2018 Project Invitation – Supply Chain Sustainability Work Group

Working to drive the next evolution in buyer/supplier engagement on sustainability by identifying and promoting leading industry-driven supplier engagement approaches that are built on shared responsibility, focused on actionable outcomes and aligned with global systems/standards.

Corporate sustainability leaders face challenges related to the wide variety of expectations for assessing supply chain sustainability. Many are seeking ways to better understand the sustainability performance of companies within their supply chain while responding to similar requests from their own customers. While the objectives of such efforts are often similar, their approaches are typically quite different. GEMI believes there is strong potential to enhance coordination across efforts and further home in on data that drives action while increasing value for both buyers and suppliers.

To address these concerns, GEMI has worked to build a cross-industry coalition of leading companies and industry trade associations to promote increased alignment across industry-focused supply chain sustainability initiatives while advancing strategic collaborations that drive innovation and continuous improvement in the sustainability performance of both buyers and suppliers. The Work Group leads a variety of internal research and external communication and education activities to advance its vision.

GEMI SCS Workshop (2017)


  • Increase awareness of existing industry-focused SCS solutions, and promote activities in support of those issues identified in GEMI Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles.
    • Deliverable: Develop GEMI Q&A Profiles on Industry Approaches to SCS. Publish bi-monthly blog feature interviewing project members and/or other organizations nominated by members, that will be shared on GEMI website and social media.
  • Enhance communication between buyers and suppliers to improve understanding of buyers’ sustainability expectations (why / how supplier data used) and awareness of suppliers’ experiences.
    • Deliverable: Organize an SCS Workshop on April 11-12 in Houston. Facilitate discussion with key buyers regarding their supplier sustainability expectations as well as supplier pain points. Develop executive summary highlighting insights and opportunities shared through workshop.
    • Deliverable: Develop GEMI Quick Guide on Strategic Buyer / Supplier Collaboration. The GEMI Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles may serve as a framework for the document. The document will highlight best practices and strategies to promote strategic buyer/supplier collaboration and innovation, and include company case studies examining successful programs.
  • Promote dialogue with SCS data collectors (3rd party providers / industry-specific coalitions) on opportunities to streamline data collection, promote mutual recognition, and enhance focus on value-driven outcomes.
    • Deliverable: Organize an SCS Workshop in Fall 2018 to continue discussion with key buyers on sustainability expectations, while also engaging 3rd party data collectors regarding opportunities to streamline and enhance value of data collection efforts. Develop executive summary highlighting insights and opportunities shared through workshop.
    • Deliverable: Develop and publish 2-3 case studies examining why and how data in selected harmonization efforts is used for business-decision making, and highlighting opportunities to enhance coordination across efforts.

GEMI offers a unique platform for companies and industry trade associations to engage with corporate leaders, fellow industry groups, NGOs and 3rd party providers on industry-focused supply chain sustainability issues, and promote increased alignment across initiatives. We welcome representatives of companies and industry trade associations to join GEMI’s efforts in 2018.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about participation in GEMI’s SCS Work Group, including 2018 participation fees and expected deliverables.

Interested in Participating?

Complete the short form below to receive more information on participation

Project Invitation – External Future Forces That Will ‘Disrupt’ the Business of Sustainability

What four or five external future forces are most likely to ‘disrupt’ the business of sustainability for companies, the industry, and society at large—thinking ten years ahead? 

In 2007, Institute for the Future created a 10-year custom forecast for GEMI focused on external future forces likely to disrupt sustainability. The forecast was quite accurate and it gave GEMI project members unusual foresight that contributed to their business strategy. Now, we are looking ten years ahead again at a very different future in a very different world. In this world, it is too late to have just a sustainability strategy. Now, companies must have a strategy that melds sustainability and business.  Click here to review the 2018 project proposal.

GEMI/IFTF 2007-2017 Sustainability Map

GEMI is seeking a preliminary indication of interest from organizations wishing to participate in and contribute to a new custom forecast that will point a ten-year lens on external future forces—including both threats and opportunities—that will disrupt sustainability, with a focus on business choices and business strategy.

The goal of the project is to use foresight to awaken, engage, and drive change in the present. Urgent future disruptions are looming and this project will provide the grounding to engage with and win through the most important external future forces.

This project will focus on this research question: Over the next ten years, what four or five external future forces are most likely to disrupt the business of sustainability for companies, the industry, and society at large?

We will focus in particular on the links to digital transformation and the impacts on the business of sustainability. This new forecast will help leaders glimpse and understand the future disruptions in the environment within which they will be required to win. It will help companies heighten their game, and it will give a rigorous, provocative futures perspective to inform business strategy.

GEMI’s goal is to raise funding for this project from a range of companies / organizations, all of whom are interested in successfully navigating the major future forces that will affect the business of sustainability over the next decade. This cost-shared model allows project partners to receive the map and presentation at a much lower cost than commissioning this foresight individually. Active GEMI member companies will be invited to participate at no additional cost.

The fee per partner company is $15,000 USD and GEMI’s goal is to secure commitments from a minimum of 10 organizations. If GEMI is successful in securing a minimum of $150,000 in funding commitments from interested organizations, the project will be kicked off in 2018. If there is not a sufficient response to GEMI’s project solicitation, GEMI and IFTF will work to be prepared to execute the project in 2019.

IFTF will develop a new custom forecast map for project partners in pdf form to allow partners to focus strategic conversations on the four or five most important external future forces. The 2007 map was a very accurate forecast, but as the speed of business has increased, maps like this are just too busy to engage many top executives. This map will be just as content rich, but more clear and actionable.

In addition to the map, IFTF will create an annotated PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the forecast in a form that can be used easily by the sponsor companies, even when IFTF is not present.

IFTF will offer presentations of the forecast at sponsor location at a cost depending on which staff members are involved in that presentation. The new custom forecast map will be available to project partners first, but then will be public after an agreed upon period.

The target kick off for this research project is March 25, 2018, with the final map and presentation delivered six months thereafter.

If you would be interested in learning more about how you can participate in and contribute to this project, please click here to express your interest . Please contact us with any questions.

Interested in Participating?

Complete the short form to receive more information on participation

GEMI holds Fall membership meeting in Charlotte

Washington, DC – The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), a global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, held its Fall Membership meeting in Charlotte, NC on November 9-10, 2017. The meeting was hosted by GEMI member Gannett Fleming at the Microsoft Technology Center in Charlotte.

The meeting brought together industry groups, 3rd party providers and corporate leaders to discuss principles and approaches for addressing sustainability across the supply chain, measuring and managing supply chain emissions, and working across the supply chain to advance a circular economy. Speakers included representatives from Ecodesk, EcoVadis, Gannett Fleming, Institute for the Future, Maersk Line, MBJ Strategies, NASCAR, Quantis, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods, Trucost, Wake Forest, Waste Management and World Resources Institue.

Supply Chain Sustainability

Mary Beth Jordan, MBJ Strategies LLC, provided an overview of research conducted through the GEMI Supply Chain Sustainability (SCS) project in 2017, including a GEMI SCS Solutions Map, Case Studies and Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles. She then facilitated discussion on the next phase of work for GEMI’s Supply Chain Sustainability Work Group, including a targeted effort to engage and understand expectations of key buyers who are driving supplier sustainability programs. Next, Peter Rau, EcoVadis presented the results of the Global CSR Risk & Performance Index 2017, followed by a discussion of opportunities to promote engagement, continuous improvement and innovation across the supply chain from James Burke, Ecodesk.

Measuring / Managing Emissions 

Catherine Kummer, NASCAR, shared information on the NASCAR Green program, and discussed the approach the organization is taking to engage its employees, fans, and partners to reduce the sport’s environmental impact. Karl Hausker, WRI, then shared information on two recent reports on decarbonization pathways for the United States, and noted key issues/opportunities for industry to consider.

Brian Werner, Trucost, spoke to trends and gaps related to increasing expectations for corporate ESG disclosure and highlighted risks companies should be considering related to carbon pricing schemes.  Michele Zollinger, Quantis, shared approaches for accounting for emissions in the supply chain and discussed the use of lifecycle assessment in measuring and managing supply chain risks.  Finally, Lee Kindberg, Maersk Line, discussed opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of supply chain transportation and shared various methods to account for transportation impacts.

Zero Waste Economy 

Ron Cotterman, Sealed Air,  discussed various approaches to zero waste and shared examples of Sealed Air’s zero waste strategy related to its operations, products and value chain, with a particular emphasis on source reduction.  Susan Robinson, Waste Management, then introduced the concept of sustainable materials management and discussed the benefits of using a lifecycle based approach to reduce environmental impacts across the value chain.

The meeting also included a discussion with Stan Meiburg, Wake Forest regarding what industry is looking for in future environmental / sustainability employees and issues that academics should consider as they develop new sustainability curricula.  The meeting closed with a discussion from Bob Johansen, Institute for the Future on the opportunity for GEMI to explore what sustainability issues are most likely to disrupt the current business environment over the next decade through an update to the GEMI / IFTF Map of Future Forces Affecting Sustainability.

For more information about GEMI, membership and upcoming meetings, visit or email GEMI’s Program Manager Kellen Mahoney at

About GEMI

GEMI is a global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.