Responding to Requests for Commitments

1Understand the Issue


Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a commitment before fully understanding the issue and potential impacts on your current priorities, your customers, your supply chain and other stakeholders. Just as determining your sustainability strategy was a strategic decision-making process, additional commitments or changes should undergo similar scrutiny. It is important to understand the potential ramifications up and down the value chain and on other attributes of sustainability. Consider where change would have to occur and how much is within your control vs. actions others must take, etc.


It’s OK to maintain one position publicly while you evaluate the issue internally and consider a potential change. During the evaluation process, you may have a public position that supports and explains your current strategy, while concurrently having conversations with others and researching an issue. A posture of transparency and openness to differing points of view builds trust with stakeholders.

Are you familiar with the issue/have you considered it in the past? Is the issue and issue environment unchanged since your last evaluation?

Yes No

If you answered no, research the issue to be sure the company fully understands the current state of the issue, implications and tradeoffs.

  • Who internally (functional area or subject matter expert) or externally (supplier, customer, trade association) has expertise on this topic?
  • What are the industry and competitors’ positions on this topic?
  • Should this be elevated to an industry issue vs. a brand or company position?
  • Should this be addressed by or in partnership with supplier(s) or others in the value chain?
  • It may be a subject that can be explored on a pre-competitive basis. Consider working through a third-party such as a commodity or industry trade association, sustainability group or non-governmental organization to share information and collaborate with others in a pre-competitive environment. See the Resources section for credible organizations and information.