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Schneider Electric’s Path to Scope 3 Decarbonization
To meet their climate targets, global corporations must reduce CO2 from their supply chain in particular, which can account for up to 90% of their total emissions. The problem: they cannot reduce these Scope 3 emissions themselves, but instead have to enable their suppliers to do so. This collaboration requires, above all, holistic data on the climate performance of suppliers, which does not yet exist.
How does a global enterprise such as Schneider Electric deal with this challenge? This is what we learned at the the CHOICE Event #47 from Kanishk Negi, Sustainable Procurement Director at Schneider Electric. Here you will find the most important insights from his presentation.
Schneider Electric’s corporate sustainability strategy
Schneider Electric SE, the multinational leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, is aiming to accelerate sustainable progress for its customers, employees, partners and communities everywhere. For this purpose, the organization has set six long-term commitments:
- Act for a climate positive world
- Be efficient with resources
- Live up to our Principles of trust
- Create equal opportunities
- Harness the power of all generations
- Empower local communities
To ensure compliance, Schneider Electric has committed to achieving 12 measurable goals by 2025.
The particular importance of procurement is reflected in the fact that one-third of these targets depend mainly on Schneider Electric’s supply chain (marked with a blue arrow in the graphic). Of these four procurement-dependent commitments, let’s now take a closer look at how Schneider Electric is trying to reduce the CO2 emissions of its top 1,000 suppliers by 50%.
The challenges of Scope 3 decarbonization
Decarbonizing Scope 3, or supply chain emissions, is a complicated and challenging undertaking. This is especially true for a large and diversified company like Schneider Electric. The multinational organization employs more than 128,000 people in 115 different countries. Its procurement spend last year was over 14 billion euros. Because of its well-balanced global presence, Schneider Electric’s suppliers come from all parts of the world. Managing this global supply chain effectively is therefore a particularly complex task.
In addition, when Schneider Electric began looking at the climate maturity of its top 1,000 suppliers, further challenges came to light. As it turned out, 70% of these companies were actually new to the idea of decarbonization. This means that they had never calculated or quantified their carbon footprint and were not aware of the difference between Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Furthermore, two-thirds of the suppliers requested were found to be small and medium-sized enterprises. This added another nuance to the challenge, as smaller companies have only limited capacities and competencies when it comes to topics like sustainability and decarbonization. Accordingly, many suppliers initially took particular notice of the high cost factor involved in implementing climate protection measures.
Solving the problem: The Zero Carbon Project
After gathering all these insights and gaining a holistic understanding of the challenges, Schneider Electric launched a comprehensive support program in April 2021 and named it “The Zero Carbon Project”. Under the program, Schneider provides tools and resources in order to help suppliers set and achieve their climate targets. The suppliers participating in the program were first encouraged to quantify their CO2 emissions using the company’s digital tools. This data was then used to set goals and strategies for emissions reduction.
In order to provide suppliers with comprehensive support for climate actions, Schneider Electric has established a wide range of offerings. So far, more than 130 live training sessions on CO2 calculation and decarbonization measures took place. In addition, Schneider Electric has provided its suppliers with various digital tools on its web portal. Among other things, they can use these for a digital emissions calculation as well as for best practice exchange with peers and partners to access other innovative solutions for decarbonization. The consultation is supported by specialized experts and is also adapted to the different geographical characteristics.
The results of all these intensive engagements have already been promising. 1,016 active suppliers are currently participating in the program and are being engaged in decarbonization measures. 90% of those suppliers have now calculated their CO2e footprint. In addition, the participating suppliers have already reported around 8% reduction in their CO2e emissions.
Streamlining Scope 3 decarbonization with digital tools
Schneider Electric’s pioneering efforts show that, despite today’s challenges, it is actually possible to successfully engage suppliers in decarbonizing the supply chain. Nevertheless, as it stands today, companies can only accomplish this extremely complex task with a great deal of effort, which is why digital tools are now more crucial than ever in order to streamline the process of collaborating with suppliers.
One such tool is our Climate Intelligence Platform. The end-to-end Software as a Service platform helps enterprises to capture and manage comparable climate-related performance data and information from their suppliers. Via the secure IT platform, suppliers can easily report their climate data and obtain benchmarks, year-to-year comparisons as well as action-oriented potential and concrete decarbonization measures. Thereby, suppliers and customers can work together in a transparent manner to actively pursue climate goals.
For more information on the benefits of the Climate Intelligence Platform for Scope 3 decarbonization: