Toward Sustainability (Final Report)

On June 27, 2012, a 12-member Steering Committee composed of international business and civil society leaders and academic experts released its final report, Toward Sustainability: The Roles and Limitations of Certification. This consensus report describes what is known and what is most important to learn about the performance and potential of voluntary standards and certification.

“This report marks a significant achievement,” said Committee Chair Patrick Mallet. “For the first time, the body of evidence for what we know about voluntary standards and certification has been pulled together and synthesized in one place. Voluntary standards are becoming increasingly prevalent, and this report provides directions for how we can make them more effective.”

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and Mars, Incorporated, initiated and funded the consensus-based process that led to this report.

Michael Fernandez, Director of Public Policy and Global Partnerships at Mars, Incorporated, said, “Mars is committed to having sustainable sources of our raw materials and creating mutual benefits for the communities that supply these ingredients. This Assessment will help us better understand how certification can help us achieve these objectives, as well as where there are gaps that still need to be addressed within certification systems, or through other complementary programs.”

Committee members expect the report to be of particular value to businesses, governments, and NGOs that are considering the use of certification to assist in sustainability goals. “The Toward Sustainability report gives us the best insight we’ve ever had into the actual, perceived, and potential impact of environmental and social labeling schemes,” said Jan Kees Vis, Global Director of Sustainable Sourcing Development at Unilever. “This is a great help to businesses who want to ensure they contribute to social progress and environmental improvement through their supply chains.”

See full press release here.

Citation information:

Steering Committee of the State-of-Knowledge Assessment of Standards and Certification. (2012). Toward sustainability: The roles and limitations of certification. Washington, DC: RESOLVE, Inc

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