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New Carbon Trust Standard Pushes Corporate Responsibility into Supply Chain

The world's first independent certification to recognize organizations that have put in place a framework to measure, manage, and reduce carbon emissions across their supply chains was launched by Carbon Trust on September 30th at the British Academy in central London. 

The Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain certification was created to provide a management system to guide efforts, drive continuous improvement, and recognize success, explained Darran Messem, managing director, Certification at the Carbon Trust.
Image source: Susan Fourtané     

The Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain certification was created to provide a management system to guide efforts, drive continuous improvement, and recognize success, explained Darran Messem, managing director, Certification at the Carbon Trust.

Image source: Susan Fourtané     

Carbon Trust, an independent company headquartered in London, England, measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organizations, products, and services. In addition, the group advises businesses, governments, and the public sector to help develop and deploy low-carbon technologies and solutions from energy efficiency to renewable power.

Increasingly, leading organizations put sustainability in the supply chain at the foundation of plans to become a trusted source of products and services. A sustainable low-carbon global economy benefits businesses and consumers alike. 

Carbon in the Value Chain varies by sector and company, and emissions are often neglected. Around 70% of emissions are associated with upstream supply, explained Darran Messem, managing director, Certification at the Carbon Trust. In the manufacturing sector the saving on annual energy spend is 41% with a payback on capital expenditure (capex) of 1.6 year, whereas in the electronics sector the Carbon Trust finds a 23% saving on annual energy spend and a payback on capex of 3.5 years. Engineering accounts to 37% saving on annual energy spend with payback in capex in 3.7 years, and transport totals a 48% saving and payback in two years.

Real resource and cost reduction can be achieved when an organization gets the Carbon Trust Certification. The certification provides a sound framework to deliver and recognize resource efficiencies and reductions associated with cost. The extension of certification covers carbon emissions in an organization's supply chain to provide a sound framework to validate an organization's upstream emissions and deliver actual reductions.

Achieving the Carbon Trust Certification

Organizations interested in achieving the Carbon Trust Standard for supply chain need to complete a detailed hotspot analysis to identify the most significant areas of carbon emissions within their supply chain. This is then used to determine a quantitative baseline for emissions reduction and prioritize suppliers for future engagement.

The Standard is structured into three levels of improvement. Each level recognize the complexity inherent in supply chains, thus achieving the standard is normally divided into three internally-communicated levels which provide a simple, meaningful, and realistic framework. Each level also includes a specific set of quantitative and qualitative requirements for certification valid for two years: 

  • Measure and Prioritize (Level 1): For achieving this level, the organization must meet governance requirements, complete a supply chain hotspot analysis, and prioritize significant portions of the supply chain for engagement.
  • Baseline and Engage (Level 2): The organization must demonstrate evidence of reduction projects, determine a quantitative baseline for emissions reductions, and pass qualitative assessment.
  • Reduce and Expand (Level 3): The organization must demonstrate reductions in specified parts of the supply chain, and pass qualitative assessment. To qualify for recertification the organization must demonstrate expansion.

To retain the Standard on an ongoing basis organizations must demonstrate reductions in specified parts of their supply chain, and then expand their approach to engage different areas, or different suppliers in their supply chain. 

Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain launch event at the British Academy in London, England. The lively Panel Discussion was integrated by Darran Messem, managing director, Carbon Trust Certification; Dean Holroyd, technical and sustainability director, ABP Foods; Rob Lambe, managing director, Re-Thinking; and Willmott Dixon Morgan Jones, associate director, Carbon Trust.
Image source: Susan Fourtané 

Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain launch event at the British Academy in London, England. The lively Panel Discussion was integrated by Darran Messem, managing director, Carbon Trust Certification; Dean Holroyd, technical and sustainability director, ABP Foods; Rob Lambe, managing director, Re-Thinking; and Willmott Dixon Morgan Jones, associate director, Carbon Trust.

Image source: Susan Fourtané 

Benefits of certification

Certified organizations can benefit from the continuous improvement journey in a number of ways. Organization should start by identifying the biggest reduction opportunities in their supply chain and then proceed to address them. Over time, this will create concrete, material reductions within the supply chain. By being certified, organizations enhance corporate reputation, differentiate from competitors, and build a positive public profile. Managing supply chain emissions facilitates compliance with reporting initiatives, customer requirements, and stakeholder expectations.

All in all, organizations see an increased efficiency and can reduce costs as well as identifying emissions hotspots, show an increased resource and energy efficiency, energy security, and market security.  

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