89% of major firms have not set science-based supply chain sustainability targets, study finds

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A study by Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), investigating decarbonisation within the global supply chains of major companies, has found that only 16% of major firms have publicly set science-based targets to reduce direct operational emissions, and just 11% have such targets for their supply chains.

With more consumers being conscious of the sustainability of the products they purchase and the processes that get them to the shelves, supply chain transparency appears to be key for the future of businesses involved in supply chains  from manufacturers to retailers.

The study highlights the importance of ‘making the data not only accessible, but also understandable’. Transparency builds trust, and that will be key to companies maintaining a positive relationship with consumers in a world where sustainability is becoming more and more of a concern.

Swati Murthy, Director for Strategic Sustainability Collaborations at TCS, said: “Our findings make clear how much innovative work remains to be done to make global business sustainable – and how critically important it is to engage with an extended ecosystem that involves all stakeholders – including customers, consumers, suppliers, service providers, and policymakers.

“Reimagining global supply chains, and using the latest technology and analysis, is a vital step towards more sustainable practices. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to forge stronger strategic collaborations with hyperscalers to share and scale solutions faster, bringing together the latest decarbonisation technology and expertise and making it accessible to all stakeholders across the business value chain. This collaboration is key to unlocking the potential of green transitions and mitigating the environmental and social risks we all face.”

In addition to obvious solutions like switching to electric vehicles or replacing traditional fuel with sustainable biofuel, there are other ways to take advantage of technology in improving supply chain sustainability.

For example, Maersk recently partnered with Berlin-based startup Cozero in an effort to develop analytics tools for greater visibility of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in international e-commerce supply chains across Europe. Strategies such as this will not only allow firms to assess emissions within their supply chains, but also record data that can be published to improve transparency and build further trust.

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