Aidenvironment report: Business benefits of using sustainability standards: A meta-review (2017)

Banana workers at Platanera Río Sixaola © Adrián Coto for Sustainable Agriculture Network

This 2017 report by Aidenvironment and commissioned by  ISEAL, reviews the business benefits that using sustainability standards can deliver to various business entities along the length of the supply chain. It also aims to gain understanding on how benefits materialise and the limitations to the delivery of such benefits.

The review concludes that “standards offer a wide range of early benefits to businesses along the supply chain which can materialise at business, supply chain and sector level... The early benefits of using standards can significantly strengthen business value and sustainability impacts. Sustainability impact can also support the business value of businesses along the supply chain.”

The review identified five different clusters of early benefits of using standards: sales and marketing, operations, procurement, stakeholder engagement and sector-wide change. The authors observe “realising early benefits of using standards can contribute to a range of final benefits”, including “financial return on investment (profit, productivity, growth and reputation)” and “social return on investment in terms of social, environmental and economic impacts”. They also find “businesses value the sustainability outcomes and impacts of using standards as important values in their own right, but also because they generate other business benefits.

Another important insight from this review is that “the business benefits can vary considerably per specific product, country of origin, end product, destination market and type of supply chain.” Other influencing factors include the services and scope of a standard, the position of the business in the supply chain and other company characteristics such as  “organizational performance, company size, diversity of product portfolio and market share.”

To read the original, full report, click below.

To read infographics on the report, click here. 

Posted on 15/03/2017

Available Downloads

Summary - Business Benefits of Standards Report.pdf(1.2 MB) Download
Aidenvironment report business benefits of standards.pdf(1.02 MB) Download