TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 16, 2011 – The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) today announced the opening of its European office and the expansion of its board of directors to include Non-Government Organization (NGO) members. Both moves strongly align with TSC’s focus of growth, incorporating global partners, and delivering on its mission to design and implement science-based measurement and reporting systems that are accessible to manufacturers and consumers.
TSC’s European office will operate in partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Wageningen UR (WUR) is the leading agricultural university in Europe with a strong commitment to sustainability. WUR has strong relationships with agricultural producers, food processors, and retailers in Europe, includingmany TSC members. In addition, Aalt Dijkhuizen, president and CEO at Wageningen UR, is the third Academic Director appointed to TSC’s board.
“In our increasingly connected world, NGOs and other multinationals are losing their credibility because differing national standards are becoming a burden,” said Dijkhuizen. “To address these major challenges, it is vital for the global industry to share knowledge and bestpractices if we are to cope with the road ahead. The Netherlands welcomes initiatives like TSC that are taking up these challenges.”
TSC is expanding its board of directors and leveraging the expertise of two international NGOs with the appointment of Helen van Hoeven, director of the Market Transformation Initiative at WorldWildlife Fund (WWF) and Marcela Hahn, executive director of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE).
“To promote sustainable production that protects biodiversity, WWF works with the business community to develop more responsible product options for consumers,” said van Hoeven. “Given the mounting pressures on our finite planet, I will work with Consortium members to ensure the indexes adequately reflect on the ground impact from the production of commodities used in rated products. The indexes must become incentives for better and smarter production to stack shelves with sustainable products. Now is the time for businesses to develop solutions that meet the needs of 9 billion people by 2050 while maintaining the planet for future generations.”
WWF, the world’s leading conservation organization, is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. They combine global reach with a foundation in science, involve action at every level from local to global, and deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature. Van Hoeven directs WWF International’s Market Transformation Initiative, working with major companies and their supply chains to change the way key global commodities are produced, processed, consumed and financed worldwide.
“CARE is well-suited to provide a unique perspective to The Sustainability Consortium, addressing the social impacts of a world with increasingly limited resources buttressed against myriad complex networks for change,” said Hahn. “We are already partners with many of the consortium’s current members, and we believe these alliances will lead to mutually-beneficial solutions.”
In over 70 countries around the world, CARE seeks a world of hope, tolerance, and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security. CARE addresses “the human face” of a changing environmental landscape. Hahn serves as the executive director of CARE’s Strategic Partnerships and Alliances unit, a team that builds multifaceted, long-term partnerships with corporations, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions focused on the international community.
“We’re very pleased with the progress of the consortium. Opening the European office and partnering with these international experts is a demonstration of TSC’s commitment to globalization,” said Hugo Byrnes, Senior Director of Product Integrity at Ahold. “Our new strategic direction prepares us for growth and we look forward to more partnerships in Asia and Latin America over the next year.”
“WWF and CARE bring significant expertise and global experience to the consortium across the full range of sustainabilityissues,” said Andrea Thomas, Walmart senior vice president of sustainability and TSC board member. “We are thrilled to have thought leaders on environmental and social challenges working with TSC to find solutions and drive change in the global consumer goods industry.”
The Sustainability Consortium has recently delivered on its goal of creating a sustainability measurement and reporting system when its members approved seven product category LCAs for independent review. The Consortium plans on delivering Category Sustainability Profiles for 50 products by the end of September, and 100 by December. For more information about this work, click here.