20 May 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The UK government’s decision to halve carbon dioxide
emissions by 2027 offers procurement managers a strong signal to ensure climate
change is on their suppliers’ agenda.
Earlier this week, energy and climate change secretary Chris
Huhne announced the government’s fourth carbon budget, which introduces a
commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent from 1990 levels, before
2027. “We are working up a package of measures to be announced by the end of
the year to help energy-intensive industries adjust to the low-carbon
industrial transformation while remaining competitive,” he said.
Frances Way, programme director of the Carbon DisclosureProject, said the commitment would help businesses think ahead in managing
their suppliers. “But there is still a little bit of uncertainty about what the
policies will be to deliver on it. Whether companies will have targets that
include their own supply chain or not – we’re not clear on that at the moment,”
However, decarbonising the global economy was “the first
predictable industrial revolution” the world had seen, she said.
“We already see a number of leading companies setting expectations
for their suppliers to show that they are increasing energy efficiency and
thinking about producing low-carbon products. I think in terms of
competitiveness for suppliers, the market is already signalling that it is
moving in that direction ahead of regulation.”
Earlier this week, sportswear manufacturer Puma published
its first Environmental Profit and Loss
Account, including an analysis of water consumption and greenhouse gas
emissions in its supply chain. The firm calculated that the environmental
impact of its own operations translates to the equivalent of €7.2 million (£6.33
million) while an additional €87.2 million (£76.70 million) falls upon four
tiers of its supply chain.