No matter what business sector or market you operate in, every company relies on its supply chain. Your relationship with each individual supplier, however small, is a critical factor in delivering business success.
In an era of increasing global competition and decreasing margins, how can you use carbon offsets to improve supplier relationships, deliver greater sustainability and maximize your competitive advantage?
How Sustainable Is Your Supply Chain?
As the desire for more sustainable goods grows, customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders are paying increasing attention to the supply chains of big businesses.
The first step to increasing supplier sustainability is to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of the activities and processes that take place throughout your supply chain.
These issues will vary significantly depending on the product(s) or service(s) you sell, where in the world your suppliers operate, and the human and natural resources involved.
Potential impacts from farming or other agricultural suppliers, for example, might include destruction of wildlife or habitats, soil depletion, methane emissions or water pollution, while manufacturing suppliers might employ workers in sweatshop conditions, or have other impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, chemical pollution, or produce significant quantities of waste.
How Can Supply Chain Sustainability Be Improved?
Finding and quantifying the most important sustainability issues in your supply chain will help you target your efforts more effectively.
It’s important that your sustainability goals reflect best practice, such as science-based targets, to ensure that your efforts make a significant and proportionate contribution towards a more sustainable global economy.
Setting a greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal in line with internationally agreed targets, for example, demonstrates your commitment towards avoiding catastrophic global warming.
You might achieve such a goal throughout your supply chain using an initiative such as CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), or by introducing a set of standard, carrying out audits and sustainability monitoring, or offering incentives for achieving improvements.
However, for many small suppliers, it is not easy to improve sustainability, especially if it requires upfront investment in new equipment or techniques.
Where Does Progressive Carbon Offsetting Fit in?
Carbon offsetting projects can help improve supply chain sustainability by reducing the negative impacts of the supplier’s activity, while income from the sale of offsets can help to pay for the improvements made.
The best progressive carbon offset schemes can offer even greater benefits. Social, economic and environmental improvements can contribute further towards the sustainability of your supply chain, and help small suppliers to operate more profitably, strengthening relationships with your suppliers.
For example, the Montana Improved Grazing Project helps to improve soil health, increase biodiversity and support wildlife bordering Yellowstone National Park, while improving productivity and profitability for local cattle ranchers, ensuring their business is both environmentally and economically sustainable.
The project’s carbon offset payments provide the capital and financial security to improve soil health before the productivity benefits are realized.
Investors can buy carbon offsets to meet their own greenhouse gas offsetting needs, but also benefit from the supply of premium quality, sustainably raised beef – making this the perfect offset project for the hospitality, hotel and catering businesses.
How Can You Strengthen Your Supplier Relationships Through Progressive Carbon Offsets?
To address your carbon reduction needs and build stronger relationships with your supply chain, you need a carbon offset provider who can build bespoke offset projects with your suppliers.
NativeEnergy helped global ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s to design a carbon offset project to help small farms in Vermont to improve on-farm sustainability. The resulting project removes the equivalent of almost 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from farm emissions, provides additional social and community benefits, and improves economic stability for small farms.
By investing in progressive carbon offsets, Ben & Jerry’s can meet its emissions reduction goals while also increasing its own supply chain resilience, ensuring the continued supply of milk to Ben & Jerry’s, helping small dairy suppliers become more competitive and financially sustainable, and reinforcing the company’s reputation as a global sustainability leader.