The Sustainability Consortium [TSC] is to expand its global reach to China, partnering with Nanjing University to provide new insight to help improve the sustainability of consumer products - with a focus on clothing, footwear and textiles.

Nanjing University will be the fourth academic institution in the consortium, joining Wageningen University and the two administering universities, Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas.

It will work with TSC researchers to identify the social and environmental issues and associated with consumer products - along with ways to tackle them.

By taking regional issues and opportunities into account, the research carried out in China will "enhance the global validity of TSC's product sustainability criteria," the group says.

"This opportunity allows us to contribute to the global discussion of consumer product sustainability while also connecting with many of the world's largest retailers and manufacturers to enhance business in and around China," said Dean Bi Jun, dean of the school of environment at Nanjing University.

The group has also hired Wei Dong Zhou as its new China director, responsible for setting the strategic direction of its projects and relationships in the country.

The Sustainability Consortium is working to improve the sustainability of consumer products and their supply chains by developing tools and strategies to address environmental, social, and economic issues. Its 90 members include Walmart, Hanes, Cotton Inc, Li & Fung, Marks & Spencer.