek Emma Keller Research Engineer, Unilever Annie Longsworth President, San Francisco Etienne Mcmanus-White Chief Marketing & Global Sustainability Practice, Cohn & O cer, Forest Stewardship Council US Wolfe Gary Dodge Director of Science and Ben Packard Vice-President of Global Certiﬁcation, Forest Stewardship Council US Responsibility, Starbucks Gwynne Rogers LOHAS Business Director, Beth Holzman CSR Strategy & Reporting Natural Marketing Institute Manager, Timberland Hannah Higginson Project Co-ordinator, Britta Wyss Bisang Standards & Certiﬁcation Fashioning an Ethical Industry Manager, UTZ Certiﬁed Ingmar Streese Head of Public A airs & Caren Holzman Director, SustainAbility Policy Europe & CIS, Mars Carol Derby Director of Environmental Jack Cunningham Head of Climate Change & Strategy, Designtex (Steelcase) Environment, Sainsbury’s Chris Brett Head of Corporate Responsibility James Kohm Associate Director for the and Sustainability, Olam International Enforcement Division, Federal Trade Christine Kennedy Skin R&D Sustainability Commission — Consumer Protection, United Manager, Unilever States Government Christophe Liebon Vice-President Jan Kees Vis Global Supply Chain Director Environmental Impact Solutions, Intertek Sustainable Agriculture, Unilever Colleen Chapman, Director, Global Policy Jason Metnick Senior Director of Market and Advocacy, Starbucks Access and Product Labeling, Sustainable Colman Cu Vice-President, Co ee & Tea Forestry Initiative and Managing Director for Starbucks Co ee Jean-Marie Shields Global Brand Director, Trading Company, Starbucks Starbucks Dan Lockton Designer, Design with Intent Jia Liu Sustainability Program Manager, Daniel Vennard Global Sustainability Intertek Sustainability Solutions Director Brands, Mars Jim Hanna Director of Environmental Impact, Dara O’Rourke Co-Founder, GoodGuide Starbucks and Associate Professor of Environmental John Tichenor Assistant Vice-President, and Labor Policy , University of California at Group Brand Director, Brown-Forman Berkeley Johnathon Baker Vice-President David Agnew Director of Standards and Procurement, Starbucks Licensing, Marine Stewardship Council Josh Dorfman Vice-President of Marketing, Deidre Hoguet Manager, Environmental GoodGuide Strategy, Designtex (Steelcase) Josh Jacobs Director of Marketing, Dermot Hikisch Director of Business Greenguard Environmental Institute Development, B Corp Julia Hailes MBE Environment and Dervala Hanley Vice-President Corporate Sustainability Consultant, Author of Initiatives & Planning, Starbucks The New Green Consumer Guide
Appendix 2 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 48 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Kate Wylie Global Sustainability Director, Patrick Mallet Credibility Director, Mars Drinks ISEAL Alliance Katie Seawell, Director of Marketing, Paul Uys Vice-President Sustainable Starbucks Seafood, Loblaw Companies Limited Keith Kenny Senior Director, Supply Chain, Ramon Arratia European Sustainability McDonald’s Europe Director, InterfaceFLOR Kellie McElhaney John C. Whitehead Rob Frederick Vice-President and Director, Adjunct Professor, founding Faculty Director Corporate Responsibility, Brown-Forman of the Center for Responsible Business Rob Kaplan Manager of Corporate at Haas School of Business, University of Responsibility, Brown-Forman California at Berkeley Russ Meyer Chief Strategy O cer, Landor Kerry Walsh Skelly Director, Corporate Associates A airs EMEA, Brown-Forman Sandra Brunet Marketing Manager — Laura Thompson Director, Technical Developing Brands, Brown-Forman Marketing and Sustainable Development, Sara Eppel Head of Sustainable Products and Sappi Consumers, Department for Environment, Liz Jarman Head of Product Technology and Food and Rural A airs (Defra), UK Development, Sainsbury’s Government Liz Muller Independent Consultant, Sarah Snudden Director of Insight Liz Muller & Partners Integration, Seventh Generation Lorraine Smith Associate, SustainAbility Scot Case Director, Market Development, UL Luke Upchurch Head of Communications Environment and External A airs, Consumers Scott Poynton Executive Director, The Forest International Trust Mark Bueltmann Manager Sustainable Simon Lee Business Development Manager, Supplier Development, American Electric Marketplace, Business in the Community Power Stefan Canz Corporate Agriculture, Nestlé Mark Little Climate Change Manager, Tesco Timothy Nall Vice-President, Operations, Mark Scha er Principal and Owner, Scha er Packaging, Environmental & Governmental Environmental LLC Compliance, Brown-Forman Matt Warning Professor of Economics, Tom Pollock Senior Program Manager, University of Puget Sound Greenblue Matthew Vierling Head of Process Valérie Sejourné Director, Sustainability & Improvement, Old Navy, Gap Communications, International Association Michael Fernandez Director of Public Policy for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance and Global Partnerships, Mars Products Michael Sutton Vice-President and Director Virginia Bergin Ethical Sourcing Regional of Center for the Future of the Oceans, Manager, Starbucks Monterey Bay Aquarium Wayne Rifer EPEAT Director of Standards Mike Barry Head of Sustainable Business, and Product Veriﬁcation, Green Electronics Marks & Spencer Council Oliver Adria Researcher, UNEP/Wuppertal Whitney Kakos Impact & Sustainability Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Manager, Cafédirect Consumption and Production William Olson Director O ce of Owen Ward Co-Founder, National Director, Sustainability and Stewardship Mobile LoyaltyOne Air Miles for Social Change Devices, Motorola Pablo Ramirez Ethical Sourcing Manager, Wolfram Pinker Co-founder, American Starbucks Green Patrick Laine Director of Corporate Yalmaz Siddiqui Senior Director Relationships, WWF-UK Environmental Strategy, O ce Depot
Appendix 3 Signed, Sealed… Delivered? 49 Behind Certiﬁcations and Beyond Labels Natural Marketing Institute, Some of the data for the timelines isNotes 1 2011 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database. sourced from An Overview of Ecolabels and 2 The State of Sustainability Initiatives Sustainability Certiﬁcations in the Global Review 2010. Marketplace (Corporate Sustainability 3 Natural Marketing Institute, Initiative, Duke University’s Nicholas 2011 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database. Institute for Environmental Policy 4 Natural Marketing Institute, Solutions, October 2010). 2011 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database. 5 The Sustainability Survey on Sustainable Consumption, October 2011. www.sustainability.com/library/ survey-on-sustainable-consumption 6 According to the Natural Marketing Institute. www.triplepundit.com/2010/06/ whats-the-state-of-the-lohas- consumer-segment-answers-from-the- natural-marketing-institute 7 WWF 2010 and The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2010. 8 Corporate Sustainability Initiative, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University, An Overview of Ecolabels and Sustainability Certiﬁcations in the Global Marketplace, p. 44. 9 www.isealalliance.org/news/interview- dr-sasha-courville-scaling-up-top-ten- trends-ii 10 www.fairtrade.org.uk/press_o ce/ press_releases_and_statements/ october/producer_ownership_of_ fairtrade_moves_to_new_level.aspx 11 www.isealalliance.org/news/historic- joint-statement-fairtrade-sanrainforest- alliance-utz-certiﬁed
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