Global Purchasers With Over $3.3 Trillion Annual Spend Are Scaling Up Supply Chain Sustainability

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Environmental impact non-profit CDP has this week announced that the 115 of the world’s largest purchasers it works with, which together represent annual spend of over $3.3 trillion, are requesting environmental data from over 11,500 suppliers.

CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, has been collecting supply chain for some of the world’s largest purchasers for ten years, and this week the non-profit published annual figures showing that 115 separate organizations — with spending power worth over $3.3 trillion, and up 15% on the 99 organizations who were working with CDP in 2017 — have tasked CDP with collecting environmental data from over 11,500 suppliers.

The list of 115 companies includes behemoths like Walmart, CVS Health, Target Corporation, and Tesco, which are all seeking data from their suppliers so as to reduce environmental risk and to cut carbon emissions in the supply chain. This scrutinizing is backed by companies which are similarly looking to their own impact, and implementing science-based targets to reduce their own emissions in line with efforts to decarbonize to contribute to keeping the global temperature increase below 2°C. This is of course supported by the Science Based Targets initiative, which is backed in part by CDP, which helps companies to develop and approve such targets.

Retailers like those listed above aren’t the only companies seeking supply chain data, and in 2018 a number of other began working with CDP, seeking supplier data, including:

  • Belgian-Brazilian company AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer with revenues of $46 billion in 2016, and its Brazilian subsidiary AmBev
  • Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the main municipal utility in the United States, serving over four million residents
  • Leading specialty chemicals companies Croda (UK) and Arkema (France)
  • Royal Bank of Canada, the largest bank in Canada by market capitalization.

“With emissions in the supply chain on average around four times greater than those from a company’s direct operations – and rising to up to seven times greater for retailers and consumer-facing companies – large multinational corporations cannot comprehensively address their environmental impact without looking to their supply chains,” explained Sonya Bhonsle, Head of Supply Chain at CDP. “It’s very encouraging to see so many of the world’s biggest buyers taking supply chain sustainability seriously. By requesting data from their suppliers, they are shining a light on the risks hidden deep within their production chains – and uncovering a myriad of opportunities for reducing their overall environmental footprint, boosting innovation and cutting costs.”

“We are proud of the improvements we’ve made in reducing our own emissions, but we aim to do more,” said Ariane Grazian, Senior Manager, Walmart Sustainability at Walmart, which has been requesting data from its suppliers for ten years. “That’s why Walmart is working with CDP, our suppliers and others on Project Gigaton – an approved science-based target initiative aimed at avoiding a gigaton (one billon metric tons) of emissions from the global value chain by 2030. Walmart is collaborating with CDP’s supply chain program to accelerate action and track suppliers’ progress toward Project Gigaton. In year one, Project Gigaton has helped inspire action that has led to the avoidance of 20 million metric tons of emissions and has expanded into China and the UK with participation from over 400 suppliers with operations in over 30 countries.”

shipping“The future of Target’s business depends on taking care of the resources we have today, so we are constantly working to find more environmentally friendly ways to bring guests the products they want,” added Jennifer Silberman, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility at Target. “We have been reporting our own emissions to CDP since 2012, and will now seek this data from key Target suppliers to better support them in achieving greater efficiency, investments in innovation and sustainable choices. As Target puts the needs of people, communities and the planet at the heart of how we work today, to build a better tomorrow, we are confident this new work with CDP will be a catalyst for change across the industry.”

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Joshua S Hill

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