Companies across the world are failing to set meaningful emissions targets for their supply chain functions.
If the sectors that rely on supply chain are to meet their own ambitious objectives, this has to change.
Looking for facts, figures, or ideas about how to reduce the carbon footprint of your supply chain function?
Here’s everything you need to know:
- What firms are failing to set supply chain emissions?
- The impact of supply chain on greenhouse gas emissions.
- 6 steps to cut supply chain emissions.
What firms are failing to set supply chain emissions targets?
Almost all companies have supply chains, regardless of their industry or size.
And, of these, a whopping 89% have failed to set science-based targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
This shocking finding comes from a recent report on supply chain decarbonisation by Tata. The report looked into “public data from a randomly selected set of 400 public companies with combined revenue of 10 trillion” – and found the vast majority to be severely lacking.
The industries under the microscope included aerospace, automotive, telecom, life sciences, and travel.
Manufacturing, energy, retail, and consumer goods companies also featured, and emerged as most likely to publicise their emissions and sustainability initiatives. But, while transparency is important, much more needs to be done.
Supply chain contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. So, driving down pollution in this function must be made a priority.
The impact of supply chain on greenhouse gas emissions
It’s true that the contribution of supply chain to greenhouse gas emissions does vary depending on the specific activities involved.
However, recent studies help us to see just how big of a problem supply chain poses to sustainability efforts.
Just eight supply chains are responsible for more than 50% of global emissions, according to the World Economic Forum. These consist of food, construction, fashion, fast-moving consumer goods, electronics, automotive, professional services, and freight.
And that’s not all. Further research from the WEF has found that the emissions from global supply chains are growing at a faster rate than emissions from domestic operations.
So, not only does supply chain hold a large share of the responsibility for the current rate of pollution. It’s also becoming an increasingly important part of the overall greenhouse gas emissions picture!
With that in mind, let’s think about what we can do to change things.
6 steps to cut supply chain emissions
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sustainability initiatives. As such, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain will require a holistic approach.
Here are just some of the most impactful courses of action you could consider taking:
- Optimise transportation.
- Improve energy efficiency.
- Reduce waste.
- Source sustainably.
- Collaborate with suppliers.
- Implement a carbon management programme.
To guarantee success, it’s crucial that you make your process a collaborative one. So, engagement with and commitments from suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders will be pivotal.
1. Optimise transportation
As one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain, optimising transportation should be a priority.
Consider optimising transportation routes, reducing empty or partially filled trucks, and using more fuel-efficient modes of transport. You could also look into and consider investing in carbon neutral transport programmes.
2. Improve energy efficiency
Measures such as upgrading lighting and HVAC systems, using renewable energy sources, and implementing energy management systems can go a long way in reducing emissions in the supply chain.
3. Reduce waste
Reduce the waste generated in the supply chain by introducing waste reduction and recycling programmes. Other initiatives, include reducing packaging and finding ways to repurpose materials, will also make an impact.
4. Source sustainably
Find ways to source raw materials sustainably, for example by using recycled materials, or materials from certified sustainable sources.
5. Collaborate with suppliers
It’s important that companies also take responsibility for their external stakeholders, and particularly their suppliers.
Work with your suppliers to set sustainability targets, or discuss more sustainable alternatives to current practices. Could your suppliers also adopt the suggestions above?
6. Implement a carbon management programme
Accountability is key to staying on track.
So, it’s a good idea to develop a carbon management programme. That way, you can track and manage your emissions, measure your progress, and identify opportunities for emissions reductions throughout the supply chain.
Talent that understands sustainability
To help secure success in your initiatives, it’s best to appoint a person or team to lead the way. That’s where we come in.
Are you looking for talent to take your sustainability efforts to the next level?
Get in touch – we’ll help you find experienced supply chain professionals with specialised sustainability experience:
Call Us: 0333 360 1100