In 2008, we made significant progress in further integrating social and environmental criteria into our decision making. This has been focused in the areas of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and in sustainable sourcing.
Life Cycle Analysis
Traditionally, there has been a lack of knowledge about the full environmental impacts of product and packaging design decisions because tools to measure and understand these impacts were not generally available or used.
We are using LCA to support sustainable decision making. We introduced LCA to the business in 2007 and we are still learning how best to use it and the information it provides. We have carried out several studies to better understand our environmental impact and have developed a checklist to further integrate LCA into our decision making.
We have also developed a Sustainable Packaging Charter that will provide guidance on how to consider social, economic and environmental impacts in packaging design.
The studies have significantly added to our body of knowledge. However, we still face a number of challenges relating to the resources needed to gather the data accurately. We intend to continue using LCA and expanding our knowledge to help provide better information on which to base our product design decisions.
Changes to sourcing
Sourcing is the process by which we identify the best possible manufacturing source and distribution route to fulfil demand. Factors that have traditionally been evaluated in sourcing decisions include quality, time and cost.
We believe that additional sustainability factors should also be considered and, in 2008, we committed to introducing sustainability impact studies for any major sourcing changes. To ensure that we meet this commitment, we have amended our strategic sourcing guidelines to include consideration of sustainability issues in sourcing decisions. Significant progress has also been made in better understanding the impact data for our key manufacturing locations and distribution routes.
A high-level pilot application of our revised strategic sourcing guidelines has already been used for a new brand launch in Venezuela and we will continue to develop and pilot the process during 2009.
- We will develop tools and processes that will enable us to use LCA to guide product specification by end 2010;
- We will identify opportunities to pilot sustainable product design practice by end 2009;
- We will introduce our Sustainable Packaging Charter for the consideration of social, economic and environmental impacts on our Global Drive Brands’ packaging design by end 2009;
- We will use a decision-making checklist to take social, economic and environmental criteria into account in the product design process by end 2009; and
- We will continue to implement sustainability impact studies to assist our decision making for any major sourcing changes.