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Leading brands spearhead net-zero supply chain initiative

Ikea, Unilever, BT, Ericsson and Telia are among the founding corporate members of a new initiative to set pre-2050 targets to reach net-zero emissions across their operations and supply chain.

The leading brands are among the founding corporate members of a new initiative designed to help multinational supply chains align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory.

These members of the program, launched on Monday 21 September, as a spin-off to the Exponential Roadmap Initiative (ERI) and part of the pre-COP26 Race to Zero campaign.

The new scheme binds the companies to bolster their long-term goals. It requires signatories to halve their supply chain emissions by 2030 – reporting annually on progress – and to make climate-related targets and performance a key part of purchasing criteria and contracts within 12 months.

The ultimate aim of the initiative is not to ensure that a handful of businesses lead on supply chain decarbonisation, but to inspire and enable ambitions and actions across the private sector which are aligned with climate science.

As such, the ERI has also launched an SME Climate Hub – a platform which will provide smaller businesses, including suppliers, with information and tools centred around lowering emissions and building resilience.

Companies signing up to the SME Climate Hub will be connected with each other and with multinational corporates including Ikea, Unilever, BT, Ericsson and Telia, enabling knowledge sharing and collaboration.

“Every business in our supply chain has the potential to be a climate leader,” Unilever’s chief supply chain officer Marc Engel said.

“Today’s launch of the 1.5° Supply Chain Leaders initiative brings additional scale and synergy to the work that many companies are doing to support value chain partners to accelerate their decarbonisation journey.”

Given that the average company’s supply chain emissions are estimated to be around five-and-a-half times greater than those generated by their direct operations, according to CDP, decarbonising supply chains will be crucial to achieving net-zero targets.

The corporate founding members of the ERI’s latest initiative already had strong low-carbon targets for the supply chain and are widely classed among the cohort of businesses leading on Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

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