Setting the benchmark in supply chain engagement
Three years ago, we launched our sustainable business strategy ‘Better Places’. The intention was to drive sustainability through every facet of the business, and we developed a set of strategic objectives under four main pillars.
This structure helped guide us and allowed us to view sustainability as a concept and driver for change in areas not normally associated with or impacted by ESG efforts. These included our people development and collaboration with our supply chain e.g.
- Operations – delivering chemical free cleaning products that reduce plastic waste
- Colleague training and wellbeing – ensuring a happy, healthy and sustainable workforce
- Procurement – collaborating with our supply chain for mutual benefit
Our Net Zero journey has not been a straight road and we cannot travel it alone. Our destiny and success are tied to that of our service partners and clients up and down the supply chain.
We quickly realised that we had to adopt a ‘one team approach’ to influence and lead effectively with the help of Planet Mark (our certification partner).
As our data is verified by Planet Mark it aligns to important globally recognised initiatives:
- Science Based Targets Initiative Net Zero Standard
- UN backed Race to Zero
Engaging our supply chain effectively
Only with the support of our service partners could we achieve our Net Zero ambitions – and they theirs. The currency required in our exchanges was data, and data of the correct format, type and quality.
We also began to see ourselves as the conduit for the exchange of this ESG data up and down our supply chain. Amongst other things, this:
– supported certification
– improved sustainable decision making
– helps move us to NetZero more effectively
The challenge was getting the data from a range of different shaped and sized service partners, some of whom did not have the systems in place to measure and extract the data required. Others had no idea of the importance of Net Zero and implications of not starting a journey or having a plan for achieving this goal.
Creating a supply chain engagement programme
The concept was to create a supplier engagement programme with a requirement to educate, mutually support and ultimately deliver reliable data which is so valuable in supporting sustainable business growth. Our programme is designed to continually evolve, meeting new technological challenges, mitigating risks, and grasping opportunities to be better as we travel towards our 2030 Net Zero objectives. Our Service Partner Data Capture Roadmap began in July 2022, structured to develop our ‘one team approach’, by being transparent and supportive.
To drive the programme forward, we had to achieve buy-in and understanding. In some situations, this meant assisting those smaller service partners by supporting the building of frameworks to ensure their effective data-capture. All this was done in collaboration with Planet Mark. This ensured that what was collected could be effectively used in certification measurement.
The success of the programme has meant that:
- We now have in place a robust process to collect and share data from our supply chain
- We’ve gained client trust through collaboration
- Our Service Partners are more knowledgeable and confident talking about emissions and challenging their suppliers to deliver
- Two service partners (Mayflower and Wessex) joined Planet Mark through this collaborative approach
- We can now provide emissions data for our clients down to a specific building, and for the products we offer
We’re pleased our effort has resulted in winning Best Supply Chain Engagement at the Planet Mark Awards. We continue to set benchmarks with Planet Mark of how and what can be done with a challenging supply chain.