Supply Chain News Round-Up (Issue 99)

May 28, 2008

The first ever results of the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration have discovered that while 58% of responding suppliers are reporting on emissions, only 26% have set greenhouse gas reduction targets. Cadbury Schweppes, Dell, HP, Imperial Tobacco, L’Oreal, Nestle, PepsiCo UK & Ireland, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Tesco and Unilever all work through the CDP’s Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration. An information request was sent to suppliers encouraging them to report on carbon footprints and climate change relevant information, including greenhouse gas emissions data, emissions reductions targets and climate change strategy.
A total of 144 suppliers from mainly large and medium sized companies responded to the request, with 95% of these never having reported through the CDP. For many this was the first time they had addressed climate change issues. Taxation and emissions limits were identified as potential risks, with 96% citing greenhouse gas regulation.

Contact The Carbon Disclosure Project
& 0207 970 5660

The world’s largest IT company Hewlett Packard has released a list of their top 50 suppliers making it the first in the technology sector to have done so. At the time the company also announced a pilot program to empower workers and advance women’s health issues among its suppliers. Hewlett Packard stated that by releasing the list they hoped to promote transparency and raise standards in the IT industry supply chain, leading to operational changes in supplier labour, health and safety, environmental and ethics practices. The top 50 list represents more than 95% of the company’s procurement expenditures for materials, manufacturing and assembly of its products across the world.

Contact Hewlett Packard headquarters UK 0870 013 0790

Companies pursuing green supply chain initiatives are being driven by a number of pressures including the desire to be thought a leader in their industry, according to a recent Aberdeen study. Building a Green Supply Chain: Social Responsibility for Fun and Profit, which looked at 320 companies and outlined information from supply chain executives on their green and sustainability plans, discovered 41% of companies that
participated in the study had green supply chain initiatives in place for 1 – 2 years, and 39% had changed parts of their supply chain to be greener. Top of the list of pressures driving a greening of the supply chain was a desire to be thought a leader, followed by the need to control rising fuel and energy costs, the demand to improve competitive advantage and market differentiation, and the need to meet current regulatory requirements.

Contact Aberdeen Group 001 617 723 7890
Unilever has announced it plans to have all its palm oil certified by 2015, ensuring that palm oil used by the company in its products will only come from sustainable sources. The news comes after workers arriving at two Unilever offices last April were confronted by the sight of orange orang-utan suited protesters monkeying about. The protesters, 50 members of Greenpeace, were making a statement about the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest which they claim is being carried out by companies that supply Unilever with palm oil. The rainforest is the natural habitat of the orang-utan, and with trees being cut down to manufacture palm oil more and more orangutans are in danger.
Unilever’s plan is to start using certified palm oil as it becomes available in the second half of 2008. The company will look to have all the palm oil it uses in Europe fully traceable by 2012. Patrick Cescau, Unilever’s CEO, made the announcement at the Prince’s of Wales’ May Day Climate Change Summit in London. “We started work on sustainable palm oil ten years ago by developing and sharing our own guidelines and good practices with growers and suppliers, leading to the setting up of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in 2004,” he said. “Now we need to take the next step. Suppliers need to move to meet the criteria, by getting certified both the palm oil from their own plantations and the palm oil they buy from elsewhere.”

Contact Unilever & 0207 822 5252

Coca Cola have brought sustainable fashion one step closer with the launch of their new T-shirt line “Drink 2 Wear” made from recycled plastic bottles. The T-shirts, which became available in select Wal-Mart stores across the US, are a blend of recycled plastic and cotton and feature slogans such as “Rehash your Trash” and “Make your Plastic Fantastic.” Each man’s T-shirt reuses four PET bottles, while each woman’s reuses three. The company says the idea is to promote the recycling of used beverage bottles into renewable, reusable products. Stuart Kronauge, vice president, marketing Coca Cola North America said: “If the 200 million Wal-Mart shoppers in the US purchase their shirts, they will help us reuse and divert more than 700 million bottles from the waste stream.”

Coca Cola 0208 237 3782

Forum for the Future teamed up with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) in April, to produce a guide for companies wanting to make green claims about their products and services. The report is titled Eco-promising: communicating the environmental credentials of your products and services and it outlines the problems customers and companies face in addressing the minefield of ‘eco-promises’ found on the labels of products. The guide makes suggestions about which issues to highlight, how best to communicate these issues and how claims can be aligned with broader business objectives. There is also consideration given to the increasing possibility of a consumer backlash.

Contact Forum for the Future
020 7324 3660
Business for Social Responsibility

There was a lack of quantifiable goals among the sustainable policies of 50% of the international companies surveyed in a recent poll by GCI-Infiniti. While 95% of the 150 corporations questioned had sustainable initiatives, only 34% considered their sustainable commitments would benefit them in a business sense. Commenting on the findings, GCI UK were keen to emphasise that there are strong arguments for involving entire workforces in sustainable efforts as improved communication leads to improved productivity. The WBCSD took this thinking further; stating that commitment to sustainable practices would attract and retain staff, customers and investors. GCI, a global public relations agency, and Infiniti Research conducted the poll of 150 US and UK based organizations from six different industry sectors – property, law, pharmaceutical, technology, consumer goods and government — to identify priorities on sustainable development within their overall corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Contact GCI Group
Infiniti Research

A new guide has been launched to help business executives involved in the purchase of wood and paper based products do so without damaging the forests and communities from where they are acquired. Sustainable Procurement of Wood and Paper-based Products: An Introduction and its accompanying Guide and Resource Kit have been published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. The guide is meant as an information and decision support tool to help companies develop sustainable procurement policies and provide information on existing approaches to buying wood and paper-based products from legal and sustainable sources. It is aimed at business executives who are significant users and purchasers of pulp, paper, packaging, timber and wood-based products who do not have ‘in-house’ forestry expertise.

Contact The World Business Council for
Sustainable Development 0041 22 839 3100

Water sustainability is some way off for many food and drinks companies, according to a new report published by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility. Taking into account the water use policies and performance of fifteen leading British and Irish food and drinks businesses, Water Sustainability: Meeting the Challenge discovered that while some companies were responding to water sustainability issues, others were flagging behind. Diageo, SAB Miller and Unilever came out best in the analysis which included looking at agricultural supply chains and overseas operations. Food and drinks companies are among the top industrial water users. “Water-thirsty industries such as food and drinks processing have a responsibility to manage their water use accountably and sustainably,” says Suzanne Ismail, researcher at the ECCR. Those companies that are quick to address water sustainability issues may reap both financial and reputational benefits.

Contact The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility

01865 245349

Irish Food Minister Trevor Sargent has announced plans to increase organic production in Ireland to 5% of land area by 2012. Launching the Organic Farming Action Plan 2008 – 2012 in April, the Minister said the target was “challenging” but “achievable”. The Action Plan outlines 60 actions, and has four main objectives: to increase organic production in line with market trends, increase knowledge, develop the organic market at home and abroad, and increase public buying opportunities for organic produce.
In Ireland farmers are given financial incentives to aid with the conversion period when turning organic. According to Minister Sargent there were several clear benefits in going organic including more food for each unit of energy input, retention of carbon in the soil, and encouraging a soil rich in microbes, root fungi and essential plant nutrients.

Contact The Green Party
00353 (0) 1 6790012