‘Supply chain is the next frontier in sustainability’, says the Carbon Trust

‘Supply chain is the next frontier in sustainability’, says the Carbon Trust

The world’s largest corporate buyers are ramping up efforts to reduce emissions across their supply chains, according to research from global disclosure organisation CDP.

The CDP  Global Supply Chain Report 2017 reveals that global supply chain emissions fell by 434 million tonnes in 2016 – more than France’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2014.

The emissions reduction, which led to £10bn in cost savings, was driven by the world seeking to exploit the opportunities presented by the low-carbon transition, CDP says.

The report was commissioned by 89 companies with a combined purchasing power of £2.2trn. With disclosures from more than 3,300 companies, 68% of them recognised the value of taking positive action on climate change, while three-quarters reported significant climate risks.

However, the climate awareness of these major companies is not being translated further down the supply chain, according to CDP. The analysis, developed in partnership with BSR and the Carbon Trust, shows that only 22% of responding companies currently engage with their on suppliers on carbon emissions and 16% engage on water use. Less than half of suppliers have set climate targets and just a third reported a decrease in emissions last year.

In a new report: “Aim Higher: How can business help achieve the 1.5°C ambition in the Paris Agreement?”, the Carbon Trust highlights the crucial role of businesses in achieving a worldwide 1.5°C temperature reduction as outlined in the Paris Agreement, including a guide to the key steps in becoming a 1.5°C business.

Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said: “Supply chain is the next frontier in sustainability. Managing the environmental impact of your own operations is expected behaviour. But the greatest opportunities for reductions are typically outside of direct operational control, in the supply chain. While some are showing what can be done today, the majority do not yet have a clear understanding of how to measure their impact or find the value in working with suppliers.

“Large public and private sector organizations can deliver change at the scale and speed required to address the challenges of climate change and resource scarcity. We hope that our insight and the examples from the leaders engaged with CDP help to accelerate the shift to a more sustainable, low carbon economy.”

Supply chains are a “critical focus” for global corporations to reduce their carbon impact in the light of the Paris Agreement which requires GHG emissions to fall to net-zero before the end of the century, CDP says.

Heathrow Airport recently became the first in its sector – and only the fifth organisation in the world – to receive the world’s first certification standard for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its supply chain.

Further information

CDP  Global Supply Chain Report 2017  

Carbon Trust : Aim Higher: How can business help achieve the 1.5°C ambition in the Paris Agreement?