How Coca Cola Engages Suppliers for Science Based Targets

The Science Based Targets (SBTs) initiative helps companies set climate targets that are consistent with the latest climate science. A particular focus of SBTs is on supplier engagement, as 90% or more of companies’ emissions occur in their supply chains. Corporations have to work closely with their suppliers to set and achieve their SBTs. How does a major global company still on the path of climate transformation, like Coca Cola, deal with this challenge?

Bring your Climate Targtes into actions! Engage your Supply Chain to drive Decarbonization together.

That’s what we learned at the CHOICE Event #53 from Cornelia Folz, Vice President Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability (PACS) at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Germany. Here you will find the most important insights from her presentation.

What are the Science Based Targets?

The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) was founded in 2015 in the year of the Paris Climate Agreement by four NGOs – CDP, WWF, UN Global Compact and World Resources Institute. The initiative is considered a leader in both guiding science-based climate target setting and validating it. It defines and promotes best practice in emissions reduction and net-zero targets in line with climate science. Teams of experts provide companies with independent assessment and validation of targets.

The change has already begun and action is gaining pace. Over 2,000 organizations worldwide are leading the transition to a net-zero economy by setting reduction targets grounded in climate science.

Coca Cola’s commitment to Science Based Targets

Together with the Science Based Targets initiative, Coca Cola Europacific Partners has set an ambition to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040. Over the last decade, the company has already reduced GHG emissions across its entire value chain by 30.5%. Coca Cola now concentrates on reducing its value chain emissions even further, with a focus on scope 3 emissions where the biggest impacts occur. In all of this, Coca Cola is committed to an approach that prioritizes reducing greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible.

Coca Cola reduction plan for Science Based Targets

Key focus: mobilizing suppliers on climate change

In order to reach this target, Coca Cola puts a key focus on mobilizing its suppliers on climate change. Over 90% of the organizations GHG emissions are scope 3 emissions. Those scope 3 emissions include raw ingredients (25%), packaging (43%), operations and commercial sites (7%), transport (9%) as well as cold drinks equipment (16%). 

So to really achieve the net zero ambition, Coca Cola has to work closer with its suppliers and support them in their decarbonization journey. To do so, the company has decided to start very easy with three clear and direct questions they are asking their suppliers:  

  1. Can you set your own SBTi-validated GHG emissions reduction targets by 2023?
  2. Can you commit to using 100% renewable electricity across your operations by 2023?
  3. Please share your carbon footprint data with us.
Coca Cola scope 1, 2 and 3 for Science Based Targets

Supplier Carbon Reduction Program

These three questions form the basis for activation and close cooperation with suppliers. Once the ambitions, plans as well as the existing know-how regarding the setting of science-based targets, the transition to 100% renewable energy and the sharing of carbon data from suppliers are clear and known, the real work can begin. From this, Coca Cola has launched a program to motivate and support suppliers with knowledge and resources.

Together with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Science Based Targets initiative, Coca Cola has created specific training programs for their suppliers. Suppliers that are just starting their climate transformation can join these programs, receive guidance, and learn how and with what best practices to set science-based targets. They also learn about different emission factors and approaches to identify carbon hotspots, start reduction measures and track real progress.

Practical example: The Transport Tender

So how does this all impact the day to day work? Let’s have a look at the example of the transport tender that Coca Cola is sending to out logistics companies. It includes a clear message to suppliers that sustainability is one of the 3 key objectives of the tender. Via a bidsheet, suppliers can then offer prices for green solutions (rail, waterways, gas, biofuels, electric). This allows Coca Cola to transparently learn about and compare the extra costs of decarbonization measures with actual GHG savings. 

On this basis, Coca Cola can discuss together with the suppliers on possible short and mid-term solutions. The decision making process is supported by formal calculations to weight tCO2e reduction vs oncost. Here, different alternative scenarios are created, which include the highest tCO2e reduction scenario, the cheapest scenario, and so on. 

Conclusion: From easy to complex

The Transport Tender example shows how a simple question at the beginning evolves into more specific details and an ever finer process of collaboration and shared decision making as it progresses. This is exactly how every company should approach the process of decarbonizing its own supply chain. Because one thing is clear: the task is big and complex and can seem overwhelming at first. However, we are all still at the beginning of climate transformation and need to learn together step by step.

Start with the AI Supplier Screening

AI Supplier Screening

Through the use of AI, you can now quickly access data from public sources about your suppliers on a large scale, allowing you to better collaborate on decarbonization efforts. On top of that, you gain essential strategic insights about the climate maturity of your business partners and competitors.

Embark on your Scope 3 climate journey today! Together, we’ll pave the way for informed climate choices and a sustainable transformation that makes a real difference.

Get more information about our AI Supplier Screening.

Why Supplier Engagement is crucial for achieving Science Based Targets

2023 has just begun, and already it’s clear that despite all the recent crises, both policymakers and leading companies are finally putting climate transformation front and center this year. How do we see this? The EU has just taken a decisive step towards the fundamental climate transformation of the European economy with its Green Deal Industrial Plan. At the same time, more and more companies are working to realign their own business model in a sustainable and future-oriented way. Already more than 4000 companies have set themselves Science Based Climate Targets for this purpose – a rapid increase of over 100% in only two years.

Supplier engagement is key for Science Based Targets

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) supports companies in setting climate goals aligned with the latest science. In the work of SBTi, the importance of Scope 3 (emissions from the supply chain) has become increasingly evident in recent years. It is now clear that 90% or more of a company’s emissions typically come from the supply chain. Scope 3 decarbonization and supplier engagement are therefore absolutely essential if a company wants to achieve its climate targets. The SBTi therefore requires companies to pay particular attention to targets and measures for their supply chain. Thus, supplier engagement comes to the center of attention. 

What can companies do to meet these requirements and to engage their suppliers in decarbonizing the supply chain? We take a deep dive into this in the following.

You want to discuss the individual challenges of your company? Then book a call to learn more about how our platform supports you in setting up your supplier engagement program.

Why are Science Based Targets so important? 

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) was founded in 2015 in the year of the Paris Climate Agreement by four NGOs: CDP, WWF, UN Global Compact and World Resources Institute. The initiative is a leading player for both guidance on science-based climate target setting and its validation. Companies can make a high-profile commitment to set Science Based Targets and then have two years to have these targets validated in close consultation with SBTi. 

The SBTi offers companies an important opportunity to ensure the credibility and realism of corporate climate targets. Today, companies are often tempted to tick off the issue of climate protection with quick “solutions” such as mere compensation and then exploit them for marketing purposes. Climate targets plucked out of thin air therefore inevitably lead to justified accusations of greenwashing. Instead, companies need to make the effort and really align their targets with science and the 1.5 degree target.

Why is Scope 3 important for setting Climate Targets?

Companies taking a closer look at their CO2 budget in the course of setting their Science Based Targets, quickly notice that in the majority of industries the bulk of a company’s emissions lie upstream of its core business and are generated through the purchase of goods and services (Scope 3.1). For this reason, the SBTi has stipulated that companies for which Scope 3 emissions account for more than 40% of total emissions must set a specific Scope 3 target for this purpose.

For setting targets for different Scope 3 categories, the SBTi provides guidance and criteria. Based on these criteria, a company should first try to find out where the emissions are coming from in its value chain using a Scope 3 screening. This way, the company knows where to focus its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

Using supplier engagement to implement Scope 3 targets

Once companies have identified the hotspots in their supply chain, they can move on to planning the reduction. Strictly speaking, however, companies cannot reduce these Scope 3 emissions themselves. Rather, they must enable their suppliers to take appropriate reduction measures. This is where supplier engagement comes into play and why the Science Based Targets initiative provides the opportunity and guidance for formulating additional supplier engagement targets. 

However, herein things get complicated. After all, engaging suppliers for climate actions continues to pose big challenges for companies. One problem is the complexity of value chains. These usually consist of thousands of small and medium-sized suppliers, who often have only limited resources for structured climate management. Accordingly, most suppliers fail to make their climate maturity and the corresponding climate-relevant data transparent to their business partners. In addition, many suppliers have limited time and resources and can only partially invest in concrete reduction measures.

7 Steps of the supplier engagement framework

To help companies prepare for these challenges, the SBTi has developed a supplier engagement framework. This guidance includes the following steps:

  1. Identify suppliers to engage
    First, companies should target those suppliers that have the highest contribution to the upstream scope 3 emissions.
  2. Determine the approach
    From providing support and guidance to promoting competition among suppliers, there are various approaches whose suitability needs to be assessed.
  3. Communicate
    Communication of expectations as well as the process and implications of data collection is crucial and should always be interactive. 
  4. Collaborate
    This is arguably the most important and also the hardest step of the framework. It involves driving tangible improvement with suppliers through co-creation of action plans, capacity building, training programs, incentives, and more.
  5. Support
    Because suppliers are often at very different stages of their climate transformation, each should receive exactly the right form of resources, workshops, benchmarks, or best practices it needs to take its next step.
  6. Monitor
    By continuously monitoring ongoing progress, companies can track positive developments and also adjust processes and further develop measures as needed.
  7. Reinforce
    Finally, companies should not forget to incentivize suppliers to hold up their end of the bargain.

Let’s make it happen!

The SBTi framework provides an initial orientation for the complex field of supplier engagement for climate action. It also shows how highly the topic is rated by the world’s leading driver of climate target setting. Numerous companies that are now setting Science Based Targets see supplier engagement in particular as the biggest challenge ahead of them. That’s why we built the Climate Intelligence Platform to help them and all other companies looking to reduce their Scope 3 emissions.

The Climate Intelligence Platform provides you with everything you need to set up, test, manage and achieve your supplier climate engagement targets – from data acquisition to tracking and engagement. With our corporate and enterprise plan you will be able to

Start your supplier engagement program now and compare our plans.