We're seeing huge pressure being placed on suppliers to reduce their carbon footprints, says Katie Burrows
For companies looking to implement sustainable practices into their operations, the first step is usually to make changes in-house, such as lowering energy use and assessing corporate travel such as company fleets and international business trips.
But with supply chain emissions 5.5 times more than a company’s direct operations, we are seeing huge pressure being placed on suppliers to reduce their carbon footprints.
Call for supply chain sustainability has shaken up traditional tender processes, with many firms listing the use of renewable energy and other sustainable practices as a prerequisite for doing business. Suppliers with poor environmental records risk being struck off.
“Pressure from consumer-facing organisations is acute”
Sainsbury’s, for example, has pledged to invest in a greener future for the whole business by reducing plastic packaging and ensuring that its suppliers are committed to cutting carbon emissions.
Pressure from consumer-facing bodies is acute as customers research into where they spend their money, with data playing a greater role in consumer decision-making. Various apps, for example, provide consumers with more brand transparency so they can learn about products’ origin and carbon footprint.
Companies need to build sustainability into their brands to survive. Research by Unilever shows that a third of consumers now choose to buy from brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good. The study also found that “sustainable brands grew 46 per cent faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70 per cent of its turnover growth”.
Aside from commercial advantage, firms also have a responsibility to contribute to the health of our planet. And if suppliers continue to cascade good practices down the supply chain, this can play a huge role in the rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.
Katie Burrows is energy services solutions manager at Haven Power