Tips for Managing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Supply Chain – Part 1

By: Alexandra Kueller

BSR recently published a report that focused on targeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Chinese suppliers in hopes of reducing said emissions. With looking to assist global companies in reducing GHG emissions, BSR’s report can be expanded and applied to suppliers all around the world.

We went ahead and broke down the report into two sections, with first part focusing on laying the foundation for successful GHG reductions with your suppliers. The two points below – Demonstrate Commitment and Provide Direction – are key opportunities to help overcome challenges your business might face when trying to reduce GHGs with your suppliers:

Demonstrate Commitment

All too often, collaboration among buyers and suppliers can become sidetracked when one party (or both) is too focused on short-term issues. Take the lead and show that you are committed to the long-term. Two ways of doing so are by ensuring internal alignment & capability and by signaling long-term climate engagement.

In order to move forward with reducing emissions with your suppliers, you first need to make sure that everyone within your company is on the same page. Some companies, like HP for example, aligned its supplier sustainability team with its broader supply chain cooperation to help ensure that everyone had the same goal across the board.

According to BSR, companies that are making progress in long-term climate engagement tend to have the following views:

  • Climate is seen as both an urgent and long-term issue that needs to be taken seriously
  • There is a need for integrating energy and climate considerations into a company’s business strategy and plan
  • Actions are connected and reinforced through programs, policies, etc. to help reach business goals
  • All offices – corporate, regional – are aligned to offer the same, organized, and clear message

So don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers and make some changes!

Provide Direction

How many times have you been working on a project with multiple people and no one’s ideas or vision seem to line up the same? This situation is also common among companies and their suppliers when it comes to reducing GHG emissions. It is important to provide direction, that way there is little to no confusion between you and your supplier (and that way you can start seeing some reduction results!).

In order for your company to provide the best direction possible, it is imperative that you find the best possible framework for your company. Once you have the best framework, you can start your plan of attack: do you go for the “low-hanging fruit” or do you want to have a goal that will take more time?

Once you figure out what direction your company is taking, it is also important for you to find suppliers that are willing to take your direction and make the most out of it. According to the BSR report, here are the three “A’s” to look for in supplier carbon management:

  • Ambition – management commitment, previous energy work, willingness to collaborate
  • Actionable information – desired potential actions, progress on potential actions, sector-specific energy priorities
  • Ability – energy management experience, data collection capability, energy management team

No time is better than the present to start mapping out where you want your company to go and provide the direction that will help you reduce those GHGs!

Look for the second part in our next blog, but if you want to learn more about sustainable supply chains, you can do so by reading our white paper.