As the effects of global warming become ever more apparent, companies are stepping up their efforts to cut carbon emissions and embrace sustainability. But a new study from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Microsoft Cloud published this week confirms that many companies are still struggling to measure the true value of their sustainability and decarbonization efforts.
The study, based on data from 400 public companies with combined revenues of $10 trillion, found that a majority of these companies struggled to validate the emissions data and insights from their supply chain partners, so-called Scope 3 emissions.
“When you need to track Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions, you are talking about getting information from across all tiers of your business network,” said Richard Howells, a supply chain and sustainability expert at SAP. That includes data from suppliers, contract manufacturers, logistics service providers and other trading partners.
“How do you meet sustainability initiatives if you don’t know where emissions and waste are in your supply chain, or where slave labor and inequality is occurring across your business network? If you can’t track it, you can’t measure, manage and minimize it!”
SAP has made providing tools for customers that help them track, analyze and manage emissions across their entire business chains one of its top priorities. “Sustainability is top of mind in most companies, driven by pressures from all directions,” said Howells. “We as consumers are constantly looking for sustainable products that are ethically sourced, manufactured and delivered with minimal or zero emissions.”
Howells adds that investors are also looking at a companies’ sustainability index before they pull the trigger on the “buy order.”
“Employees want to work for sustainable companies and do their research before accepting a new job,” he said. “And of course, regulatory bodies are driving new rules and regulations such as the Plastic Tax laws that have come into place in the UK and, most recently, Spain.”
New regulations are putting additional pressure on companies to substantiate and justify their sustainability claims and counter green washing claims. As Howells noted, companies’ supply chains sit right in the middle of the sustainability challenge — both as major contributors to the problem but also as key elements of the solution.