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08/15/2022

The Importance of ESG Goals, Third-Party Certification

At the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Sustainability, Solange Ackrill, VP of Marketing and Corporate Strategy at Club Coffee, and Abby Ayers, Senior Director of Retail Partnerships at Fair Trade USA, discussed how retailers and suppliers alike are taking action with ESG goals.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
Zachary Russell profile picture

With sustainability concerns growing, environmental, social and governance (ESG) plans help communicate that suppliers and retailers are taking steps towards creating a greener, more equitable world.

At the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Sustainability, Solange Ackrill, VP of Marketing and Corporate Strategy at Club Coffee, and Abby Ayers, Senior Director of Retail Partnerships at Fair Trade USA, discussed how retailers and suppliers alike are taking action with ESG goals.

“I think the pandemic has been a bit of an accelerator for being reflective on what people’s roles are, and I think ESG is an aspect of that,” Ackrill said. “We want to do better for the world. The digital age and information access is key. Retailers want to retain loyalty beyond price, and ESG is something that’s very high on the list for consumers."

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Greg Sleter, Solange Ackrill, Abby Ayers
Greg Sleter, Solange Ackrill, Abby Ayers

Ackrill added that ESG is especially important to those in her industry: coffee.

“We’re seeing that it’s getting more prevalent, and I don’t think it’s going away from the access to information,” she said. “With certain things being regulated more now, it’s going to be even more top of mind.”

With increased interest in sustainability comes an increased need for third-party certification. Fair Trade USA works to hold retailers and suppliers to a high ESG standard.

“The thoroughness of a third-party certification… having transparent standards that anyone can look up, these are achievements that brands can showcase to their customers,” said Ayers. “And being able to demonstrate both social and environmental impact is critical. The conversation is so exciting now because we’re looking at the issue comprehensively. 75% of consumers from our most recent research indicated that a third-party certification provides trust that a product and company is taking action.”

The full forum can be viewed on-demand here.