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Companies have Environmental 'Blind Spot' in Supply Chains: Study

From Reuters, Published on 26 January 2016

Many multinationals have a blind spot in judging the environmental impact of their suppliers' operations, adding to corporate risks linked to climate change, according to a study published on January 2016.

The report, by non-profit consultancies CDP and BSR working with 75 companies such as Dell, Unilever and Wal-Mart Stores on environmental risks, said that only 49 percent of almost 8,000 suppliers responded in 2015 when asked about their environmental footprint.

"If you are a large multinational company and you have a blind spot in your supply chain..., you are likely to be at greater risk," Paul Simpson, head of CDP, told Reuters. CDP was formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Still, he said it was positive that ever more multinationals were seeking environmental information about supply chains, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water use or the impact of their business on tropical forests.

Coca Cola, for instance, aims to cut the carbon footprint of "the drink in your hand" by 25 percent by 2020 from 2010 levels. It says two-thirds of that footprint is caused by suppliers, such as packaging, agricultural ingredients, coolers and vending machines.

And Wal-Mart has said it achieved a goal of cutting 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chains by 2015 - something impossible without proper monitoring.

The report did not name companies with good or bad overviews of their suppliers but Simpson said CDP would publish a ranking in 2017.

In December 2015, almost 200 nations agreed at a summit in Paris to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions this century to limit rising temperatures blamed for causing everything from more heat waves to downpours.

"Everyone is under starter's orders including multinational organizations and their worldwide supply base" to implement the Paris agreement, Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, wrote in a preface to January 2016's report.

For more information regarding supply chain management, please refer to the following links:
The Manufacturing Industry’s Role in the Circular Economy
Judging by the Cover: The Importance of Sustainable Packaging
Sustainability in the Supply Chain

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