Unlocking Science-Based Success: 5 Key Steps for Consumer Goods

Hitting science-based targets in the consumer goods industry involves a comprehensive approach that addresses various aspects of sustainability and environmental impact.  

In January 2022, UN Secretary General António Guterres sounded the alarm about the dire state of Earth’s climate. The world has no choice but to enter “emergency mode,” he said, because without “an avalanche of action” in 2022, humanity has no hope of meeting the Paris Climate Accord goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Here are urgent and key elements that consumer goods companies should focus on to achieve science-based targets, aligned with 1.5C Paris Agreement, along with some challenges and solutions you need to unlock:

1. Carbon Emissions Reduction:

Focus: Consumer goods companies need to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, both within their operations (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) and throughout their value chains (Scope 3 emissions).

  • Challenges: Achieving emissions reductions across complex supply chains can be challenging, as it requires collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
  • Solutions: Investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation, and working closely with suppliers to reduce emissions are key strategies.

2. Sustainable Sourcing and Supply Chains:

Focus: Companies must ensure that raw materials are sustainably sourced, reducing deforestation, habitat destruction, and over-extraction of resources.

  • Challenges: Traceability and certification of sustainable sourcing can be difficult, especially for complex supply chains.
  • Solutions: Implementing traceability technologies like blockchain, engaging with certification bodies, and supporting sustainable agriculture and forestry practices.

3. Circular Economy and Waste Reduction:

Focus: Transitioning to a circular economy model where products are designed for reuse, recycling, and minimal waste generation.

  • Challenges: Redesigning products and processes to be more circular can be resource-intensive and require significant research and development.
  • Solutions: Invest in eco-design, recycling infrastructure, and consumer education on waste reduction and recycling. A great example is how Patagonia is collaborating with Makers Unite.

4. Water Stewardship:

Focus: Efficiently managing water resources and reducing water usage in production processes.

  • Challenges: Water availability and quality vary regionally, and reducing water usage may require technology upgrades.
  • Solutions: Implementing water-efficient technologies, conducting water risk assessments, and collaborating with local communities on responsible water use.

5. Biodiversity Conservation:

Focus: Protecting and restoring biodiversity impacted by consumer goods production and supply chains.

  • Challenges: Measuring and mitigating biodiversity impacts can be complex and require interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Solutions: Conducting biodiversity assessments, implementing conservation projects, and engaging with conservation organizations.

6. Social and Labor Standards:

Focus: Ensuring fair labor practices and social responsibility throughout the supply chain.

  • Challenges: Ensuring fair wages and safe working conditions for all workers can be complicated by subcontracting and informal labor.
  • Solutions: Implementing codes of conduct, auditing suppliers, and working with NGOs and industry associations to improve labor standards. A deeply rooted mission with social values at its core is Ben & Jerry's and how they have implemented fair practises and invested in Fairtrade across the value chain.  

Regarding the solutions not yet ready to accelerate a greener and just transition, some key challenges include:

7. Innovative Technologies: Developing and scaling up innovative technologies for sustainable production and transportation remains a challenge due to the high cost and risk associated with R&D.

  1. Access to Capital: Many sustainable initiatives require significant upfront investments, and access to capital can be limited for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or businesses in developing regions.
  2. Policy and Regulatory Frameworks: Inconsistent or inadequate regulations can hinder sustainability efforts. Creating a supportive policy environment is crucial.
  3. Consumer Behavior: Changing consumer behavior to prioritize sustainable products and practices can be slow, requiring educational efforts and incentives.
  4. Global Supply Chain Complexity: The complexity of global supply chains and the need for collaboration across borders make it challenging to achieve transparency and sustainability throughout the value chain.

To address these challenges, it's important for governments, businesses, investors, and civil society to collaborate, allocate resources, and develop innovative solutions. Initiatives like green bonds, impact investing, and public-private partnerships can help bridge the capital gap.

Additionally, industry standards and certifications can provide a framework for sustainability, and consumer education and advocacy can drive demand for greener and more just products.

Are you juggling the trade offs, can't visualise your climate journey or get the right  imitative  prioritised? Unibloom understands the pain and have build a scenario planning and automated calculation tool, to help sustainability and cross-functional teams juggle the challenges & solutions, everyday.

Get  a demo: anna.sandgren@unibloom.world


Unibloom's climate & commercial action blog

Meet our Experienced Podiatrists

View Map

Sign up for blog updates!

Join my email list to receive updates and information.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.