Can you green your entire supply chain?

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MaloryDavies.jpgIt’s easy for you or me to do something that will reduce our use of fossil fuels – the trouble is that, alone, we can only have a very limited effect.

In fact, a typical company only has direct control of ten per cent of the carbon emissions in its supply chain, according to the Carbon Trust, the government-funded organisation tasked with helping organisations reduce their carbon footprints.

Now it is developing a certification system for organisations that are looking right across their supply chains to reduce carbon emissions.

Even a cursory glance will show that this is no easy task. Finding ways to measure and manage carbon across a diverse group of organisations around the world is always going to be problematic.

“A number of companies are now very good at energy efficiency and cutting carbon inside their own four walls, but the real leaders are starting to look at how they can have an impact across the supply chain,” says Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the Carbon Trust.

What the Carbon Trust has come up with is a draft methodology that involves measuring impacts and improving processes and systems. It now wants to pilot the scheme with organisations in different sectors over the next few months.

The problem, of course, is that for many organisations, visibility across the supply chain is still a problem.

For example, in February, luxury car-maker Aston Martin had to recall 17,000 cars because a sub-contractor to a Tier 2 supplier had used counterfeit material in a part. If you struggle to control that, how much harder is it going to be to manage carbon usage that far back in the supply chain?

So, while the Carbon Trust’s initiative is a first step, no-one should under-estimate the scale of the task ahead.

Malory Davies FCILT

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