Responsible Sourcing Consulting

  • Overview
  • Understanding and Diagnosis
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Analysis and Insights
  • Review and Improvement
  • Benefits of Consulting
  • Why Work With NSF?

The agriculture and food industries face dynamic, complex and interconnected risks that potentially threaten the supply of raw materials and the reputation of brands. How a business navigates these challenges determines whether it succeeds or fails. NSF’s responsible sourcing services can help your company address food security and brand reputation risks by building sustainable, resilient and secure supply chains as well as by demonstrating environmental and socially responsible sourcing practices.

Our responsible sourcing consulting services help you understand and diagnose these risks, and then design, implement, analyze and review mitigation options. Our process considers the raw materials sourced, complexity of supply chains, responsible sourcing priorities, progress made toward public commitments or CSR strategy, level of internal understanding and commitment to sustainable sourcing, key stakeholder relationships and how others have approached similar sourcing challenges.

Protect your brand by knowing and managing your risk environment.

Use of NSF consulting services does not provide an advantage, nor is it linked in any way to the granting of certification.

Understanding and Diagnosis

The first step in the supply chain sustainability engagement cycle is to begin to recognize, understand and diagnose your current state. We provide the following services in those areas:

  • Fully Integrated Risk Scanning Tool (FIRST): This proprietary NSF tool identifies key environmental and social indicators and scans those indicators for risks—both in terms of risk likelihood and in terms of each risk’s potential impact on your company’s supply chain.
  • Planning facilitation: Enables intensive discussion and activity regarding your company’s responsible sourcing efforts, including how to improve performance within manageable levels of risk and resources.
  • Policy and strategy development: Increases supply chain transparency, knowledge and understanding.
  • Gap analysis: Compares actual performance in responsible sourcing with potential or desired performance.
  • Trend impact analysis for supply chains: Systematically examines the effects of possible future events by extrapolating historical data. The events can include technological, political, social, economic and value-oriented changes with respect to business risk.
  • Horizon scan: Detects early signs of potentially important developments through systematic examination of potential threats and opportunities. The scan emphasizes technological developments, unexpected issues and changes in past assumptions regarding persistent problems and trends.
  • P-value assessment: Assesses probability as a percentage risk of a fault at one end of a supply chain becoming or escalating into a problem at the other.


Once you fully understand where your supply chain currently stands, we can work with you to prioritize opportunities and design solutions.

  • SWOT analysis: Identifies both internal and external influences to help your organization develop a full awareness of all the factors involved in proposed new responsible sourcing initiatives and policies as a precursor to these efforts.
  • PEST analysis: Focuses on external environmental factors affecting your company by exploring political, economic, social and technological influences on their supply chain. Performing a thorough PEST analysis helps companies analyze the threats section in SWOT.
  • Opportunity prioritization: Determines the relative opportunity cost, potential impact and relative importance of a diverse array of options when there are multiple criteria for determining importance to improve supply chain sustainability.
  • Policy and strategy design: Provides development of sustainable sourcing strategies and policies, and internal governance policies.
  • Feasibility studies: Analyze how successfully a proposed project can be completed, accounting for economic, technological, legal and scheduling factors to determine if it is technically feasible, within estimated cost and profitable.


After prioritizing opportunities and designing solutions, we can implement risk mitigation opportunities.

  • Project management: Oversees implementation of your responsible sourcing strategy or aspects of that strategy.
  • Authentication and verification: Performs audits to recognized sustainable sourcing standards including animal welfare, environmental best practices and social compliance.
  • Product claims: Provides standard and custom certification and auditing programs for supply chains and raw materials, with technical development of assurance programs across areas such as food safety, quality and sustainable sourcing risk management.

Use of NSF consulting services does not provide an advantage, nor is it linked in any way to the granting of certification.

Analysis and Insights

Upon implementation, it is critical to analyze the practices put into place.

  • Metrics and reporting: Utilizes primary data, existing and in-house tools/databases and industry-specific research to assess key performance metrics (for full lifecycle impacts and/or by supply chain phase).
  • Interpretation and prioritization: Identifies priority improvement areas and prescribes changes where necessary.
  • Business intelligence: Analyzes large data sets to optimize opportunities for competitive advantage.

Review and Improvement

Ultimately, continuous review and improvement of responsible sourcing practices is key. We can provide these services:

  • Benchmarking: Compares your company’s responsible sourcing processes and performance metrics to industry best practices and best practices from other companies.
  • System feedback and enhancement: Analyzes responsible sourcing practices and identifies opportunities for continuous improvement and optimization.
  • Training and development: Provides platforms to share knowledge, build relationships and challenge thinking.
  • Performance trend Analysis: Observes how client performance has developed over time and predicts how it is likely to develop in the future.
  • Integration support: Facilitates alignment of responsible sourcing efforts with overall business strategy, including marketing achievements.

Benefits of Consulting

Substantial financial, operational and reputational benefits can be reaped from adopting a responsible sourcing strategy. A well-constructed responsible sourcing strategy can provide business operators with critical differentiation in today’s extremely competitive business environment, and even deliver first mover advantage that contributes not only to the reputation of the business but to operational profitability and share value.

Investors as well as consumers are increasingly looking for evidence of responsible and sustainable sourcing practices. The better you understand and address the risks inherent in your supply chain, the better you will be able to protect your brand and gain competitive advantage in your sector, compared to those who are sourcing from the same supply chains but without the level of understanding or management practices in place.

Why Work With NSF?

NSF International is dedicated to helping organizations and industries develop more sustainable products and supply chains.

NSF’s responsible sourcing consulting team has extensive background and experience with different business models, commodities and risk areas. Our team has consulted with companies across the Fortune 1000 to assist in developing successful business strategies, supported by our own supplier assessments and risk analysis tools. This depth of experience has prepared NSF to build your brand value and customer loyalty, differentiate your brand, foster supply chain transparency, create consensus on sustainability and responsible sourcing goals, mitigate environmental and social supply chain risks, and identify operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Our responsible sourcing work is complemented by our wider range of sustainability and supply chain services, enabling our clients to approach their sustainability and supply chain concerns in holistic manner.

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