Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sustainability – It Starts at The Supply Chain

Daniel Usifoh MSc, MCIPS, Co Founder of Axiom Sustainability Software 

As we move yet another year closer to the deadline for achieving Net Zero, organisations in the public sector are increasingly under pressure to improve their carbon footprint and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

Creating sustainable supply chains is a key part of this process, and essential for any organisation looking to achieve specific sustainability goals such as Net Zero. This involves identifying which areas of an organisation’s operations are adversely affecting its overall sustainability performance and making positive changes accordingly.

In practice, this could mean upgrading premises, insulation and heating systems, investing in new technologies, cutting supply chain emissions, securing sustainable accreditation or engaging in initiatives such as ESG and SECR reporting.

The Importance of Data

Before organisations implement sustainability programmes or begin carbon reduction initiatives, they need to know the figures.

Having a clear insight into an organisation’s overall sustainability performance and being able to measure its sustainability is dependent on having access to accurate data. Collecting and collating key emissions data (such as Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3) reveals not only an organisation’s direct environmental impact – but that of its suppliers too. This highlights areas in need of improvement throughout the supply chain and equips organisations with the ability to make informed decisions about how to make positive changes.

Scope 3 Challenges

Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions are highly significant in the journey towards Net Zero – as they make up around 80%+ of total emissions for a typical organisation.

Public sector organisations should prioritise these as part of their wider sustainability strategy, as they play a significant role in their overall carbon footprint. 

While Scopes 1 and 2 (internal emissions) are fairly straightforward, Scope 3 can be far more complex. As they are the indirect emissions that aren’t controlled by the reporting organisation, they can be very challenging to control, monitor and track. This can be quite daunting for organisations that are at the beginning of their sustainability journey or those with complicated or vast supply chain networks.

Despite this, it’s really important that public sector organisations find ways to overcome this challenge, as having limited insight into the carbon emissions of the entire supply chain will severely slow down progress towards achieving Net Zero. It’s also ethically the right thing to do – as claiming to be sustainable means nothing if your supply chain isn’t.

Utilising Specialist Software

One solution to this challenge is by implementing specialist technology or software.

This can be an incredibly valuable investment, as the right platform can automatically collect and collate essential emissions data – including Scope 1, 2 and 3. Specialist software can provide a centralised platform for gathering all the necessary sustainability data and can even allow organisations to directly engage with suppliers much more efficiently.

This provides organisations with accurate, tangible and trackable information that can help inform decision-making and accelerate the journey towards milestones like Net Zero. It can additionally make engaging with initiatives like ESG and SECR reporting much easier, which over time, can effectively reduce carbon emissions and improve the green credentials of your organisation.

Daniel is an experienced, senior level sustainable procurement professional with a passion for helping organisations achieve their sustainability and sustainable procurement objectives. Daniel is the Co-Founder of Axiom sustainability software and Gateway Procurement, focused on helping organisations and their supply chains to become more sustainable.

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