As supply chain organizations increase their interest in reducing their environmental footprint, one of AWESOME’s 2021 sponsors – Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) – has reached a major sustainability milestone and is now carbon negative. The global EY organization achieved carbon neutrality at the end of 2020; in January of 2021, EY leadership issued an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021 by setting targets to significantly reduce the organization’s absolute emissions and remove and offset more carbon than it emits. To reach the goal, EY followed through on seven key elements.
Regenia Sanders, EY US-Central Business Region Consulting Leader and an AWESOME Advisor, weighed in on the topic, saying, “Focusing on sustainability encourages you to rethink your business for the future.” Her view is that supply chains are a natural place to focus on for many companies that are setting sustainability targets. “Optimization and simplification across the supply chain can reduce emissions significantly.”
This is becoming a top priority for supply chain leaders, as investors, regulators and consumers focus more intently on sustainability. EY leadership predicts that the regulatory climate will get even more strict and that companies will need to include in their climate disclosures what they are doing not just in their operations but in their supply chains. As for consumers, according to the EY Future Consumer Index in March 2021, “49% of consumers say they will prioritize the environment and climate change in how they live and the products they buy. And 26% say sustainability will be their most important purchase criteria three years from now.”
As many companies set net-zero goals for the future – some as early as 2025 – EY has developed the EY Decarbonization Architecture, which offers a framework for understanding where to start, what tools are available, and how to align metrics with outcomes.
EY US also recommends taking these steps:
- Benchmark and baseline your data
- Rethink how you engage with suppliers
- Scrutinize the full life cycle of your products
- Focus on logistics
- Explore the circular economy
More details about these recommendations can be found in the EY article “Why net-zero supply chains are the next big opportunity for business.”
AWESOME Advisor Regenia Sanders co-authored this article with Velislava Ivanova, EY Americas Chief Sustainability Officer and Americas Climate Change and Sustainability Services Leader. Glenn Steinberg and Lauren Rogge also contributed.