Among the many hurdles companies face toward a low-carbon production model, there is one particular challenge: promoting decarbonization throughout the supply chain. The recently published study, which was conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Engage the chain: driving speed and volume (No Portuguese version), gives the dimensions of the problem. According to the data, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in a company’s value chain are, on average, 11.4 times higher than their own.
Despite their significant impact on global temperature control, less than 5% of the chain, out of a sample of 11,000 businesses consulted, said they had already put climate change plans into action. What does big companies have to do with it? It may not be related to the problem itself, but it is definitely part of the solution. And they will pay for it.
To be clear: According to global standards set by the GHG Protocol, companies have to work on three fronts in the decarbonization agenda. In Scope 1, they need to ensure that emissions from their operational activities are reduced. In scale 2, those arising from the use of energy used during their productive activity. Finally, scope 3 relates to the emissions represented by the value chain. At the moment financial markets are calling for the first two bands to do more, but it will be time to look at the chain and those who are not ready can be punished.
Many of the challenges on this journey matter to the leaders of major corporations. Controlling the chain itself is one of them. Often the list of suppliers is so extensive that assigning good practices to reward them and bad practices to correcting them is a daunting task. The other is the financial effort it takes to achieve everyone’s compliance, and the third is to find qualified people to handle the schedule properly in the company and also in the supply chain.
Whether out of love or pain, some companies are already beginning to give clues about how to do this through techniques such as product tracking — widely used in agriculture, for example. Others don’t even know where to start. To help the latter, CDP and BCG have just launched an online platform where organizations can securely share their basic sustainability data and, through artificial intelligence, the tool helps organizations calculate carbon emissions. Scope 3. Open and free, the initiative has three core pillars to make the net-zero economy possible: data, transparency, and working together.
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