Report: Technology Innovations for Sustainability Standards

Report: Technology Innovations for Sustainability Standards

2015 | ISEAL Alliance

Today’s sustainability standards systems are challenged to keep up with a rapidly evolving technological landscape. While the corporate world has learned to integrate data flows across global supply chains, most standards systems are lagging behind. This report explores the relevance of current trends in technology to sustainability standards – from mobile data collection and the internet of things, to open data and blockchains – and proposes […]

Consultation Management, revisited

More than two years ago, I wrote a post titled “Wanted: A Consultation Management System for Sustainability Standards” in which I described how technology could support the mandatory stakeholder engagement and consultation processes in sustainability standards.

Yesterday, I found myself researching available options to manage a consultation for a new sustainability standard. It turns out, not much has changed:

Standards, labels, certification, oh my!

Next to the Euro crisis and the emergence of new social movements worldwide, one topic stood out during the open space at last week’s Zukunftspiloten reunion: Understanding ecolabels.

Many of the assembled environmentalists and campaigners had mentioned their reliance on organic, fairtrade and other certified products in their attempts to live a responsible lifestyle – and were glad when Sönke and I offered to answer some questions.

Points of Conflict around Ecolabels

Every now and then, there’s an outcry about an ecolabel. “FSC certified forests are clearcut in Sweden”, complains a TV report [1]. “The Atlantic Pollack fishery is deteriorating despite certification”, warn scientists [2]. “Child labour can be found on Fairtrade certified farms”, claim critics [3].

A systemic problem? No, quite the contrary. The stories above are examples of standards systems in action – and of their specific communications challenges.

Wanted: A Consultation Management System for Sustainability Standards

For those labelgeeks among us, creating or updating a sustainability standard is comparatively straightforward: The ISEAL Standard-Setting Code tells us exactly what to do. There’s a list of stakeholders to be compiled, a draft to be written along a defined structure and two public consultations to be held. It’s still a lengthy process involving hundreds of people and numerous meetings and conversations.