Surge in emission reductions recorded across global supply chains

7th February 2018

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  • Supply chain ,
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  • Sustainable Procurement


Daniel Henry Patterson

Emission reductions equivalent to 551 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide were recorded across global supply chains in 2017, up from the 434 million registered the previous year.

This signifies greater reductions than the total amount of emissions produced by Brazil in 2016, with businesses reporting cost savings of approximately $14bn (£10bn) as a result.

The research, carried out by CDP, shows these improvements were thanks to a doubling in the number of companies tackling emissions in their supply chains, which are an average of four times greater than those from firms’ direct operations.

“The Paris Agreement will require businesses to play a key role to reduce emissions, manage water resources and limit deforestation within their operations and their supply chains,” UNFCC executive secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said.

“I am pleased to see that an ever-increasing number of companies reporting to CDP are integrating sustainability-thinking into their business models and applaud the members of the CDP supply chain program for being pioneers in this regard.”

The research involved collecting data from 4,872 supplying companies at the request of 99 of the world’s largest purchasing organisations, including Accenture, BT Group and KPMG UK.

It was found that 76% of the suppliers have now identified some inherent climate change risks to their operations, with more than half integrating this into the business strategy.

However, it was found that less than a quarter are in turn engaging with their own suppliers to reduce emissions, suggesting that there may be further business opportunities and financial savings to be made.

“Big businesses have for some time understood the importance of managing their scope 1 and 2 emissions, but scope 3 emissions are just as vital,” CDP global director of corporates and supply chains, Dexter Galvin, said.

“While it’s encouraging that awareness of climate-related risk is filtering down the supply chain, it’s crucial that engagement and action follows.

“As our findings show, this not only makes sound business sense, but can result in considerable cost savings for both purchasing organisations and their suppliers.”

Image credit: Shutterstock


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