Forget game-changer, U of A group recognized as world changer

The Sustainability Consortium jointly administered by the University of Arkansas and the University of Arizona, with support from Walmart and many of its suppliers, is ranked among 10 ideas changing the way people live by Scientific American.

The publication’s list of 10 World Changing Ideas for 2012 where characterized as, "innovations that are radical enough to change our lives." The 90-member consortium describes itself as a global organization of businesses, universities and nonprofit organizations that develops science-based tools to advance the measurement and reporting of consumer product sustainability.

"We are honored, and we humbly agree," said Jon Johnson, professor of management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Sustainability Consortium’s co-founder and academic director. "That has always been our focus all along – to develop robust, science-based knowledge and tools that companies all over the world can use. It was our hope that our work would effect real change – economically, socially and environmentally. We are seeing that now, and others are starting to notice, which is gratifying."

The Sustainability Consortium was recognized as a superior sustainability measurement and reporting system because of its comprehensive nature and cross-sector approach. The consortium will publish information for more than 100 product categories in 2012. The organization focuses on the areas of food, beverage, agriculture, electronics, toys, home and personal care, paper, pulp and forestry, and packaging. An additional group focused on clothing, footwear and textiles will begin working in February 2013.

"The consortium’s ratings will factor in closely held data on emissions, waste, labor practices, water usage and other sensitive factors," said Adam Piore, who wrote the article for Scientific American. "The data should make the index more comprehensive than others."


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