Road Testing the 'Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information'
To strengthen good practices in the field of sustainable consumption and production, UN Environment and the International Trade Centre launched the brand new Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information. The Road Testing of the Guidelines was an opportunity for companies and standard-setting organisations to contribute to the implementation of SDG 12 in an effective and practical way, while at the same time self-assessing the way they are communicating with consumers about sustainability. This also ensured that road testers were up to date with edgy references and promoted their efforts on consumer information internationally. Road testers have the opportunity to be listed in the publication that will be soon launched by UN Environment and also have their good practices featured on this document.
The Guidelines offer companies and standard-setting organisations clear guidance on making effective, trustworthy claims to consumers, on product-related sustainability information. They are applicable to all regions and companies of all sizes. The objectives of the road testing were: to understand how feasible it is to apply the Guidelines, including over different sectors and type of claims; to identify eventual gaps and challenges; and to make available case studies on their implementation. The activities started in February 2018. In total, 31 sustainability claims were analysed during the road testing, from 28 organizations. The following 28 organizations road tested the Guidelines: Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Limited, Aditya Birla Retail Limited, Auchan Retail España, Betterfly Tourism, Brasilprev Seguros e Previdência S.A., Braskem, Colgate-Palmolive, Confederation of Indian Industry, Cruelty Free International, dna merch, Ecotourism Kenya, Selo Eureciclo, Florverde Sustainable Flowers, Freemet, Institute Clause Sociale, Marine Stewardship Council, Mavic, Mondelēz International, Natrue, Sofea - Sustainable Office European Association, Sustainable Food Systems GmbH and Research Institute for Organic Agriculture – FiBL, Tata Motors, Textile Exchange, TÜV Rheinland, UTZ/Rainforest Alliance, Woolworths Food Company, WWF-Hong Kong, and Zerya producciones sin residuos S.L. The main steps were organized as follows: • Selection of one specific product’s consumer-facing sustainability information (the “claim”: e.g. a label, voluntary standard, product declaration, rating, marketing claim etc., or any other way of communicating with consumers) • Sending of expression of interest to the Consumer Information Programme • Attendance of the Kick-off Webinar to learn about the Guidelines and the road testing process, and connect with other road testers • Assessing the claim via an online questionnaire (walking the road tester through the assessment against each of the Guidelines’ 10 principles) • Attendance of optional monthly ‘Help Desk and Sharing’ webinars to ask questions and discuss lessons learned • Attendance of the final webinar to discuss results Overall, the road testing confirmed that the Guidelines are applicable to companies of all regions and sectors, which can use the Guidelines for the improvement of existing product sustainability information or the development of upcoming claims. Within the companies, the Guidelines were seen as a most useful resource for sustainability, marketing and advertising professionals. The Guidelines have also proven to be applicable to standard-setting and labelling bodies of different sectors. These organizations can compare and possibly adapt or update their schemes based on the Guidelines’ principles. More information will be available in the full report. In the Consumer Information Programme, we aim for collective impact and collaboration. Organizations interested to learn more about the project, to share ideas and join the network are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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