Around the world and in the UK, more and more large businesses are asking suppliers to disclose their carbon emissions. Some are going further – working with their suppliers to help them actually reduce carbon emissions and waste.
Some are doing it on their own. Others are doing it as part of a group initiative. Here are a few examples.
A big group initiative is the CDP’s supply chain programme to give large investors information about how sustainable corporations’ supply chains are, and encourage corporations to use their influence to drive change among their suppliers.
In 2014 66 multinational corporations – 15 headquartered in the UK – used this initiative to ask nearly 3,400 suppliers to disclose information on how they are approaching climate and water risks and opportunities. And CDP believes it’s in the suppliers’ interests to take part:
“Suppliers should recognize that it is in their own interest to embrace more sustainable modes of operation. Not only do these offer a means to reduce costs by driving efficiency in resource use, but sustainability is likely to become a key differentiator in the marketplace.”
Reporting is the start, not the end in itself. The CDP Action Exchange – a component of the Supply Chain programme – supports reporting suppliers to actually reduce their carbon emissions and benefit from financial savings.
What about corporations running supply chain programmes on their own? Several UK companies like ASDA run their own initiatives through the sustainability platform, 2Degrees Network.
The premise is quite simple and collaborative:
a) The sponsoring company invite its suppliers into the programme.
b) The suppliers are encouraged to share ideas, best practice that they can implement to deliver greater energy, water and waste efficiencies.
c) The suppliers cut costs and carbon emissions from their processes, improving their margins and giving the sponsoring company more competitive, more environmentally friendly goods.
These programmes are delivering fantastic cost and carbon cutting results. What might surprise and interest you is that the sponsoring companies say their relationship with suppliers have strengthened too.
Now who wouldn’t want a stronger relationship with a big client?