Sustainability in Supply Chains and Logistics Operations

Sustainability in supply chains – how does your business stack up?

With the rising focus on climate change, sustainability has become a hot topic.

Many organisations are now setting sustainability targets – with “Net Zero” being the most common.

However, achieving sustainability in supply chains isn’t as simple as setting goals.

In this blog, we delve into sustainability challenges and how businesses can move beyond Scope 1 and 2, highlighting the power of data tracking, how to tackle sustainability in the supply chain, logistics, and whether carbon offsetting is an effective strategy.

Challenges of Sustainability in Supply Chains: Beyond Scope 1 and 2

One common mistake when tackling sustainability is just focusing on what businesses can see and what they have direct control over.

Specifically, most businesses tend to target Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, which include direct and indirect emissions generated by business operations – while neglecting Scope 3 (supply chain emissions). 

Scope 3 emissions significantly affect a business’s carbon footprint, making up 80% or more of an average business’s total emissions.

Therefore, Scope 3 may be the most beneficial area to tackle when improving an organisation’s green credentials. Scope 3 emissions are associated with an organisation’s supply chain. This makes them hard to quantify, collate, document, and offset without the appropriate software.

Businesses that take control of their Scope 3 emissions tend to have a much easier journey towards sustainability.

Data Tracking – The Data-Driven Approach

You cannot improve what you don’t know.

Businesses aiming to deliver on sustainable goals must first identify problem areas to determine the best course of action.

Some businesses may choose to manually collect, calculate and document emissions data – which can be challenging even if an organisation is small and has a dedicated emissions team.

Whether emissions are calculated manually or through specialist software – data is always the key.

Having a centralised platform that automatically organises and analyses data can guide and assist businesses in identifying easily targetable areas for emissions reduction, informing strategic decisions and making emissions reporting easy.

Sustainability and The Supply Chain

A sustainable supply chain offers numerous benefits beyond reducing carbon footprints.

By ensuring suppliers adopt sustainable practices, businesses can enhance their sustainability efforts while promoting fair treatment throughout the supply chain.

Moreover, governments, business customers and consumers increasingly demand sustainability and transparency. The trend is already shaping the business landscape – with many larger organisations (especially those who have to report emissions) now facing direct pressure to improve sustainability. This has a knock-on effect down the supply chain.

In this way, having a sustainable supply chain can provide businesses with a competitive advantage today – while helping to futureproof organisations from this growing trend.

Logistics and Sustainability in Supply Chains

Sustainability in supply chains and logistics operations is no longer just a desirable goal but a necessity.

When it comes to logistics, businesses can achieve significant emissions reductions by focusing on transport and warehousing operations.

Steps like transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs), using more efficient vehicles, switching to green energy providers, and implementing renewable energy sources in warehouses can make a substantial difference. Whilst all these routes may present certain merits, increasing sustainability in logistics is no longer simply about cutting the carbon footprint.  

By gathering data, logistics companies can identify other areas where they can cut emissions and how much leftover carbon they need to offset.

The process of working out where to cut emissions requires calculating emissions based on supplier volumes and industry averages, but this often provides only a rough estimate.

Dedicated ESG tracking and reporting platforms automate collating and calculating emissions while centralising supplier engagement – simplifying the process while producing much more reliable and accurate representative data.

Is Carbon Offsetting an Effective Strategy?

Carbon offsetting can be useful within a broader sustainability strategy but should not be the primary approach.

Businesses should use carbon offsetting to eliminate emissions that cannot be reduced through other measures.

While cost can pose a challenge to achieving full carbon neutrality, organisations can tackle sustainability in stages, and even small changes can make a difference.

By leveraging accurate and up-to-date data emissions and sustainability metrics, businesses can identify feasible changes that offer the best return on investment.

Sustainability software can help businesses to efficiently gather accurate and reliable data. Organisations can make significant progress toward their sustainability objectives by using data-driven tools – easily and without wasting time or money.

AXIOM Sustainability Software

AXIOM is a powerful cloud-based platform that helps your business monitor, analyse and improve sustainability performance. 

While collecting such detailed and specific data may seem overly complicated, specialist sustainable software like AXIOM exists to make steps towards logistic sustainability easier.

Using specialist technology, we equip businesses with a tool which enables them to track their environmental and social performance whilst also improving governance – identifying and mitigating risks associated with business operations and relationships.

Are you looking to transform your supply-chain sustainability? Let us help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.

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