Retailers Tesco, Target and CVS Health have joined Walmart in collecting data from suppliers to reduce environmental risk and cut carbon emissions in the supply chain, according to latest figures from CDP, the climate research group.
The number of organisations requesting date from their suppliers has risen by more than 15 per cent from last year. There are now 115 organisations, representing a combined annual spend of more than $3.3 trillion, requesting data from over 11,500 suppliers.
Sonya Bhonsle, head of supply chain at CDP, said: “With emissions in the supply chain on average around four times greater than those from a company’s direct operations – and rising to up to seven times greater for retailers and consumer-facing companies – large multinational corporations cannot comprehensively address their environmental impact without looking to their supply chains.
“By requesting data from their suppliers, they are shining a light on the risks hidden deep within their production chains – and uncovering a myriad of opportunities for reducing their overall environmental footprint, boosting innovation and cutting costs.”
The rise in companies scrutinizing their supply chains coincides with growing momentum behind the take-up of science-based targets – goals that allow companies to reduce their emissions in line with the decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below two degrees Celsius, the central aim of the Paris Agreement.
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which helps companies develop and approves such targets, requires companies to set scope 3 targets if their scope 3 emissions account for at least 40 per cent of their total emissions. For global retailers that do not manufacture many of the products they sell, scope 3 emissions in their supply chain can be far greater than 40 per cent.
Ariane Grazian, senior manager, Walmart sustainability at Walmart, said: “Walmart is collaborating with CDP’s supply chain program to accelerate action and track suppliers’ progress toward Project Gigaton. In year one, Project Gigaton has helped inspire action that has led to the avoidance of 20 million metric tons of emissions and has expanded into China and the UK with participation from over 400 suppliers with operations in over 30 countries.”