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More firms expected to monitor supply chain emissions

1 September 2011

The trend for businesses measuring the carbon footprint of their global supply chains looks set to grow, with many firms stepping up their efforts to become more sustainable.

Engineering and consultancy firm Arup told Business Green it expects demand for carbon footprinting services with a focus on supply chain operations to increase significantly.

The company explained that companies are keen to assess the environmental credentials of their suppliers, as well as identifying scope for financial savings in their supply chain.

Arup recently carried out a comprehensive assessment of supply chain emissions for the NHS and UK higher education sector.

It is widely estimated that the supply chain accounts for up to 75 per cent of a typical organisation's carbon footprint.

Paul Brockway, senior sustainability consultant at Arup, told the publication that research has shown roughly 60 per cent of total emissions in the NHS can be traced to its procurement operations.

He commented: "We are now working on looking at branching out into the private sector and applying the lessons we have learnt from the public sector work.

"We are identifying actions that deliver savings that are ten to 20 times greater that the cost of the study."

Monitoring supply chain emissions poses a much greater challenge than measuring a company's internal carbon footprint, but a recent survey indicated that an increasing number of firms are collecting data in this area.

Published in January, the Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP's) latest supply chain report revealed a 40 per cent increase in the number of companies responding to the organisation's questionnaire.

This was interpreted as evidence that a growing number of firms are assessing the carbon footprint of their supply chains, although only one-third of respondents said they currently have a target for carbon reduction.

The CDP report suggested the influence of blue-chip companies is inspiring more suppliers to cut their emissions.

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Categories: Commercial


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