Government scrutinises supplier emissions

4 December 2009

4 December 2009 | Kathryn Manning

The UK government is stepping up efforts to cut supply chain carbon emissions, a report by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has found.

Fourteen central government departments and executive agencies – including the Cabinet Office and Office of Government Commerce – asked 250 suppliers to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions in the CDP Public Procurement Programme.

This was a significant improvement on last year, when just three public bodies participated in the review. It is hoped higher disclosure rates will give rise to greater reductions in emissions.

The report showed progress has been made by departments to communicate with suppliers that climate change is a business issue and that accountability at board level is vital.

More than 80 per cent of the 164 vendors that eventually participated in the survey were able to disclose their direct emissions, from onsite, production and industrial energy usage. But the report also pressed the need to measure indirect emissions, including supply chain and product emissions, if organisations are to recognise fully their potential weaknesses on carbon reduction.

Commenting on the publication, business secretary Lord Mandelson said in a statement: “Involvement in the CDP Public Procurement Programme provides government and its suppliers with the opportunity to work together to bring about real reductions in carbon emissions.”

Economic secretary to the Treasury, Ian Pearson MP, added: “Third-party suppliers have a big part to play in delivering real change. This is crucial, both in the way government procures but also in ensuring the UK maintains its strong leadership in dealing with climate change.” 

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