Many Suppliers Least Resilient to Climate Change

Jan. 27, 2015

Lack of preparation currently leaves supply chains in Brazil, China, India and the United States more vulnerable to climate risks than those in Europe and Japan. However, suppliers in China and India deliver the greatest financial return on investment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate the strongest appetite for collaboration across the value chain, according to research released today by CDP, the international NGO formerly called Carbon Disclosure Project, and Accenture.

Supply chain sustainability revealed: a country comparison. CDP supply chain report 2014–15 the most comprehensive overview of the climate risks and opportunities that exist for supply chains globally. The new research, which also incorporates information from the United Nations’ World Risk Report, is based on data collected from 3,396 companies on behalf of 66 multinational purchasers that work with CDP to better understand and manage the environmental impacts of their supply chains; they account for $1.3 trillion in procurement spend, and include organizations such as Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., and Unilever plc.

Analysis and scoring of suppliers’ climate change mitigation strategies, carbon emissions reporting, target setting, emission reduction initiatives, climate risk procedures, uptake of low-carbon energy, and water risk assessment efforts, as disclosed by suppliers to CDP, were used to create a sustainability risk/response matrix which offers a visual comparison of how well prepared suppliers across 11 major economies* are to mitigate and manage environmental risk in their supply chains.

“While climate and water risks are apparent, the implications for businesses and economies reliant on complex supply chain models are less understood,” said Paul Simpson, chief executive officer, CDP. “That multinationals are engaging with thousands of suppliers to better manage environmental challenges and opportunities is encouraging. These companies are catalyzing progress in response to global problems.”

Simpson added, “It is particularly exciting to see such a strong appetite for collaboration and superior financial returns on initiatives to reduce emissions from Chinese and Indian suppliers. This should attract investment, which in turn will drive greater action within these high emitting markets.”

“What is concerning is that, despite the increase in the number of companies assessing and reporting on their emissions, the data suggests that suppliers are making either marginal or no improvements in their development of sustainable supply chains capable of weathering climate risks and other natural disasters,” said Gary Hanifan, managing director, Accenture Strategy. “The good news is that as companies transform their supply chains into digital supply networks they will gain greater end-to-end visibility, traceability and access to information to report on their compliance progress and mitigate climate risks.”

The sustainability risk/response matrix reveals that:

  • Suppliers in France, the UK, Spain and Germany – in that order – are identified as the most sustainable. They have taken extensive measures despite comparatively low levels of exposure to climate risk. However, the report notes a year-on-year decline in the percentage of German suppliers implementing a number of key environmental performance indicators, such as having a climate risk management processes in place, which has dropped from 82 percent to 72 percent.
  • Japan is the only country with suppliers that are well-equipped to respond to high climate risks as they have matched their awareness and actions with the high levels of risk to which they are exposed. Suppliers in Japan can claim some of the highest levels of emissions reporting, target setting and climate risk awareness and management.
  • Suppliers in China, Italy and the United States are found to be vulnerable. An assessed imbalance between high exposure to climate risk and the steps that suppliers have taken in response to the situation leaves room for improvement for those in these geographies.
  • Even so, the United States has been identified by CDP as an incubator of leadership, given that the majority of constituents of the CDP Supplier Climate Performance Leadership Index – those suppliers identified as taking the most positive actions to address climate change - are headquartered in the United States.
  • Brazil, Canada and India must do more as suppliers there who participated in the research report fewer emission reduction initiatives than the global average.
  • A collaborative approach and profitable emissions reductions initiatives give China and India a competitive edge. Suppliers in China and India offer the best return on investment in terms of emissions reductions and monetary savings. Further, suppliers in both markets demonstrate the highest propensity to collaborate with partners across the value chain in order to reduce climate risk.

The global picture, which is presented alongside the country-by-country analysis in the report, establishes some encouraging signs of global progress. Today, more organizations than ever assess and report to CDP about their environmental impact. The 3,396 companies that took part in the program this year represent a substantial increase of 40 percent in the past three years.

Further, the quantity and percentage of suppliers setting emissions targets, which is a crucial and advanced component of climate risk management, shows a steady upward trend: nearly half (48 percent) of the suppliers set targets last year, compared to 44 percent in 2013 and 39 percent in 2012. There has also been an increase in the number of suppliers achieving emissions reductions since 2012, with the percentage rising from 34 percent to 40 percent in 2014. As suppliers become more advanced at carbon management, the number of companies realizing monetary savings from their actions to reduce emissions mirrors the rising trajectory, jumping from 29 percent in 2012 to 33 percent in 2014.

Rh Companylogo 11672092


Feb. 6, 2013