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UK companies achieve “world-first” supply chain standard

Seven UK companies have become the first to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chains in recognition of their efforts to reduce emissions outside their direct operations.

Seven UK companies have become the first to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chains in recognition of their efforts to reduce emissions outside their direct operations.

The standard, launched by the Carbon Trust on 30 September 2015, helps companies to put in place a framework to measure, manage and reduce carbon emissions across their supply chain. It is believed to be the world’s first independent certification of this kind.

In order to gain certification, companies need to complete a detailed hotspot analysis to identify the most significant areas of carbon emissions within their supply chain. This is then used to determine a quantitative baseline for emissions reduction and prioritise suppliers for future engagement. 

To maintain the standard, companies must demonstrate evidence of supplier engagement to reduce emissions or expand their approach to different suppliers.

The first seven companies to achieve the standard are ABP Food Group, Aviva, Central England Co-operative, Deloitte UK, Nationwide, PwC UK and Willmott Dixon. The collective procurement spending of these companies runs into the billions of pounds.

'Changing supplier behaviour’

Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the Carbon Trust, said the standard would help to encourage SMEs in supply chains to adopt more sustainable business practices.

“In most sectors the direct environmental impacts of an organisation are dwarfed by the carbon emissions relating to the products and services in their supply chain. As leading businesses get better at reducing carbon emissions in their own operations, they recognise the responsible thing to do is to focus efforts on where they can have the greatest impact”, he said.

“Large organisations often harness their procurement power to secure better quality or lower prices. But if they also engage and demand higher environmental standards, they can change the behaviour of both direct and indirect suppliers, helping them to become more sustainable.”

ISO 14001

The move to increase the sustainability of supply chains is already having a positive influence on smaller companies. 

New figures released by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) show that the number of businesses holding the ISO 14001 environmental management standard has jumped seven per cent in the last year, taking the total to more than 324,000 worldwide.