Executive Briefings

Opinion: Trade Associations Can Drive Their Industries Toward Progress in Sustainability

When most people hear the phrase "trade association," the first thing that comes to mind is likely industry trade conferences or perhaps lobbying. But someday soon, they just might think of sustainability.

Corporate sustainability must ultimately be driven from within an organization, but trade associations are playing a critical role in enhancing the efforts of its member companies and the entire industry they represent.

Take for example the conversations a group of experts had at a recent Supply Chain Transparency Summit. Industry associations were identified as highly valued groups in the drive toward supply chain transparency, because they are well positioned to help normalize new expectations across their industry. Associations can also assist small and mid-sized companies, who might be following behind the larger players in their industry, by gathering industry best practices and creating sustainability roadmaps.

As the world continues to face critical issues related to climate change and sustainability — problems that will require coordination and collaboration to solve — trade associations have an opportunity now to lead rather than follow. Here are some examples of the ways associations are already making an impact:

Standards and Training

The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct is a set of standards on social, environmental and ethical issues in the electronics industry supply chain. The standards set out in the Code of Conduct reference international norms and standards. In addition to the standard, EICC provides coalition members, their suppliers, and interested participants training via coursework and online learning academy. In addition, EICC has developed tools for members to help them measure and better understand how they are meeting the standard and what gaps remain.

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Corporate sustainability must ultimately be driven from within an organization, but trade associations are playing a critical role in enhancing the efforts of its member companies and the entire industry they represent.

Take for example the conversations a group of experts had at a recent Supply Chain Transparency Summit. Industry associations were identified as highly valued groups in the drive toward supply chain transparency, because they are well positioned to help normalize new expectations across their industry. Associations can also assist small and mid-sized companies, who might be following behind the larger players in their industry, by gathering industry best practices and creating sustainability roadmaps.

As the world continues to face critical issues related to climate change and sustainability — problems that will require coordination and collaboration to solve — trade associations have an opportunity now to lead rather than follow. Here are some examples of the ways associations are already making an impact:

Standards and Training

The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct is a set of standards on social, environmental and ethical issues in the electronics industry supply chain. The standards set out in the Code of Conduct reference international norms and standards. In addition to the standard, EICC provides coalition members, their suppliers, and interested participants training via coursework and online learning academy. In addition, EICC has developed tools for members to help them measure and better understand how they are meeting the standard and what gaps remain.

Read Full Article