Author Marie Kondo gained a global cult-like following with "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." The catharsis felt by her followers indicates just how cluttered many of our professional and personal lives have become.  A similar phenomenon has swept through the corporate sustainability world. If you're looking to clear out your corporate sustainability closet, read on for some tips on de-cluttering.
Materiality Assessment: Focus on what matters
The concept of materiality is simple: focus on what matters. The fact that this simple and somewhat obvious concept has been integrated into sustainability action plans with Kondo-like enthusiasm speaks volumes about the prior state of many corporate sustainability programs. Sustainability efforts were somewhat scattered and there was little guidance on how to prioritize or focus. A materiality assessment is the qualitative de-cluttering of your hot topics and initiatives.

How did sustainability get into such a state? For many years, organizations struggled to make sense of sustainability and were reactive to the latest research or to the day's headlines. A change in global dynamics led companies to face new concepts of sustainability and social responsibility, yet most had little idea how to address these emerging issues and business risks. As a result, responding to the voice of stakeholders became the modus operandi. Gradually, the number of topics voiced by stakeholders grew, so more things were added to our plates - but nothing was removed.
A materiality assessment is a key starting point for re-aligning the corporate sustainability agenda and allows us to weed out the many smaller or outdated concerns. Moreover, a materiality assessment renews our focus on a shorter list of topics that really matter to our business today. It's essentially a spring cleaning of our priority list. 
Many companies stop there. The danger in not going further is that a materiality assessment can identify or even fix symptoms without fully addressing a potential underlying problem: the lack of a clear  set of goals and a m eaningful strategy. See our case study to learn how  Farmer Bros used a materiality assessment for this purpose.
If a materiality assessment provides a compass, 
a full corporate footprint is our map.
Corporate Footprint: A metrics-based map for decision-making
The development of full value-chain footprinting, or Scope 3, has given us the ability to provide clarity about how our corporations are affecting the world and where the best opportunities are to do more good, and less bad. For many companies, this can mean putting more effort into improving supply chains or the use of their products. Leading companies have made significant improvements using this metrics-based approach for decision making

By understanding where the hot-spots are across the full value chain, the decision of where to invest time and resources takes on clarity and purpose.  The Scope 3 Evaluator , developed by GHG Protocol and Quantis, provides a good tool to get started.
Scope 3 footprinting is not only about greenhouse gas emissions. At Quantis, we're working with leading companies to take the same approach to address many other issues, such as water footprint, land availability, and many more. 

One example is with Kraft Foods . Roger Zellner, the company's Sustainability Director for Research, Development & Quality says, "Having the 'big picture' of our total footprint -- from farm to fork -- validates the focus of our sustainability efforts".

A full corporate footprint is as powerful a tool to a sustainability manager as financial results are to a CEO . A business manager would never consider running an organization without those metrics.
What metrics are needed for a 
science-based sustainability strategy?

The roadmap of hot-spots provided by a corporate footprint is a perfect way to drive understanding and action on the few key issues that remain after your closet-cleaning materiality work.

Jon Dettling, Quantis' expert on driving sustainable change with materiality assessments and full corporate footprints, can help you determine the metrics-based approach adapted to your sustainability goals. 

You can also c heck out our article  "5 Ways to Untap the Value of your Corporate Footprint" .

Let's de-clutter and focus on what matters.

Sustainability Management & Strategy

Our special report on the state of sustainability in the cosmetics sector will be out soon! 

In the report, Quantis takes a look at the top environmental sustainability issues impacting global cosmetics and personal care companies: 

Environmental Footprinting
Material Issues and Brand Risk
Packaging - Product Labelling - T oxicity
Water Risks - S ustainable Procurement
Science-based Targets
Designing for the Circular Economy
Valuing Natural Capital

Get your copy when it's launched 


Copenhagen, Denmark / Sep 26-28, 2016
Let's talk about metrics on the Quantis opening breakfast on Wednesday with Emmanuelle and co. More info in the workshops section.

Charleston, US / Sep 27-29, 2016
Learn about the benefits of veg meals and how to complement your company footprint with a materiality assessment.

Hamburg, Germany / Oct 3-6, 2016
Join Rainer to share your progress and best practices in the textile industry and to learn more about the World Apparel and Footwear Lifecycle Database.

Dublin, Ireland / Oct 19-21, 2016
2 Quantis keynotes on how to unlock value of your metrics and deforestation and many more! Contact us to learn more!

Bogota, Columbia / Nov 1-3, 2016
Join Simon from Quantis at the Ecodesign conference for Latin America!

Sustainable Brands Copenhagen
Sept 28, 2016 / 8:00 am - 8:45 am

If you are part of the SB Copenhagen edition, join Quantis and partners as we delve into how organizations drive meaningful change with environmental metrics. 

Moderated by Quantis

Industry partner panel
usetox Quantis Expert Corner

How to improve the evaluation of toxic impacts with USEtox2.0

USEtox is the scientific consensus model to evaluate human toxicity and freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity recommended by the European Commission in the ILCD handbook on impact assessment methods, and can be used to perform a Product Environmental Footprints (PEF). Four academic and industrial partners including Quantis worked on refining the model, extending the substance coverage, modeling additional exposure pathways, elaborating a more user-friendly interface, and incorporating some recent research outcomes.

The second version (2.0) of the model was released last year, to tackle some limitations:
  • Evaluation of indoor air toxicity,
  • Evaluation of human exposure to pesticide residues from direct application,
  • New regionalized landscapes for 8 continental and 17 sub-continental regions,
  • New documentation to assists the user in the development of new characterization factors and more user-friendly interface.
If you'd like to know more on these improvement or read the a dditionally updates read the Quantis Blog or contact Anna Kounina.

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+33 9 63 23 04 67
Quantis USA
+1 857 239-9290
+57 314 818 22 73

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