Leading dietary supplement brands and ingredient manufacturers have created a collaborative team, forming the Coalition for Supplement Sustainability (CSS). The group is a new member-driven trade association established to maintain sustainable, independently verifiable and transparent standards across the entire supplement supply chain. Originally known as the Non-GMO Dietary Supplement Working Group, the group has now formalized as a stand-alone trade association. "The type of collaboration that we were experiencing as a group, working often and intimately with direct competitors and primary vendors to find shared solutions, is unprecedented in the industry," said Robert Craven, CEO of FoodState, the makers of MegaFood dietary supplements. "I believe that we can create positive change in the supplement supply chain, working together to create a more trustworthy supplements industry as a whole."
Members of the newly formed association include FoodState (MegaFood), New Chapter, Garden of Life, Capsugel, Deerland Enzymes, Rainbow Light, Country Life, RFI, Ethical Naturals, NOW Foods, Natural Factors, Naturex, UAS Labs, Nutralliance and others. Now in its third year, the group aims to widen its focus beyond solely Non-GMO issues. Craven said, "We didn't want to stop there, as this type of teamwork can benefit the industry on many other issues. There is value in ongoing collaboration on any pressing issue for our industry: transparency, sustainability, and the like..." continued Craven. The group is currently focusing on building credible standards for the dietary supplement industry. Members collaborate to review proposed third-party verification standards across all aspects of the supply chain with the goal of creating a common consensus rooted in the application of international best-practices, validated testing and reliable scientific methods. The immediate focus is to collaborate with third-party verifiers to create a credible Non-GMO standard specifically for dietary supplements. The near term goals will expand from there.
"It may be hard to find common approaches, but I think we really share the same challenges and uniting on specific standards and test methods will benefit all of our companies and the broader industry," said Jeffrey Brams, general counsel and vice president of science and international at Garden of Life. Sara Newmark, director of sustainability at New Chapter, added: "We have come together as an industry to tackle some of our toughest challenges in a truly collaborative environment. It's an extraordinary commitment by our membership to put competition aside and focus on creating benefit beyond business interests."
The group is seeking further membership to ensure that companies of all types and sizes are represented. Those interested in membership can learn more at supplementsustainability.org.