According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a grouping of notable corporations reduced their supply chain’s carbon footprint by 633 million tons in 2018. This resulted in a yearly valuation of $19.3 billion saved for their collective companies.
Among the coalition taking the carbon emissions initiative were Walmart, Target, Kellogg, and Dell. “The 115 members, representing $3.3 trillion in procurement spending, made disclosure requests to 11,692 suppliers asking for information related to climate change, deforestation and water use, and the report is the product of 5,600 responses. 43% of members confirmed they ban existing suppliers based on environmental factors, and an additional 30% are considering this practice for the near future.” [Emma Cosgrove, Supply Chain Dive]
The importance and direct correlation between sustainability and continued pollution relies heavily on individual supply chains and not predominantly on major corporations. According to the CDP, this is because most businesses carbon emissions are five times smaller than that of their supply chains, forcing the influence to change further down the proverbial chain.
Engaging with suppliers in a collaborative manner for “the greater good” is a foreign concept for many. Direct engagement with suppliers in any form other than the movement of typical commodities on a consistent basis is extraneous.
Program involvement and transparency in carbon disclosures are increasing, but only 35% of the participants have actual reduction targets set. While this will initially make a difference, the predictive amount of carbon needed to be reduced equates to far more supply chain sustainability than currently being encouraged.
An early factor raising climate change flags industry wide were the questions and ideologies from investors. Corporate buyers were a silent persuasive game changer while pressuring for company sustainability implementations. This could have been the push the industry needed. Sonya Bhonsle, global head of supply chain at CDP goes on to note, “the number of companies reporting to purchasers about climate change, deforestation and water security over the past decade now exceeds the number reporting to investors.”
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