Sustainability in the Supply Chain
In the wake of global climate change concerns and increasing regulatory requirements, Australian businesses must consider the impact of their supply chain on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A key area of focus is scope 3 emissions, which encompass indirect emissions from a company's value chain, including upstream and downstream activities. In this blog article, we will discuss the importance of addressing scope 3 emissions and explore the investments Australian businesses can make to maximise their emission reduction impact.
Understanding Scope 3 Emissions
Scope 3 emissions are divided into two main categories:
- Upstream emissions: These emissions result from activities that occur before a company's direct operations, such as raw material extraction, production, and transportation.
- Downstream emissions: These emissions occur after a product has left a company's direct control, including product use, end-of-life treatment, and disposal.
Investments for Maximising Scope 3 Emission Impact in Australia
Australian businesses can make strategic investments in their supply chains to address scope 3 emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future. Here are some key areas to focus on:
- Measure and report: Australian businesses should invest in systems that accurately measure and report their scope 3 emissions. This will help identify areas for improvement and track progress. Standardised measurement and reporting methodologies, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, can provide a solid foundation for such efforts.
- Supplier engagement: Engaging with suppliers is crucial for Australian businesses seeking to reduce their scope 3 emissions. Companies can provide incentives, support, and training to help suppliers adopt low-carbon technologies and practices. Collaborating with suppliers on sustainability targets and sharing best practices can also drive emission reductions across the supply chain.
- Sustainable procurement: Integrating sustainability criteria into procurement processes can help Australian businesses prioritise suppliers with lower emissions profiles. This may include considering factors such as energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, waste management, and recycling practices when selecting suppliers.
- Product design and lifecycle management: By designing products with sustainability and circular economy principles in mind, Australian businesses can minimise emissions throughout the product lifecycle. This includes considering factors such as material selection, recyclability, and energy efficiency during the design phase, as well as end-of-life disposal and recycling options.
- Collaboration and innovation: Australian businesses can benefit from collaborating with industry peers, government agencies, and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions for reducing scope 3 emissions. Joining industry initiatives, partnering with research institutions, or investing in new technologies can drive emissions reductions across the value chain.
Examples of Australian Companies Making a Difference
Mining giant BHP has made significant commitments to reduce its scope 3 emissions. The company has set an ambitious goal to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050. BHP has implemented initiatives such as investing in carbon capture and storage technologies, collaborating with suppliers to reduce emissions from steel production, and working with customers to reduce emissions during the use of its products.
Qantas, Australia's largest airline, has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. To address scope 3 emissions, Qantas has invested in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and partnered with suppliers to develop low-carbon alternatives. Additionally, the airline has implemented a carbon offset program that encourages passengers to offset their emissions by supporting environmental projects in Australia and overseas.
Westpac, one of Australia's largest banks, has established a comprehensive climate change strategy that includes reducing scope 3 emissions. The bank has committed to aligning its lending portfolio with the Paris Agreement goals and actively engages with customers in carbon-intensive sectors to support their transition to a low-carbon economy. Westpac has also introduced responsible investment options for customers that consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
Addressing scope 3 emissions is an essential aspect of corporate sustainability and environmental stewardship for Australian businesses. By investing in emission measurement and reporting, supplier engagement, sustainable procurement, product design, and collaboration, companies can significantly reduce their scope 3 emissions and contribute to a greener future. As regulations and stakeholder expectations continue to evolve, Australian organisations that proactively address scope 3 emissions will be better positioned to thrive in a low-carbon economy.