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GUEST COMMENT Key ways to monitor the carbon footprint of your supply chain

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Alexis Normand is the co-founder of Greenly

Monitoring a company’s supply chain is pivotal for businesses that want to ultimately reduce their carbon footprint. This is especially important because suppliers can contribute greatly to a company’s overall emissions, and make it difficult to determine the overall emissions that a company is responsible for. Luckily, there are ways that companies can monitor the carbon footprint of their supply chain.

Take note of primary transportation methods

Suppliers may vary in the type of goods they offer, but they all have one thing in common: they need to deliver those goods somehow, often via freight cargo or truck delivery. Transportation can account for a large portion of carbon emissions, so taking note of how your suppliers get those goods from door-to-door can play a big role in ultimately reducing emissions. 

Keep track of Scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 emissions, notorious for being the most difficult to calculate, are emissions that occur outside the premises of the company – such as materials and services provided by suppliers. Therefore, if a company is making the effort to calculate its scope 3 emissions, it will have the data about the high-carbon emitting activities of its suppliers.

Collect data on the energy efficiency

If choosing to measure Scope 3 emissions doesn’t suffice, many carbon accounting platforms help companies engage their suppliers through surveys and data collection. Even something as simple as sending out a short email with a short questionnaire can provide valuable insight for companies seeking to monitor the carbon footprint of their supply chain.

Take note of commonly used materials

Taking a moment to note which materials are used most often by your suppliers can help determine, or at least provide further information on, their contributions to your carbon footprint. For instance, those in the automotive industry might discover that their suppliers use heavy, carbon-intensive metals as opposed to a mix of metals to decrease the weight and carbon footprint of the end product. This may indicate that those suppliers are not making a substantial effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

Notice which other companies use those suppliers

If an entity in your supply chain is supplying companies with various environmental certifications – such as being B-Corp certified – or has acquired one or more certificates in the ISO series, it’s safe to presume that they are dedicated to environmental reform and are making an individual effort to reduce emissions. 

Look for sustainable packaging

If suppliers send their products in sustainable packaging, they are likely making an effort to reduce their own emissions. Also, if the suppliers send a company their materials in single, larger shipments, that shows that they are looking to reduce their emissions created by minimising the number of deliveries.

Final thoughts

With all of the third party and carbon accounting resources now available to help companies monitor and reduce their carbon emissions, keeping an eye on your company’s supply chain no longer has to be a difficult task. And can reap a multitude of benefits for your company in the long run.

Alexis Normand is co-founder of Greenly

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