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Pure Strategies Study Identifies How to Generate Business Value from Product Sustainability

Published 04-22-14

Submitted by OLD Pure Strategies

Companies that have gained widespread business benefits from product sustainability share specific business practices, according to a new research report by sustainability consulting firm Pure Strategies.

The Path to Product Sustainability is based on a quantitative survey of 100 global consumer product companies involved in product sustainability and qualitative interviews with heads, directors, and managers of sustainability at leading companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, Timberland, Seagate, RB, and Henkel.

According to the report, product sustainability goals are the most common best practice among “performing” companies that claim to have achieved widespread financial and organizational benefits from their programs. Fully 97 percent of these companies reported the existence of goals that guide programs to deliver on internal and external benefits. 

Sustainability product assessments inform decisions for 90 percent of performing companies, compared to 61 percent of companies lower down the sustainability path. Supplier engagement, customer scorecards, and chemicals/materials of concern assessments were cited as the tools and approaches that deliver the most value.

Performing companies also recognize the importance of integrating sustainability into product development, the report states, as notably more performing companies will be further strengthening their sustainability focus during product development. This is a driving differentiator in product sustainability program performance, according to Pure Strategies. 

“While it takes substantial organizational commitment to integrate sustainability into the core business effectively, there is a clear payback,” Pure Strategies’ Managing Director and cofounder Tim Greiner said. “By learning from these leaders, our study points to a product sustainability path that can propel a company from preparing—to progressing—to performing at the highest level of product sustainability.”

Other findings from the report include: 

  • Corporate Strategy, followed by CEO Vision, was the most-cited internal driver behind product sustainability programs. Retailer programs were the most-cited external drivers.
  • No single company surveyed is expecting a decrease in funding in the next year for their product sustainability program.
  • The product development process is expected to see a notable increase in sustainability focus over the next two years—in particular during the early phases of concept and bench top/pilot scale development.
  • Supplier engagement ranked as the most valuable product sustainability assessment approach.
  • Reduced manufacturing cost was the leading business benefit from product sustainability—ahead of brand enhancement and risk reduction.

 “This report provides valuable insight for companies looking to understand, build, or enhance product sustainability programs,” said Pete He, Senior Research Fellow, Sustainability at Henkel. “Pure Strategies was able to distill down and link the key factors in a successful sustainability journey.”  

A free download of the report is available for review at:     

About Pure Strategies, Inc.: For more than 15 years, Pure Strategies has helped forward-looking clients attain financial and strategic benefits by improving the sustainability of their organizations, products, and supply chains. In addition to providing technical services, Pure Strategies leads companies through strategic planning exercises and helps tackle on-the-ground implementation. Pure Strategies has extensive experience assisting both retailers and retail suppliers. Clients include: Walmart, The North Face, Annie’s Homegrown, RB, Rockline Industries, Radio Flyer, Seventh Generation, Oakhurst Dairy, Stonyfield Farm, and others.

More about the research methodology: Verdantix, an experienced market research firm, fielded the quantitative survey on behalf of Pure Strategies in Fall 2013. Pure Strategies conducted the qualitative interviews in February 2014.


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OLD Pure Strategies

OLD Pure Strategies

Pure Strategies, a leading U.S. sustainability consulting firm, helps organizations gain strategic and financial benefits by helping them improve the sustainability of their organizations, their products, and their supply chains. Our team includes experts in corporate sustainability strategy and reporting, life cycle assessment (LCA), chemicals and materials assessment, product sustainability, and supply chain sustainability assessment and engagement. Our clients include Stonyfield Farm, Seventh Generation, The North Face, Walmart, EMD Millipore, Biogen, and other leading consumer products and B2B companies.

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