New Report Shows Product Manufacturers' Sustainability Scores Improved 38% Since 2016

Kevin Dooley

The Sustainability Consortium reported Thursday that between 2016 to 2020, the THESIS assessments of product manufacturers have improved 38 percent. Scores showed that performance improved in 2020, indicating that companies pursued sustainability improvements even during the challenges of the 2020 global pandemic.

Over 1,700 manufacturers representing over $900 billion in annual consumer product sales assessed their product and supply chain sustainability using TSC's THESIS Index. Across these years, TSC found significant improvements in:

  • carbon and climate,
  • water use,
  • air quality,
  • worker health and safety, and
  • managing biodiversity in sourcing.

The average score of companies using THESIS in both 2019 and 2020 increased from 45 percent to 49 percent. Companies have made relative improvements of 38 percent since the baseline year of 2016.

"Long before 'sustainability' became a buzzword, it was simply a way of doing business at Henkel," said Rob Anson, director of international business development for Henkel. "Today, with help from THESIS, Henkel has set ambitious targets as part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy, which aims to add value while reducing its environmental footprint. Together with partners like TSC, we're advancing sustainability along the entire value chain."

In their 2021 Impact Report, Resiliency and the Future of Supply Chains, TSC details that some companies are making good progress, especially in textiles and electronics, while several issues remain systematic challenges, like sustainable packaging and deforestation. Additionally, 45 percent of THESIS users only report sustainability data to THESIS, nowhere else. 23 percent of manufacturers worked with their suppliers on sustainability issues, and almost 9 percent of those manufacturers included sustainability requirements in their supplier contracts.

TSC Chief Executive Euan Murray said, "Creating resilient, net-zero, circular, sustainable products and supply chains has never been more critical. And in spite of the headwinds of 2020, companies continue to step up. The THESIS data we share in this report shows ongoing improvements in supply chain transparency and sustainability. The results are better than they have ever been."

"At Ocean Spray, we are committed to a healthier planet, full of healthier people. We are working diligently to see this commitment a reality, and it is critical that we continue to work collaboratively within a variety of industry sectors and through our participation in THESIS. It is through partnerships with organizations like TSC, shared learning and collaborative work that we will meet the sustainability challenges that we all face, and it is together that we can create truly innovative and sustainable supply chains," said Jennifer Bowe, associate manager of global impact and sustainability.

TSC translates the best sustainability science into business tools that are used all over the world to create more sustainable consumer products. Their full impact report is available here.

Walmart, the U of A and Arizona State University founded the Sustainability Consortium in 2009 to develop ways for companies to measure and improve sustainability progress.


Carolyn Kaye Baltz, director of membership and development
Walton College of Business


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