The next big opportunity for sustainable companies

With COP23 coming to a close this week, the world’s attention has again focused on the need to tackle climate change.

Recent figures show that levels of CO2 in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year and just last week, the World Meteorological Organization revealed that 2017 is set to be one of the three hottest years on record.

While Governments have led the activity at COP23, the business community were also out in force just as they were at COP21, collaborating on how they can help speed up the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Some companies have timed major announcements to coincide with the summit, including HSBC joining the RE100 and committing to 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and Microsoft pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030.

The supply chain opportunity

And while this progress is great, we would really like to see businesses doing more with their supply chains to amplify their renewable efforts.

As a supplier to leading brands and second-tier suppliers, we see a significant gap between what the top sustainable brands are doing and the rest of the business world.

The opportunity to amplify carbon reduction through supply chains is great. Just imagine the emissions reductions if we move from hundreds of companies to thousands of companies buying and reporting renewable electricity!

This is the focus of our latest report, Renewable Energy in the Supply Chain, which brings together our own research from a survey and roundtable event, with expert viewpoints from the Carbon Trust and CDP.

The report acknowledges the logistical challenges associated with tackling supply chain issues and offers some simple steps to help companies start the process, such as asking the question on tenders or establishing buying groups to simplify procurement.

It’s important to remember here that we are just talking about renewable procurement, rather than full scope 3 reporting, which is out of reach for many businesses at the moment. But with procurement of renewable electricity now so simple and transparent in the UK, companies should be working with suppliers to drive uptake.

Supported by industry leaders

Adding further weight to our call for supply chain engagement is a report released this week by The Climate Group, the organisation behind the RE100.

Their Going Beyond report shares case studies of three leaders – Apple, BT Group and IKEA Group to show how they are engaging with their suppliers.

In a blog to promote their report, Head of the RE100 campaign Sam Kimmins, said:

“By partnering with suppliers, companies can open opportunities for collaboration, aggregation of demand, increased purchasing power and knowledge sharing between different companies, sectors and parts of the supply chain.”

There is clear momentum around renewables in the supply chain and we will watching to see which sustainability leaders take on this challenge.

Feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss any of this with us. Increasing the uptake of renewables is really important to SmartestEnergy so we’re keen to support companies on their journey.

> Read our latest report here