What Is Business Sustainability? | Definition from


What is business sustainability?

Business sustainability, also known as corporate sustainability, is the management of environmental, social and financial concerns by a company to ensure responsible, ethical and ongoing success.

In traditional corporate culture, social and environmental concerns are often considered to be in conflict with financial goals. For example, depletion of nonrenewable natural resources isn’t a sustainable practice. However, because greener alternatives typically require new investments in infrastructure, continued reliance on fossil fuels is the least expensive short-term option for energy usage.

In the long run, though, going green can increase a company’s sustainability by reducing its energy costs, carbon footprint and climate-related business risks. Similarly, investments in socially responsible and ethical practices might initially cost more money, but lead to enhanced recruitment, branding and public relations — and, ultimately, increased profitability.

Why is business sustainability important?

Business sustainability helps resolve or mitigate environmental, social and economic challenges through the strategic management of corporate resources. It seeks to improve the effects a company has on the external world. In return, the business generates goodwill with customers, employees, community members, investors and other stakeholders.

In addition, a business sustainability program can lower costs and promote the long-term financial health of the organization. If a company spends less on electricity, water and other resources, it can increase profits. Similarly, a company’s sustainability initiatives might help improve business results by elevating its standing in the community and with employees.

Driving forces of business sustainability efforts: Investors, employees, customers and government.
The motivation for business sustainability initiatives comes from a variety of stakeholders.

Companies are advised to regularly publish sustainability goals and report on their progress toward reaching them. This transparency helps employees and outsiders understand how the business is contributing to a sustainable global economy. In addition, these progress reports help maintain trust with stakeholders.

Furthermore, business sustainability objectives and goals help organizations stay true to commitments to core business interests such as operational efficiency and shareholder value. Business sustainability has been incorporated into other business movements such as kaizen, a philosophy of continuous improvement that aims to reduce waste in manufacturing and business processes through a focus on increased quality control and productivity. Sustainability efforts also help to build more resilient supply chains by increasing efficiency and better managing costs.

What are the 3 types of sustainability?

Environmental, social and economic demands are considered the three pillars of business sustainability. In the corporate world, they’re sometimes referred to as the triple bottom line, a sustainability-focused framework for assessing a company’s social and environmental impact and the overall economic value it creates. This is a departure from the traditional concept of the bottom line, which evaluates all efforts in terms of their short-term effect on profits.

Three pillars of sustainability: environmental (planet), social (people) and economic (profit).
Sustainability affects environmental, social and economic business practices.

The three main pillars of sustainability are the following:

  1. Environmental sustainability garners the most attention from businesses. It requires companies to focus on improving energy efficiency in data centers and other facilities and on reducing their carbon footprint, packaging waste and water usage, among other environmental issues.
  2. Social sustainability focuses on corporate social responsibility and being a business that customers, the surrounding community, employees and investors want to support. Companies practicing social sustainability are advised to adopt fair labor practices and invest in long-term community relationships by giving back to the local community, among other steps.
  3. Economic sustainability focuses on long-term business profitability and includes activities such as corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance, ethical business practices and accounting transparency.

These three categories are commonly referred to by the acronym ESG — or environmental, social and governance. ESG is another framework that helps companies document their business practices, progress, and related risks and opportunities as part of business sustainability efforts. Businesses can then measure their success in these areas using various ESG metrics and report the results publicly. ESG rating agencies use the disclosures and other data to give companies ESG scores, which investors and other stakeholders can consider in evaluating organizations.

How to create a sustainable business strategy

While there’s no one right way to practice sustainable business development, organizations can implement the following best practices:

  • Address compliance. Companies need to pay attention to and meet compliance requirements regarding waste management, pollution and energy efficiency, as well as regulations related to corporate governance such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Failing to adhere to these regulations can result in financial fines and reputational damage, which can make it difficult to sustain a business.
  • Align overall business strategy with sustainability. Businesses should realize that contrary to traditional ways of thinking, sustainability isn’t at odds with higher profits or a competitive edge over business rivals. Sustainability — social, environmental and corporate — is essential for long-term success. Businesses should strive to exceed compliance and use sustainability to their competitive advantage.
  • Quantify results and return on investment. Businesses should quantify the return on sustainability investments to make progress easier to track. For example, on compliance-based sustainability initiatives, regulations typically outline a preset framework to help businesses measure their progress. Various ESG reporting frameworks and standards are also available to use. It’s generally more difficult for businesses to independently define a framework that measures sustainability, with the goal of achieving competitive advantage once base-level compliance requirements are met.
  • Be proactive. Anticipate potential areas of improvement and build them into the sustainability strategy before they become a visible problem. While most corporations understand the importance of sustainability, not all are proactive.
  • Be transparent. Disclosures about a company’s sustainability strategy must be shared with the board of directors, shareholders, customers, employees and the surrounding community. Businesses should also be forthcoming about where improvements are required and their plans to address that.
  • Collaborate. Work with other organizations — suppliers and business partners, for example — to jointly develop plans to address larger economic, environmental and social problems.

Examples of business sustainability

Long-term business sustainability goals require an extended timeline for return on investment — but once initial investments are made, they can lead to increased profitability. For example, so-called free cooling for data centers takes advantage of natural cooling methods to control temperatures in IT facilities. While investing in such approaches can require an initial cash outlay, free cooling relies on renewable resources that are freely available and reliable, which can eventually pay off for the business.

Another business sustainability practice is carbon offsetting. Businesses use carbon offsets to register their emissions and offset them by reducing emissions elsewhere in the world. For example, an airline might generate a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which are recorded and then offset in other parts of the world via forestry, landfill gas capture, or solar and wind projects. Businesses can receive credits for offsetting carbon emissions to validate their efforts. However, such initiatives can be considered greenwashing if the company overstates its environmental contributions.

Beware of greenwashing: Sustainability and social responsibility claims are often false or misleading.
Businesses engage in greenwashing to appear more environmentally responsible than they really are. Sustainability methods such as carbon offsetting can be used in greenwashing attempts.

Another way to achieve environmental sustainability in the enterprise is to embrace net-zero emissions both internally and across supply chains by using electronic vehicles or transitioning to environmentally friendly, low-impact refrigerants. Many companies, including H&M Group, Ikea, Nestle, Unilever and Walmart, have pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the coming decades.

Learn more about the potential business benefits of sustainability and ESG initiatives for companies.

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Pollution in North Dakota- how bad is it?


BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Earth Day was last weekend, but it’s always important to take time to consider our impact on the planet — particularly, the amount of pollution we let into the atmosphere.

As globalization increases, so too does the danger humans pose to the environment, and this is especially clear in the industry-focused USA. However, this isn’t to say that people aren’t seeing this as a concern, and many people attempt to reduce their impact on the environment — but how many of these efforts have borne fruit, and which states have the lowest levels of pollution? These are questions that QuoteWizard aimed to discover the answers to in a study of each state’s air and water contamination.

During their analysis, researchers based their results on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index measurements from 2022, including data representing air quality as “good” and the percentage of days that were considered to be “good” days. The pollutants covered by the EPA’s Air Quality Index include Ozone, Particulate Matter, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, and Sulfur Dioxide. A similar analysis of America’s Health Rankings data from 2021 was used to categorize water pollution levels based on drinking water violations.

Both of these statistics were then used to rank each state in the US based on their overall placements in air and water pollution — with rank 50 representing the lowest levels of pollution, and rank 1 representing those with the largest amounts. Many states often shared positions with others who had the same low statistics.

When the states were ordered based on the quality of their air and water, it was revealed that North Dakota is one of the least polluted places in the country — with some of the lowest levels of contamination nationwide.

Rank State Air Quality Rank Drinking Water Rank
1 Hawaii 50 50
2 North Dakota 49 50
3 Maine 46 50
4 Rhode Island 39 50
5 Massachusetts 37 50
6 Nebraska 47 28
7 North Carolina 33 50
8 Virginia 44 28
9 South Dakota 42 28
10 South Carolina 28 50

While our state is tied with many others for having a very low rate of water pollution, it’s especially notable for the number of ‘good air’ days that we experience. At least 95% of North Dakota days are defined as those with high air quality — the second largest number in the country, beaten out only by Hawaii (which boasts a 99% rate of clean air days).

It’s great to see that North Dakota has plenty of good air days — but even better to know that other states seem to be having more, too. From 2018 to 2022, while nine states saw a decrease in the percentage of good air days, on average, the U.S. increased the national average number of these days by 4.3%.

“The standards that have been established since the first Earth Day took place are having a positive impact on our air and water quality,” explains QuoteWizard Analyst Rob Bhatt in a press release, “but more needs to be done. When you consider the widespread risks that pollution poses to public health, it’s clear that we all have a stake in environmental protection.”

To view the full study from QuoteWizard, visit this page.

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HAGENS BERMAN, NATIONAL TRIAL ATTORNEYS, Encourages SVB Financial Group (SIVB, SIVBQ) Investors with Substantial Losses to Contact Firm’s Attorneys Before May 12th Deadline in Securities Fraud Class Action – Corporate Social Responsibility News Today – EIN Presswire

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The real existential danger is if US, China


China US

China US

Editor’s Note:

China does not pose an existential threat to the US, the real existential danger is “if we blunder into war,” Joseph S. Nye Jr., former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government who coined the term “soft power,” said during the release of his new book, Soft Power and Great-Power Competition: Shifting Sands in the Balance of Power Between the United States and China, on Friday, hosted by Beijing-based think tank Center for China and Globalization (CCG). During the book release, Wang Huiyao, CCG founder and president, had a dialogue with Nye, in which Wang raised questions on behalf of Global Times. This is an excerpt of the dialogue.

Wang: We are facing an unprecedented global situation, with growing great power rivalry and competition. Against this backdrop, how can we make things work between China and the US, to have more convergences rather than divergences, from the perspective of soft power? And how can we improve cooperation between the two?

Nye: I would say that there are aspects of soft power, which are part of the competition… (For instance,) China supports projects in Africa, and the Belt and Road Initiative is designed to make China more attractive. Similarly, when the US Agency for International Development (USAID) supports a project in Africa, that is designed to make the US more attractive. That aspect of soft power can be part of the rivalry. It is competitive.

On the other hand, there’s an aspect of soft power which can be a joint gain. And that’s when China feels more attractive to the US and the US feels more attractive to China. That’s the thing that will enhance our ability to cooperate. Our ability to compete is quite obvious. There’s too much of it right now. The question is, how can we increase our ability to cooperate? (I am a believer in) people-to-people contact – more students, more journalists, more tourists. I think these visits in both directions are helpful in developing soft power. It’s not that one doesn’t complain about the other country, but one understands the other country. It’s harder to demonize other people, if you actually have personal contact with them.

Wang: In our conversation a year ago, you raised a 20-year cycle when discussing China-US ties. You said now we are in a very difficult, challenging time, but maybe in 15 or 20 years, we will reach a new equilibrium. How can we overcome the current challenging period?

Nye: If we look back on US-China relations since 1949, the first two decades were open hostility. We even fought each other on the Korean Peninsula. That is followed by the period in the 1970s and early 1980s where after Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong met, where the US and China cooperated, because of concern about the Soviet Union. That was followed by, under the economic policies of Deng Xiaoping, a period of economic engagement. That period of engagement continues up until about 2015 or 2016 when the stress or emphasis became on great power competition. Roughly speaking, these different periods have been a decade or two each.

Now, if you take this most recent period from about 2016 or 2017, we’re six or seven years into the current period of great power competition. Who knows whether it will take one or two decades for us to see our way through this. History is not deterministic and we can also make mistakes of making decisions to push things in the wrong directions. I think in this current period, the important thing will be to realize there will be competition. But it’s important to have guardrails on the competition to make sure that we have constant communication with each other at the highest levels that we understand what each other’s red lines are, and also understand how to avoid getting ourselves into a crisis.

I think the current period of great power competition is likely to last for a decade or so, but nobody can be sure. But we have to make sure that we wind up working together to make sure that we don’t go off the road.

Wang: Unlike the hype from some other American politicians and observers, you stress that China does not pose an existential threat to the US. What is your argument to back up this stance?

Nye: Let me start with the basic question of whether the US poses a threat to the existence of China and whether China poses a threat to the existence of the US. My answer to that is no. China is too big for the US to change or control. The US is too big for China to change or control.

The only way in which we can destroy each other’s country or basically being a threat to each other’s existence is if we blunder into war. If you look through history, the threats that some people in America are thinking about, are China attacks the US like Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. That to me is not the threat that China poses to the US.

A threat is more like that in 1914, in which European great powers, thought their troops would be home by Christmastime and everything would clear up. Instead, they wind up with four years of terrible war, which killed over 10 million people and destroyed four empires. To me, an existential danger for each other is that we blunder like 1914.

That’s why guardrails are so important to get cooperation going. We’re going to have more meetings like the one that President Xi and President Biden had in Bali in a more regular, not occasional way, in which they indicate that they want two societies, two governments, to set up communication, and guardrails.

Wang Huiyao, CCG founder and president, talks with Joseph S. Nye Jr., former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, on April 28. Photo: CCG

Wang Huiyao, CCG founder and president, talks with Joseph S. Nye Jr., former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, on April 28. Photo: CCG


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SIVB,SIVBQ 2-WEEK DEADLINE ALERT: Hagens Berman, National Trial Attorneys, Encourages SVB Financial Group (SIVB, SIVBQ) Investors with Substantial Losses to Contact Firm’s Attorneys Before May 12th Deadline in Securities Fraud Class Action – Corporate Social Responsibility News Today – EIN Presswire

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Russian scholars hail Vietnam's position, economic potential hinh anh 1

Russian scholars hail Vietnam’s position, economic


Russian scholars hail Vietnam's position, economic potential hinh anh 1Participants at the hybrid seminar (Photo: VNA)

Moscow (VNA) – Russian scholars highly valued Vietnam’s position, role, and economic potential during events held within the 8th Vietnam Day hosted by ASEAN Centre of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on April 28.

The event brought together crowds of lecturers and students from Russian universities.

Addressing at a hybrid seminar organised within the event, Andrei Anatolyevich Baikov, Vice-Rector for Research and Global Engagement at MGIMO, stressed that it focused on challenges emerging in the world today in all fields so as to seek solutions to boost all-round cooperation between Russia and Vietnam.

MGIMO will continue striving to contribute to further promoting relations between Russia and Vietnam and other ASEAN countries, he said.

Boldyrev Alexander Viktorovich from Zarubezhneft petroleum JSC of Russia reviewed the oil and gas cooperation between the two countries in general and between Zarubezhneft and Vietnam in particular, saying that the firm is not only an oil and gas cooperation partner with Vietnam but also a contributor to strengthening political relations between the two nations.

He pledged that Zarubezhneft will make more effort to further strengthen cooperation with the Vietnamese side.

A joint discussion between representatives of MGIMO’s ASEAN Centre and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, along with four thematic debates, was arranged after the opening session, during which participants proposed many specific solutions to further strengthen the Russia-Vietnam relations.

Rapporteurs mentioned difficulties and challenges in the current global political and economic context, while highly valuing Vietnam’s international position, especialy Vietnam’s role at the UN, the country’s effective foreign policies, and the potential of Vietnam’s economy.

A book by Vershinina Valeria Valerevna – an expert from ASEAN Centre, which  provides analysis and assessment on the formation and development of Vietnam’s foreign policy, the country’s approach to the process of globalisation and integration, as well as its important contributions and role in regional organisations, was introduced within the event which also included a photo exhibition, an art performance programme imbued with Vietnam’s culture, and a trade fair introducing Vietnamese brand products./.

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STX INVESTIGATION: Hagens Berman, National Trial


STX INVESTIGATION: Hagens Berman, National Trial Attorneys, Encourages Seagate Technology (STX) Investors with Substantial Losses to Contact Firm, Firm Investigating Possible Securities Law Violations Related to $300 Million Fine Over Huawei Business – Corporate Social Responsibility News Today – EIN Presswire

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Top US trade ambassador stresses importance of


On the way to address delegates at the first-ever Cities Summit of the Americas at the Colorado Convention Center Thursday, President Joe Biden’s top trade ambassador stopped off at a bison ranch on Bijou Creek near Byers, Colo.

“Usually trade reps only travel in the U.S. when they have a policy they’ve brought back and now want support of,” U.S. Ambassador Katherine Tai told The Denver Gazette following a summit presentation Friday.

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“What we wanted to do is flip that entire exercise on its head,” she said. “Rather than at the end point when we start connecting to the interests of the American people, we need to do that at the start.”

Although this was her first trip to Denver, Tai is a bison fan.

“I’ve developed a taste for it,” she said, noting that she buys cuts at her Whole Foods in Washington.

Colorado beef producers are anxious for that input, said Erin Karney, spokesperson for the Colorado Cattleman’s Association. Producers, she added, are wanting stronger support on trade issues, but sense that “there hasn’t been a lot of activity from this administration.”

Overseas exports of beef, says Karney, are an outsized portion to ranchers’ profit margins — around $448 a head on cattle — due to the higher value that foreign markets put on certain varieties of beef, such as tongue and liver, that are less popular in the states.

“We’re working as a highest priority on the UK,” Karney said, noting that British markets have restrictions on hormone-treated beef that Colorado producers are anxious to sidestep. Producers want to educate trade delegates to reverse restrictions that are, they contend, emotionally based rather than science based, she said.

Local issues like that, Tai notes, are an important component of policy, even during years when an onslaught of more serious crises are placing an outsize focus on U.S. partnerships abroad.

“National security and trade policies are getting pushed closer together every single day, whether it’s with Russia in this very acute challenge, or with China, a more endemic challenge,” Tai said.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought about a reassessment of a vision of globalization, Tai told The Denver Gazette.

“It explodes one of the premises, that trading more, creating more economic activity internationally, was supposed to buy us peace; that nations that trade don’t go to war,” she said.

“Well, there are McDonalds in Russia and in Ukraine,” Tai said, “but that didn’t stop Vladimir Putin from making a non-economic decision to march across that border.

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“Peace brings prosperity, but prosperity doesn’t guarantee peace.”

In the face of that, Tai said trade policy, as with other national policies, need to work to rally democracies.

“Democracy is hard and messy, but it’s actually critical to our economic vision.”

Tai said that the administration’s approach to trade is the most effective way to win partners for the U.S. and to overcome some ongoing issues that contribute to crises across the globe. That includes on the U.S. border, where the fast-approaching end of Title 42 policies dating from the Trump administration that worked to return migrants back into Mexico now threatens a new wave of immigrants.

“Were working on that every single day,” Tai said, noting that the North American Free Trade Agreement had failed to address the disparities between Mexican and U.S. labor markets.

“As long as standards don’t improve in Mexico, it creates a downward pressure on our workers having to compete,” Tai added. The new United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement — instituted in 2020 to replace NAFTA — would be more effective in creating change in a system that has driven migration, she said.

“It has a better mechanism that allows us to work with Mexico,” she continued, adding that she has already seen a half dozen cases where situations impinging on Mexican workers in their native country had been exposed, allowing them to secure better wages. “It’s a policy tool where we’re helping to eliminate that differential.”

Tai also expressed hope that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would prove cooperative in keeping a focus on improving labor conditions in the country.

Meanwhile, China and its policies remain a central focus that will determine the success or failure of trade policies across much of the globe.

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“The Chinese have a very powerful and effective foreign policy,” Tai said. “I’m not sure what that vision is other than for a stronger and more economically prosperous China.”

She noted the importance of U.S. efforts to promote the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, launched by the administration last year, seeking to draw a perimeter of nations bordering China into tighter partnership with the U.S.

Tai said she had noticed that China’s actions in support of Russia since the Ukraine invasion evidenced a sort of nuanced approach — somewhat supportive, but well short of the unconditional support that the nations had pledged leading into the war.

“It’s important for us to have a nuanced approach to China,” Tai said.

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How traceability is essential for sustainability


By Shahid Sattar and Noreen Akhtar

The United Nations Global Compact defines traceability as ‘the ability to identify and trace the history, distribution, location, and application of products, parts, and materials to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims, in the areas of human rights, labor (including health and safety), the environment and anti-corruption (source trace n.d.).

Traceability is a major exercise to ensure transparency in the supply chain, that requires efficient supply chain mapping to track down various modes in the chain. If the products’ or materials’ journey along the supply chain is traceable, this helps understand aspects of both social and environmental sustainability (i.e. human rights, labor practices, and environmental footprint) associated with these products. This then assists in providing a basis to establish credible sustainability by providing reliability to the green claims by the companies (Cottonup n.d.).

Companies use different traceability models to trace their supply chain. Each model has its own advantages and limitations. The Identity Preservation model, for instance, provides traceability back to a single point of origin, from a farm to the final users, and treats certified products separately throughout the supply chain. The model, however, is expensive and resource-extensive. Moreover, in the certificate trading model, certificates/credits are issued at the beginning of the supply chain. These are tradeable certificates that indicate responsible production. However, this model lacks effective monitoring of data against traceability through the supply chain (Cottonup n.d.).

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The need for traceability

The demand for traceability is rising from both brands and the consumer side. While brands want to know the origin of the products, the conditions where they are manufactured, and their environmental footprint, the consumers are also prioritizing mindful purchasing, where they are expecting the products to not just meet style requirements but also social and environmental sustainability principles. Further, responsible and ethical production – the key pillar of a transparent supply chain, is a significant requirement from global buyers. For instance, the EU’s traceability and information requirements on products’ circularity and key environmental aspects have clearly received momentum in the recent EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textile. These regulations will gradually become non-optional for the major textile exporters such as Pakistan and the survival of their export market will largely depend on how effective traceability requirements are fulfilled compared to other regional competitors.

Improvement in traceability is a competitive factor that can bring several benefits to companies. For instance, brands validate green claims of products and practices through traceability data and communicate them to the end consumers, which increases the level of trust and sales and makes the supply chain more secure. Traceability also improves supply chain management for firms. It confirms sustainable sourcing practices and fulfillment of due diligence requirements; the responsible business conducts all businesses are expected to follow to avoid human rights violations and environmental degradation.

The textile sector from a traceability perspective

Traceability and disclosure of mandatory information is an integral parts of sustainability in the textile industry. The textile industry is long criticized for unsustainable practices including child labor, the use of fake organic cotton, and the discharge of hazardous chemical waste. This is caused due to the complex nature of the textile supply chain that involves numerous stakeholders at diverse levels. Therefore, a strong movement, traceability, is now in the limelight to not only promote eco-friendly practices but also avoid greenwashing.

The textile sector contributes directly and indirectly to the socioeconomic development of Pakistan. It employs around 45% of the country’s total labor force, contributes 8.5% to the GDP, and more than 60% to the country’s exports. Therefore, the sector’s functioning has gained the highest attention from both brands and consumers regarding whether or not its manufacturing is within the domains of social and environmental sustainability. To ensure this, traceability, as an integrated tool has been introduced and will be gradually imposed to digitally communicate and understand the holistic sustainability information.

Read more: Agricultural productivity and the challenge of climate change

Traceability will be a fundamental tool for Pakistan’s textile industry to achieve a competitive advantage and credibility, as it harmoniously supports all sustainability pillars: Ecological pillar, societal pillar, and economic pillar, as described by Kumar et al. (2017). The ecological aspect of a textile product indicates that three categories, namely, the manufacturing phase, use phase, and post-use phase are associated with the ecological pillar of textile sustainability. Each phase is linked with complex processes that result in crucial environmental damage and their communication becomes even more challenging. Thus, traceability communicates this information in a holistic manner, that can also be traced back to the original source. This changes the perception of the consumers who prefer green products in a positive manner, which acts as a catalyst to promote sustainable growth of the textile business.

The societal aspect of textiles includes social transparency in the supply chain. This aspect usually remains hidden from the brands and consumers, who prefer getting more information about how safe textile products are for consumer use as well as whether or not the product manufacturing fulfills human and labor rights. Therefore, experts suggest traceability as a well-established tool, that provides all information including that regarding cotton cultivation and farming practices, labor practices, and consumer safety(Kumar et al. 2017). This successfully promotes corporate social responsibility (CSR), which benefits all stakeholders in the supply chain. For instance, as farmers’ data can be traced via traceability tools, they can easily secure contracts and get better access to markets and services such as education (Cottonup n.d.).

The third pillar of sustainability, which is the economic pillar, includes a balance between efficient resource use for economic growth and environmental safeguard for people and species. Traceability contributes majorly to the economic sustainability of the textile supply chain. Traceability information reduces production-lead time as products can be efficiently located and traced, enhances the visibility of the supply chain to the end-consumers, and improves stakeholder responsiveness that reduces long-term costs associated with unsustainable practices (Kumar et al. 2017).

Cotton supply traceability

Traceability in the cotton supply chain has become a mandatory tool to assess the due diligence and sustainability efforts of the textile stakeholders in Pakistan. While some of the leading firms are concentrating their efforts to include traceability in their supply chain, many are lagging behind in adopting this newly-emerged sustainability tool. For instance, Interloop’s newest technology Looptrace aims to provide end-to-end traceability for cotton-derived products (from the farm level throughout the production process).

It is designed to support the stakeholders to trace and access raw material information that is transparent, thus helping them meet SDGs. Interloop’s vision for transparent sustainable cotton farming via its Looptrace project aims to maximize water efficiency, and soil health, reduce chemical use and improve labor working conditions. The project involves around 8000 farmers who are in continuous engagement through training (Interloop n.d.; Sourcing Journal 2022). Other companies such as Sapphire and Artistic Apparels have partnered with FibreTrace VERIFIED and climate-positive Good Earth Cotton to make each step of their supply chain traceable and credible (Apparel Resources 2022).

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APTMA, Pakistan’s top textile association, has pledged to make Better Cotton the mainstream commodity. It is playing a crucial role in providing training and promoting research on traceability and Yarn Ethically and Sustainably Sourced (YESS) standards in collaboration with WWF, BCI, and NTU (Better Cotton Initiative n.d.).Moreover, the export and use of high-quality cotton will become a necessary part of the industry’s supply chain traceability in the future. Therefore, APTMA has proposed to the government to support the establishment of the DNA Testing Lab by the APTMA Cotton Foundation (ACF). This lab will play a crucial role in determining the cotton origin at any stage of the supply chain and help the industry avoid false content claims in the finished products and the associated risks to boost the export-led business.

The way forward

The current traceability progress in Pakistan’s textile sector portrays a blurred picture. While firms are developing their own traceability systems, integrated mandatory provisions for textile supply chain traceability must be adopted, that aim to mandate all textile firms to progress harmoniously towards achieving international standards of traceability. It is required that the Government of Pakistan makes APTMA Cotton Foundation (ACF – A non-profit organization established by APTMA) the sole agency responsible for effectively tracing and record accurate supply chain information. Successful traceability can only be established if it is made mandatory and adopted by law.

A traceability system can only properly function under a central agency from farmers to ginners to spinning mills, manufacturers, retailers and brands acquiring data and tracking with an appropriate level of confidentiality to protect the commercial interests of individual exporters.


Mr. Shahid Sattar, now Executive Director & Secretary General of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), has previously served as a Member Planning Commission of Pakistan and an advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum, and Ministry of Water & Power.

Noreen Akhtar is a research analyst at APTMA. 

The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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