To accelerate improvement of the sustainability of production supply chains, The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) and Questionmark have started a partnership to harmonise their methodologies for measuring the sustainability of consumer products. Questionmark will integrate TSC's globally standardised tools into its own measurement system.
Questionmark is the first non-profit organisation in the world to use the TSC tools to help consumers make more conscientious decisions. Koen Boone, TSC's director Europe says, ‘The collaboration between Questionmark and TSC will result in companies having to handle a smaller number of sustainability surveys dealing with their production processes. Additionally, it is fantastic that this science-based designed tool is applied in a broader way, such as in this app for consumers. If consumers make more conscientious decisions concerning their shopping behaviour, companies will be better motivated to make their products more sustainable. Companies that already participate in TSC will individually grant permission to have their data used for this purpose, and I expect that they will be able to see the advantages of this harmonisation.’
Worldwide standardised communication on the sustainability of consumer products
To Questionmark, this collaboration represents a step towards further integrating existing standards and measurement tools in its methodology. This will make it easier for companies to submit information for their product rankings. Charlotte Linnebank, Questionmark’s director explains, ‘It is Questionmark's aim to ensure that the threshold for companies to be transparent about the sustainability of their production processes is as low as possible. TSC helps in this regard by standardising the communication concerning the sustainability of consumer products around the world.’
TSC has developed a science-based and globally harmonised measurement tool
In 2009, TSC was founded as a global collaboration of universities, companies and social organisations. Wageningen UR is coordinating the European activities of the consortium, of which Ahold, Unilever, Mars, the World Wide Fund and Solidaridad are members. The consortium has developed a science-based and globally harmonised measurement tool that is used to exchange information on the sustainability of consumer products and to make this information comparable. Four of the five largest retailers (as well as their suppliers) in the Netherlands are involved in pilot programmes.
Consumers shopping more conscientiously
The Dutch Questionmark foundation has developed a website and a number of apps so that consumers can do more informed shopping decisions with regard to sustainability and personal health. Questionmark makes Dutch supermarket products comparable with regard to environmental impacts, protecting human rights, animal welfare and health aspects and offers consumers a number of ways to incorporate this information in their purchasing decisions. Via QM intelligence, a company affiliated with Questionmark can itself submit information for the Questionmark product ranking. Companies can also receive information from QM intelligence which they can use to make their products more sustainable and to strongly position their brand with regard to sustainability and health aspects.