Certification and Markets: An Newsletter (Sept 2013)

Aug 2013

Summary: This month we report on GRI’s new fourth generation reporting guidelines, a new organic standard for African cotton, a new US, big-corporate orientated sustainable purchasing initiative last but not least, the first Sustainable Beauty Awards! 

Forth Generation Sustainability Reporting: The Global Reporting Initiative is a US based non profit group which is the leading gathering place for corporate reporting in environmental and related sustainability issues.  In July 2013 the group released its G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, its fourth iteration of such guidelines.  GRI states “The GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (the Guidelines) offer Reporting Principles, Standard Disclosures and an Implementation Manual for the preparation of sustainability reports by organizations, regardless of their size, sector or location. The Guidelines also offer an international reference for all those interested in the disclosure of governance approach and of the environmental, social and economic performance and impacts of organizations. The Guidelines are useful in the preparation of any type of document which requires such disclosure.”  A Guidebook (92 pages) as well as a Implementation Manual (259 pages) are available as downloads from the GRI Web site.

 A New Sustainable Purchasing Group: In recognition that the major environmental and social impacts of an organization lie in its supply chain, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council launched in the US last month.  As a multi-stakeholder group it announced that it “brings together visionary professionals from institutions, suppliers, government, standards bodies and NGOs to simplify, optimize and standardize the practice of sustainable procurement. Together, we can leverage the trillions of dollars spent by organizations to drive social, environmental, and economic sustainability.”  The “founding circle” consists of leading academic and municipal buyers from around the US and Fortune 500 corporate suppliers such as Dell, FedEx and Office Depot.

A New Organic Standard for Africa: The non profit Cotton Made in Africa  has announced a new standard that combines its Africa-made credentials with organic: The Aid by Trade Foundation, owner of the "Cotton made in Africa" (CmiA) standard combines existing organic standards with socio-economic criteria to find CmiA-Organic, a standard for organic smallholder cotton producers in Sub-Saharan Africa.  AbTF combines the organic standards EC No. 834/2007and GOTS with socio-economic standards from CmiA, including criteria regarding food security and farmer income, gender equality, investments into community programs etc. The draft standard "CmiA-Organic" was developed by the Aid by Trade Foundation in close cooperation with external experts”.  Comments are accepted until the end of August 2013.

 Consumers Interested in Food Content: A consumer study surveying 3000 people across the UK, France and other parts of Europe indicate that most consumers are interested in which farm was used to produce the meat and dairy they consume.  The study was sponsored by LabellingMatters, a joint venture of several leading UK animal welfare and organic groups.  The group states “A landmark study clearly shows that 8 out of 10 EU consumers want to know which farm system has been used to produce their meat and dairy products. The European Commission is resisting this change and wants to keep consumers in the dark about where their food actually comes from.” 

Sustainable Cosmetics Awards: The first-ever awards dedicated to sustainability in the beauty industry have been launched by Organic Monitor. The inaugural Sustainable Beauty Awards  has begun accepting nominations, with winners to be announced at an evening reception in Paris in October 2013. The aim of the awards is to give recognition to cosmetic and ingredient firms who are pushing the boundaries of sustainability in the beauty industry.   The awards will have five categories that represent different sustainability aspects. The green formulations award is for cosmetic brands with a high level of green (natural / organic) ingredients in their formulations. The sustainable packaging award is for cosmetic packaging that has a low environmental footprint, whereas the sustainable ingredient award is for a material that makes a significant difference in terms of ecological and / or social impact. The sustainability pioneer award is for a company that is a leader in a certain area, whereas the sustainability leadership award is for an overall leader in sustainability.  

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