SSC Sheds Light on Sustainability Reporting Challenges Faced by Wal-Mart Suppliers

E&E Publishing reporter, Julia Pyper, recently interviewed SSC President Jennifer Woofter for her article, “64 companies follow Wal-Mart’s efforts to reduce suppliers’ emissions.”  Her article highlights the challenges that suppliers to Wal-Mart stores face while trying to meet the sustainability reporting requirements set by the large retailer.  She reports that the process of calculating emissions in the supply chain is currently riddled with complexity which can cause suppliers to spend a tremendous amount of time and capital in order to evaluate their carbon footprint. 

“Suppliers are suffering from survey fatigue,” Jennifer Woofter said. “One of the biggest challenges is that these companies have to develop a way to gather emissions data, not just with respect to their own operations but to their suppliers', too. They have to aggregate the data and present it in a meaningful way. Then they are expected to act on it.”

Jennifer further added, “The issue is made worse by the fact that big multinational corporations often aren't clear about why they want a Scope 3 emissions assessment in the first place and how they're going to engage in the cleanup effort, she said. If companies overwhelm their suppliers with survey requests without setting a larger goal and playing a part in helping them reduce emissions, the entire process could yield little besides more work.

She cautions companies to think carefully about the cost and benefits before starting a supply chain initiative, and to ask the following questions:  How is this going to build a better product? How will it improve the entire value chain?

Read the full article here.