The number of companies adopting an industry-leading approach to supply chain emissions has doubled in a year, according to a new report.

Environmental group CDP has awarded 58 companies – out of a total of more than 3,300 – a place on its second annual Supplier Engagement leader board, double the 29 identified in 2017.

The companies - which include BT Group, Rolls Royce and Unilever - are recognised for their work with suppliers to reduce emissions and lower environmental risks in the supply chain.

CDP's Closing the Gap: Scaling up sustainable supply chain practices report comes after last week’s discussions at Davos highlighted the rapid growth forecast in international trade and the World Economic Forum’s recently published Global Risks Report spoke of the importance of addressing supply chains when tackling environmental challenges.

Sound business sense

CDP said progress being made was especially significant because greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain are on average four times higher than those arising from direct operations.

Dexter Galvin, Global Director of Corporates and Supply Chains at CDP, said: “Big businesses have for some time understood the importance of managing their Scope 1 and 2 emissions, but Scope 3 emissions, hidden in the value chain – and far greater in volume – are just as vital.

While it’s encouraging that awareness of climate-related risk is filtering down the supply chain, it’s crucial that engagement and action follows. As our findings show, this not only makes sound business sense, but can result in considerable cost savings for both purchasing organizations and their suppliers.”

The report found a growing number of forward-looking companies are setting ambitious targets to source 100% renewable energy, while many more are committing to increase their use of clean energy.

A report last year from SmartestEnergy highlighted the huge potential to reduce emissions if corporates leveraged their purchasing power to amplify their own sustainability efforts.

Research for the Renewable Energy in the Supply Chain report, which featured contributions from the Carbon Trust and CDP, found a significant appetite amongst large businesses to work with supply chains to reduce emissions.

> Read the CDP report