Roundtable Members Meeting (March 2017)

by Megann Head, Steelcase

Members of the Product Social Metrics Roundtable recently came together at Vebego’s offices at Amsterdam Schipol to advance the latest work of the Roundtable. Most members were in attendance, including BASF, Covestro, DSM, Nestlé, Phillips, Solvay, Steelcase, and Vebego. The main purpose of this meeting was to share updates of the current taskforces (Accelerating Acceptance, Methodology, Data/Cases), present relevant research, and discuss next steps for the Roundtable.

After taking in the amazing views of the runway at Schipol from the Vebego offices, an update on the current methodology updates being developed by the members was presented. A new definition and stakeholder group has been proposed to add to the Handbook, “smallholders.” The discussion centered on how this would fit into the current methodology and how the impacts would be assessed. Two case studies are centered around smallholders, one on Guar and another on Coffee. These two studies will test the current definitions and reference scales being proposed.

The Accelerating Acceptance task force’s update centered around the various communications that have been developed about the Roundtable. A newsletter was sent out in March 2017, the first one from the Roundtable! The US Forum was also discussed and ideas were generated on what to present at that meeting.

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At the last in-person meeting in November 2016, a research proposal was presented on social impact assessments in China and how social topics are understood and developed in China. The results of this research were shared, including the various standards that already exist in China on social impact and how the challenges that seem to exist in utilizing the Handbook in China. The members will be reaching out to their counterparts in the region to better understand if they are currently using any tool to assess or measure social impact and if the Handbook would be useful for them.

The next meeting will be in June, in conjunction with a Forum for interested parties to learn more about the work of the Roundtable and how to get involved. Until then, the current members will be actively working to complete case studies, finalize methodology on smallholders, and accelerate acceptance!