Are You Actively Buying and/or Selling Sustainability?

When doing your weekly grocery shopping by either walking down brick-and-mortar supermarket aisles, or browsing your favourite online stores, you might have come across such ethical labels as Fairtrade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP). Have you ever wondered about the brains behind these labels? Who are the stakeholders in the sustainability value chain? What are the stakeholders’ working relationships like? Who benefits from the sustainability chain and any business opportunity deriving from these unfamiliar abbreviations GRI, SEDEX and ESG? If you are a CSR manager, are you prepared to pitch sustainability to the boardroom, for the planet? Are you actively buying and/or selling sustainability to add long-term value for your core brands and corporate image?

The latest contribution to the Ethical Labels system is our global briefing, titled: World Hot Drinks: Sustainability Stakeholders and Business Potential. This report provides a strategic overview of the sustainability industry. It illustrates the relationship between stakeholders (banks, governments, NGOs, commercial companies, trade associations, auditors etc) and potential business opportunities particularly for professional services that can be explored. It is written by using essentially qualitative information and analysis of how the industry is structured.

Note: Global briefing: World Hot Drinks: Sustainability Stakeholders and Business Potential

Key findings

An ecosystem – Sustainability is an ecosystem; there is supply and demand and it is an industry itself. It involves a wide range of stakeholders, which operate in a “mesh network”. Doing business with a purpose should be seen as an opportunity for brand-building.

West outperforms East – Geographically, the West has a relatively developed sustainability marketplace on the back of transparency, awareness and developed civil society. In China, the market is just emerging, but lags far behind the West.

Complex relationship – Scheme owners can be rivals and collaborators. The call for mutual recognition and harmony between schemes is positive to the sustainable sourcing movement. Brand owners should have a comprehensive strategy and approach for different schemes; professional report writing provides good credentials and a good story.

Positive outlook – Given the advocacy of sustainability from the UN, NGOs, national governments and commercial companies, it is safe to say that the demand for professional services can only expand.