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Supply Chain Engagement: How to deploy your potential as a climate frontrunner

Sofie Pierreux

Imagine this: carbon emissions from supply chains are on average 11.4 times higher than what organisations emit on-site. Talking about a great opportunity for decarbonization.

This article explores how companies engage their supply chains in an effort to decarbonize the entirity of their operations and - in doing so - increase their impact as catalysts within the climate transition.

Read on to discover how BACA members are taking on the challenge and what tools are available to engage your suppliers to meet your climate targets.

The impact of supply chain engagement

Value chains are hot topic, and rightfully so. For many companies, the famous 'scope 3' emissions represent the largest emission source in a GHG inventory, often comprising more than 70%.
As companies grow more aware about their role as protagonists in the climate transition, a surge in science-based target setting manifests, covering the value chain in its entirety.

Companies are developing supplier engagement programs, including route maps for data collection, supplier support and alignment within the company.

Within the Alliance, a similar trend is emerging: BACA members become increasingly aware and ambitious when it comes to reducing emissions throughout the supply chain. The video on the right shares how this journey unfolded for BACA members Proximus, UCB and Delhaize.

The Supply Chain Leaders Group

Still, engaging a chain of often many hundreds of suppliers can be quite the endeavour. A number of questions obtained a recurring status:

How do you...

  • get your suppliers to raise their ambitions level to meet yours?
  • support them to crystallise those ambitions?
  • gather reliable data from your suppliers?
  • get sustainability and purchasing departments in your company on board? And what about management?
Supply Chain Leaders

As companies are gradually gaining expertise in the field of supplier engagement - through processes of trial, error and improvement - answers to these questions are being developed at rapid pace.

That is why in November '23, a brand-new group of seven Supply Chain Leaders was recruited to step up as frontrunners and ambassadors of engaged supply chains:
bpost, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Delhaize Belgium, ISS A/S, Proximus, Schneider Electric and VELUX.

Together, they engage to share experiences with the community and delve deeper into the challenges and opportunities.

fruitful foundations

When asked about the #1 advice to those getting started, answers of experience experts (like the Supply Chain Leaders) sound much alike:
"It may look like a mountain to climb, but in practice, taking the first step is easier than you think. More so, this first step doesn't need to be perfect. Just get started."

Books info

The initial stages of a new endeavour often involve reading through vast amounts of online information. This can be overwhelming, and let's be honest, a little boring at times.

To facilitate the 'acquaintance stage',

  • we compiled a list of 'supply chain essentials' for you to browse through (disclaimer: this list is preliminary and will be updated as new resources become available).
  • we will continue to share 'supply chain talks', in which BACA members elaborate on their supplier experiences. After all, story formats make us retain information better, and they are simply more fun to read.

Getting started is also a matter of surrounding yourself well, inside your company and outside of it. Exchanging with colleagues and managers from various departments (like purchasing and sustainability) favors internal alignment and consistency in the communication towards your suppliers.

Are you looking for inspiration or support outside of your organisation? With the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action, we are here to provide you with just that.

We hope this was useful. As supply chain engagement is a topic very much under development at the moment, we will update this resource as new information happens upon our radar.

Did we forget something crucial? Do you have any suggestions or relevant information to add to this web page? Let us know via!