Scope 3 Action Group: Putting Climate Goals into Action together!

11/08/2023 | Reading time: 6 minutes

Wolfram Nimmerich, CSR Manager at Sport Thieme.

Interview with Wolfram Nimmerrichter, CSR-Manager at Sport-Thieme GmbH

Hello Wolfram, please introduce yourself to the Climate Community!

Hello, my pleasure Lara! We are currently taking part in the Scope 3 Action Group – and the integration of our suppliers into our sustainability strategy is actually our main topic.

Our current focus is on working with our suppliers, particularly on the quick climate readiness check with 80% of our suppliers. This is a complex task, and The Climate Choice’s Climate Intelligence Platform is a key tool for tracking progress in the supply chain and achieving emissions reduction together.

To support this, we held a workshop with our key suppliers in advance, which focused on sustainability strategies in general and specific topics such as emissions and packaging.

Best Practices Tip – How to Collaborate with Suppliers

As a trading company with a portfolio of 19,000 products, most of which are sourced from third parties, the supply chain is crucial. Particularly when it comes to climate data – and especially collaboration

The changes at some smaller suppliers can have a major impact overall, and therefore the Scope 3 Action Group is an important part for us to initiate concrete, sustainable changes among our suppliers.

What drives you in your role as a CSR manager?

What drives me is the realization that change is necessary, but it doesn’t just happen. Rather, it is an ongoing process that we are constantly developing.

My personal commitment to environmental protection began in 1990 when I joined BUND. At that time I was woken up by the threat of forest extinction, but also by the clear first signs of climate change. Since then, the topic of environmental protection has never left my mind.

I have been working full-time at Sport-Thieme in this area as a CSR manager for two years now. This also happened because I had been committed to sustainability in the company since 2018.

I was involved in our voluntary climate protection team, which we as employees set up independently using a bottom-up approach. In this team, we implemented numerous initial internal measures, such as heating savings and energy efficiency.

Best Practice Tip – How to Build up a #TeamClimate

It was encouraging to see how many employees took part, and the strong support from management from the start has helped drive these initiatives forward.

Where are you currently in your climate transformation journey?

Our company is currently undergoing a transformation to put sustainability at the heart of all our business operations.

With around 450 employees, it is crucial to include as many as possible in these sustainability efforts. Together we implement measures, even if this can sometimes be difficult.

Best Practice Tip – How to Implement Actions

We are continuing to work on improving sustainability reporting. Especially in connection with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Even though this topic is rightly criticized in some places in the discussion, I think it is extremely important. The CSRD offers us a clear structure and helps to determine strategic directions for reporting, but especially for action. We also carried out the in-depth Climate Performance Assessment via the Climate Intelligence platform. It gave us valuable insights that we are now working on to achieve our sustainability goals.

Our goal, based on the strategy of the CSR department, is to pull together in all departments and integrate sustainability into everyday company life.

What challenges do you face?

One of the biggest challenges is obtaining data – especially in the supply chain. ‘Measure or forget’ is a saying with a lot of truth. We therefore focus intensively on measuring, evaluating and formulating measurable climate targets in Scope 3.

In order to be able to demonstrate progress, holistic climate data controlling is necessary that goes beyond financial aspects. Particularly in the value chain, we need information from suppliers about environmental impacts, with the CO2 footprint serving as the first step. Data on goals, measures and impact are just as important.

Best Practice Tip – How to Manage climate-relevant Supplier Data

These must be transparent and easily accessible, not in PDFs, not on the supplier’s computer, but in our own system.

A unified digital platform to capture this data is critical as it forms the foundation of our sustainability efforts.

What have you already learned in the implementation?

The most important factor is the support we receive from management. Compliance alone is far from enough. Sustainability requires a profound transformation. But also a well-functioning internal network in our own company where we can talk openly about difficult topics and find solutions! This is of great importance.

In addition, the transformation also includes integrating climate criteria into the procurement processes. In order to take not only the price into account, but also the environmental impact when purchasing.

Best Practice Tip – How to Use Supplier Data in Procurement

Our internal sustainability network and team have expanded significantly in recent months and years and now include almost all departments. Our task now is to be so effective that all employees are motivated to get involved and to make future-oriented decisions and implement measures together, based on data.

You are part of the Scope 3 Action Group, what is your motivation for this?

Participating in the Scope 3 Action Group came at exactly the right time for me, as we were already working on the topics internally. The focus on supplier collaboration and climate data from the supply chain was already of great importance to us.

Collaboration in the group and the exchange with sustainability officers and purchasing managers from companies of all sizes and industries are of central importance to me. Despite the supposed differences, we always find similarities and, more importantly, solutions to small and large problems that we all have.

Best Practice Tip – Why Sharing Experiences is Key

The personal exchange in the group has proven to be particularly valuable. I’m looking forward to the next face-to-face meeting in Berlin!

What would you like to share with others on their transformation journey?

I see the issue of sustainability as a balancing act, as commercial companies inherently have financial interests.

However, it is important to recognize that sustainability can save costs, for example through process optimization. This even happens in the short term and can then create essential arguments and facts within your own company in order to receive even more approval and support.

Best Practice Tip – Focus on the Business Case

That helps a lot! Because we have to overcome the prejudice that sustainability only costs money. Although some long-term benefits only become apparent after 5-10 years. It is always important to look at the data, show business options and also the cost savings – in the short or long term.

Things only worked differently in the past because we didn’t look at it holistically. The value of resources such as water, air and nature is now recognized and made visible, including through CO2 pricing. This opens up the possibility of making the benefits of sustainability visible not only from an ecological but also from an economic perspective.

Thank you Wolfram, great that you are driving climate transformation forward!

Start decarbonizing the supply chain now: Apply for the Scope 3 Action Group 2024.