Businesses join supply chain reporting initiative

27 March 2013

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27 March 2013 | Anna Reynolds

Companies including GlaxoSmithKline, MITIE and Eurostar have joined an initiative to increase transparency in their supply chain to reduce energy and cut costs.

The organisations are encouraging their suppliers to enter data on their carbon emissions, water and energy use and waste into an online database. The free system, run by Ecodesk, allows firms to search, analyse and publish data and monitor supplier performance, which will allow them to identify potential cost savings and efficiencies.

Matt Wilson, supply chain sustainability leader at GSK commented: “Being transparent and disclosing data will lead to more accountability and a desire to improve. GSK’s ambition is to improve the sustainability of its supply chain, which will see it inevitably preference the suppliers that are willing to come on that journey.”

Peter Bragg, head of environment and energy at Eurostar, added: “We have several thousand suppliers, so you can imagine the potential savings that could be delivered if everyone measured, reported and improved their energy use.”

By getting suppliers to publish their energy use, companies can identify where efficiencies can be made in the amount of waste, carbon emissions and water use, the costs of which get passed on to buyers in the products or services they buy. It would also help buyers identify the most efficient vendors.

Ecodesk has the ambition of gathering data from a million suppliers, and forecasts the publication of the data could lead to a combined saving of £3 billion by 2013.

Lynda Simmons, head of sustainability at MITIE, said: “During 2013 we are taking a more progressive approach to collaboration with Ecodesk, in which our suppliers will be linked to our e-procurement portal to record their emissions management, as well as access tools and information to enhance their sustainability agenda.”

Robert Clarke, CEO Ecodesk said: “We are working with some big businesses who want to measure their emissions but the sheer scale of the task can be daunting. Many suppliers are already undergoing various compliance initiatives so the last thing they want is another massive questionnaire to fill out. Entering data into Ecodesk is simple.”

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