By Martin Chilcott, CEO of Manufacture 2030

Article 1 of 4 - Overview

For 12 years, at 2degrees, we’ve pioneered new ways to spread sustainable practices across manufacturing supply chains. We partnered with some amazing brands like Tesco, GSK, Asda-Walmart, Coop and Unilever, and worked with thousands of their manufacturing suppliers, right down at plant level. Not everything we tried worked, but a lot did - and we made it our mission to learn even more.

Three years ago, we brought all the best bits together and launched Manufacture 2030, with the sole purpose of accelerating carbon reduction at scale across manufacturing supply chains. This is the summation of those best bits.

If you like what is written below, take a look at our platform - the Bee. You will be in good company - our clients include the likes of: Toyota, Reckitt, Asda, Bayer, Interface and others.

The guide: four short articles

In four short articles, I am going to describe the three essential steps you need to take in order to have confidence you will achieve your Scope 3, supply-chain, carbon reduction target. If you work in a business where a significant proportion of your carbon footprint, cost and risk, sits outside your operations, upstream in a manufacturing supply chain - and you are tasked with reducing it - then this guide is essential reading for you.

The guide can’t promise to make it easy. Nothing worth achieving is ever easy, right? But, hard experience has taught us that if you do these things, you will more than likely be on track to succeed - and the world needs you to succeed.

What general approach to Scope 3 should you take?

There is a lot of debate and some confusion about what overall approach you should take to Scope 3. Think of your options as sitting along a spectrum. on the left-hand side, you have an exclusive focus on the product footprint and on the right-hand side, an exclusive focus on your suppliers' footprint. In between you have a blended approach. Where you should place your emphasis depends largely on the nature of the products you are buying that have the most material impact and the nature of your relationships with those companies supplying you.

If you are buying in commodities (e.g. agricultural produce) via intermediaries and your relationships with your end suppliers are weak and fluid, then you should probably focus your efforts on the product. This end of the spectrum, lends itself to an LCA approach and I am grateful to Luc Beerens at Mars and Sam Wrest at Sustainability Leaders for summarising the strategy for carbon reduction as follows:

  1. Change 'ingredients' where possible to lower carbon ones.
  2. Change your suppliers if they cannot/will not lower the impact of the products they are selling to you.
  3. Support your suppliers to change if you cannot do the above.

If you are buying value added products from suppliers who add value in their processing and manufacture and you have relatively stable relationships with those suppliers because of their individual strategic importance, then your emphasis needs to be on helping the supplier to reduce their footprint. The product is still important and LCA has its role of course (I will address this in article two - Measure), but the focus is on managing the supplier.

These articles are mainly intended for relatively integrated, value-added manufacturing supply chains where you have strong relationships and where swapping out suppliers is a last resort.

An overview of the 3-steps

In essence, what we learnt in 12 years, every good manager intuitively already knows. If you want to drive real change across a supply chain to be certain of hitting your carbon target, you need to:

1. Measure: go beyond historical, enterprise-level data collection and measure in detail each supplier's baseline carbon emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) and their estimated glidepath towards your target based upon their reduction action plans.
2. Manage: use the glidepath data you have collected to understand your supplier's gap to your target and manage their progress to close that gap.
3. Improve: accelerate improvement by building the supplier’s capacity, focused specifically on closing their identified gap to your target.

Whilst you should try to do this at an individual supplier manufacturing site level, wherever possible, you also need to do it hundreds or maybe thousands of times over. That, of course, requires  an army of consultants specialist platform technology.

Each article will cover one of the steps in detail. They will help you understand each step from the suppliers’ point of view as well. How you can ensure success by making your supply chain carbon reduction initiative a program of support and not another reporting burden. Turn it from an ‘ask’ to an ‘offer’, so you can make it a journey that the clear majority of them will happily join you on, because they will benefit from it too.

What I won’t do, is write much about our specialist platform, the Bee. We think it is unique and it is designed to do the one job of making ‘measure’, ‘manage’ and ‘improve’ scalable. You can find out more about the Bee here.

If you want to be certain to receive the next 3 articles then do drop me an email at:
martinchilcott@manufacture2030.com

You can read part two of this four-part series, 'Measurement', here.