Product Sustainability

Designing signs for the times
Founded:
2018
Listed Since:
2020
Headquarters:
Toronto, ON
Industry:
General Consumer Goods

Explore Sustainability at
Consumer Goods Company (Demo)

Big benefit, small footprint

The bamboo toothbrush was initially disposable, still resulting in significant waste (albeit biodegradable waste). Fortunately, certain companies developed replaceable heads; Zero Waste Club even demonstrates how to change them so you can keep the bamboo handle for as long as you like.

Though bamboo – a natural cellulose fibre – is the most common biodegradable choice, other types of wood are an option, such as good old miswak sticks to chew on (from the Salvadora persica tree). At the moment, the only existing compostable bristles are generally made from pig hair and most sustainable toothbrushes are mainly made with nylon bristles.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

What is the significance of this category?

Nature can safely absorb some human-made greenhouse gases (GHGs) every year, but to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must eliminate all GHG Emissions from the business world. That’s because we are dangerously close to reaching atmospheric GHG levels that will be catastrophic for society, and any attempt to divide up the remaining carbon budget across companies is likely to be too complex, contentious and/or time-consuming to result in the scale and speed of reduction that is now needed. Net GHG emissions here means total GHG emissions, less any emissions that are permanently sequestered or adequately offset.

Source: Future-Fit Business Benchmark

Energy Management

What is the significance of this category?

Oil, coal and gas are often obtained in environmentally destructive ways, and their use as fuels leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, these resources are finite, and their value to society extends far beyond combustion. Companies should ensure that all the energy it consumes – as electricity, heat or fuel – is derived from renewable energy sources where possible and disclose when it is not. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, wave and hydropower, geothermal resources, and biomass.

Source: Future-Fit Business Benchmark

Water & Wastewater Management

What is the significance of this category?

Through excessive withdrawals of water, discharge of polluted wastewater, or by adversely affecting the characteristics of any withdrawn water before returning it to nature, a company may undermine the quantity, quality, and availability of water at a local level.
Companies must ensure that their use of water doesn’t undermine the quantity and quality of water available for people and ecosystems that depend on the watersheds concerned.
To be considered sustainable, a company must do two things:
1. It must minimize – and in water-stressed regions eventually eliminate – its consumption of water for industrial and commercial purposes; and
2. It must ensure that any discharges do not degrade the quality of the receiving water bodies, the health of receiving soils, or in any other way cause harm to ecosystems or people.

Source: Future-Fit Business Benchmark

Waste & Hazardous Materials Management

What is the significance of this category?

For the purposes of this goal, waste means all materials generated as by-products of production and other operational activities which the company manages to contain, and which require treatment, repurposing, or disposal. Hazardous materials include toxic or inorganic byproducts of production.

To be considered sustainable, a company must do two things:
1. It must eliminate all avoidable waste generation; and
2. It must reuse, recycle or otherwise repurpose any remaining waste.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

Ecosystem & Biodiversity Impacts

What is the significance of this category?

Growing demand for land is putting pressure on ecosystems, communities and plant and animal species.

Companies that do not adequately consider the impacts of their physical presence may cause irreversible degradation to natural processes and resources that they and others rely on, and may undermine the wellbeing of local communities.

Negative impacts must be avoided by:
1. Respecting the land rights of communities (e.g. zero tolerance of land grabbing);
2. Protecting aquatic ecosystems from degradation (e.g. avoiding coral reefs);
3. Protecting areas of high biodiversity value (e.g. no clearing of rainforest for farmland); and
4. Not encroaching on areas of cultural importance (e.g. oil pipelines running through regions considered sacred by Indigenous Peoples).

To be considered sustainable, a company must do two things:
1. It must protect such areas where it is already present; and
2. It must take steps to avoid or mitigate negative outcomes when moving into new areas.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

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Product Quality & Safety

What is the significance of this category?

Other product goals address the ethical marketing of the company’s goods and services, whether they have the potential to cause harm, and how to ensure that goods can be repurposed at the end of their useful life.

By living up to all of these goals, a company can minimize the number of concerns its customers have. However, it is still important that customers are able to voice legitimate concerns – and to have those concerns fairly addressed – if they feel that a company has fallen short of meeting its obligations.

These requirements cover both final products designed for end users, and interim goods which are incorporated or processed into final products by other companies.

To be considered sustainable, a company must therefore put in place effective policies and procedures to actively solicit, impartially judge and transparently address customer concerns relating to the environmental and social impact of the goods or services it delivers.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

Selling & Labeling Practices

What is the significance of this category?

Some goods and services may cause harm to people or ecosystems, either because of the way they are designed, or because there is a chance that users could misuse them or dispose of them incorrectly.

The company must make potential users aware of such risks, to empower them to make well-informed decisions regarding the purchase, use and (in the case of physical goods) post-use processing of its products.

In addition, a company must ensure it markets its products honestly and responsibly by avoiding all misleading claims regarding product benefits, and by only targeting appropriate customer groups (e.g. not marketing cigarettes or alcohol directly to children).

These requirements cover both final products designed for end users, and interim goods which are incorporated or processed into final products by other companies.

To be considered sustainable, a company must do three things:
1. It must ensure users are informed about any negative impacts of its products;
2. It must ensure users are not subject to false or misleading claims about the benefits of its products; and
3. It must ensure products are marketed only to those capable of making informed purchasing decisions.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

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Product Design & Lifecycle Assessment

What is the significance of this category?

A company should do all it can to ensure that the physical goods it provides to others can be responsibly repurposed at the end of their useful lives.

These requirements cover both final products designed for end users, and intermediate goods which are incorporated or processed into final products by other companies.

To be considered sustainable, a company must do two things:
1. It must ensure that whatever remains of the goods it supplies can be separated at the end of their useful life, to maximize their post-use recovery value; and
2. It must ensure that its customers have ready access to recovery services capable of extracting such value.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

Supply Chain Management

What is the significance of this category?

Every company relies to some extent upon goods and services procured from other organizations, which are collectively referred to as suppliers.

Common examples include energy, water, computers, transport, machinery, furniture, accounting services, and materials required to make products.

All companies are mutually accountable for the environmental and social impacts caused by the production and delivery of the goods and services they depend upon. Only when a company has effectively avoided or addressed such negative impacts can it consider itself to be Future-Fit.

This goal requires a company to implement policies and procedures that continuously seek to increase the future-fitness of its purchases, with a particular emphasis on anticipating, avoiding and addressing issue-specific supply chain hotspots.

To be Future-Fit, a company must do three things:
1. It must have policies and processes in place that enable it and its employees to anticipate where negative supply chain impacts are likely to occur;
2. It must avoid them where possible; and
3. It must take measurable steps to address concerns that arise.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

Material Sourcing & Efficiency

What is the significance of this category?

As demand for natural resources increases, so does the pressure placed on the ecosystems, people and animals that contribute to their delivery. The emphasis here is on causing no harm as a result of the physical management and extraction of natural resources.

This includes but is not limited to:
1. Harvesting renewable resources, such as trees or fish, at rates that do not reduce nature’s capacity to regenerate them;
2. Extracting non-renewable resources, such as metals, in ways that do not systematically damage surrounding ecosystems and communities;
3. Respecting the welfare of animals; and
4. Avoiding conflict and human rights violations when mining valuable minerals.

Note that this goal applies to a company’s own activities. Natural resources which are purchased from suppliers are covered separately, by the Procurement goal.

To be considered sustainable, a company must do two things:
1. It must preserve the health of all natural resources it manages; and
2. It must protect the health of any ecosystems and communities impacted by its own harvesting and extraction activities.

Source: Future Fit Business Benchmark

Verified by Circle

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