Q&A with Sheila Bonini

Sheila Bonini, WWF

SVP Private Sector Engagement at WWF

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

What is your very first memory of TSC?

When I first came into contact with TSC, it was focused on using LCAs to provide sustainability ratings of products. It was an ambitious undertaking that would have taken hundreds of millions of dollars, and many years to ever be able to cover all the products in your average retailer. Fortunately, they had another scheme up their sleeves, and created the current sustainability measurement and reporting system (so elegantly named – SMRS), which I think of as ‘LCA light’. It still uses the best science, but it translates that science into something that is affordable, and able to scale quickly.

How do you feel TSC has evolved over the past few years?

TSC has always had impressive technical expertise, and an incredible system of gathering stakeholder input, but what it has accomplished in the past few years is to move from a focus on making the best metrics to a focus on impact. The metrics help us identify the thorniest issues or ‘hot spots’, and TSC is now able to leverage the data coming from the metrics to work on solving those challenging issues.

During the years you were CEO of TSC, what do you think one of the breakout strategies during that time was that is still propelling TSC today?

While there are important breakthrough strategies (such as the development of the SMRS described above), the most important thing propelling TSC is the strong basis in science and the incredible technical expertise. This has helped TSC propel its core work on metrics work, but also the work around chemicals, agricultural metrics and commodity mapping. During my tenure, TSC developed its first Impact Report – which was an effort to focus on and communicate the impact of TSC’s tremendous science-based work.

What does the future of sustainable consumer goods look like?

Today we consume more than the earth can maintain, at the same time we have a growing population. In order to meet the future demand for consumer goods, we need to find ways to significantly reduce the Impact of those goods to ensure a healthy planet for future generations. We already see younger consumers caring more and more about the sustainability of the products they purchase – I imagine a future where we have radical transparency around the sustainability of consumer goods, and we have companies competing to provide the most sustainable products – and these products will have a fraction of the environmental impact of what we consume today.

About Sheila Bonini

Sheila Bonini has joined WWF as our new senior vice president of Private Sector Engagement (PSE).

Most recently, Sheila served as the chief executive officer of The Sustainability Consortium, a global organization focused on making consumer products more sustainable. In that capacity, she helped develop more sustainable consumer products across the full product lifecycle.

Prior to joining TSC, Sheila spent more than 15 years with the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Europe, South America, and the US. Sheila served as senior expert consultant and co-leader of McKinsey’s Sustainability Transformation Service, and her work at the company focused on the link between social and environmental impact and financial value creation. Prior experience includes investment banking at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, as well as positions with the Hewlett Foundation and Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation.

Sheila has a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford University. She’s a frequent speaker and writer on sustainability, and has a strong network of corporate leaders in this field.

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