Lessons from a Practitioner: How Schneider Electric Uses Targets to Decarbonize Its Value Chain

February 1, 2023 EcoVadis

Speaker:  Vanessa Miler-Fels, VP of Climate and Environment at Schneider Electric, hosted by Fergal Byrne, Executive Producer, The Sustainability Agenda

As questions surrounding Scope 3 emissions are rising on the business agenda, understanding why and how we must address them is key to achieving decarbonization. With that in mind, we have launched a podcast series featuring senior business and thought leaders who talk us through their experiences in tackling supply chain decarbonization.


The Sweeping Scope of Scope 3 

For most companies, Scope 3 is almost everything. For us, for Schneider Electric, Scope 3, which are the indirect emissions from our value chain, both upstream and downstream, represent about 99.5% of our carbon footprint. The direct emissions from our operations and the emissions from the electricity operations consume are less than 0.5%.

It's really the most important impact we have on the environment and particularly on climate change. It was obvious that we needed to set ambitious goals that would not just look at our operations, but also look at our value chain, and not just at our upstream value chain, but also look at our downstream value chain.

How the Journey Developed

Vanessa Miler-Fels observes that tackling Scope 3 emissions has been a real journey for Schneider Electric. "It's been a multistep taken over time," she says.  The company first focused on its own operations, "... you have to learn up your won house before your turn around and ask your neighbors or your suppliers to clean up their house, or your electricity provider to clean up the grid," she further explains. 

It soon became clear, though, that Schneider Electric that the only way forward was to engage with a broad ecosystem; the full value chain, both suppliers upstream as well as customers and the grid downstream. 

Speaking more specifically about targets, Schneider Electric first set science-based target initiatives in 2019. And these have just been reset because the science-based target initiative defined what it means to set net-zero targets for a company. This, Ms. Miler-Fels points out, was the first time the company had a clear definition of what net-zero is and how it differs from carbon neutrality. 

The Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) provided the clarity needed for companies to understand the maths behind carbon accounting. Schneider Electric submitted net-zero targets soon after and got them approved in the summer of 2022. These are 2050 net-zero targets. A critical part of it, Ms. Miler-Fels points out is to reduce, reduce, reduce, and then whatever is residual should be removed.  "For us, it means reducing 90% by 2050, removing the rest, bu we have, of course, intermediary targets," she explains. 

About the Scope 3 Agenda Podcast Series

The Scope 3 Agenda Podcast is a monthly series produced by EcoVadis in collaboration with  Fergal Byrne from The Sustainability Agenda featuring stories from senior business leaders working on supply chain decarbonization to reduce Scope 3 emissions across different industries. In the ten episodes we talk to business and thought leaders from a range of industries and explore strategies, challenges and lessons learned by companies who have embarked on a decarbonization journey.

EcoVadis Scope 3 Podcast: How and Why Scope 3 Carbon Emissions are Rising on the Business AgendaLessons from a Practitioner: Overcoming Key Challenges and Ørsted's Net Zero JourneyEcoVadis Scope 3 Podcast: Decarbonizing Supply Chains: Setting the Scope 3 Frame and the Role of StandardsThe Role of Procurement in DecarbonizationLessons from a Practitioner: Carlsberg's Tactical Approach to Tackling Supply Chain EmissionsInsights from the World Economic ForumLessons from a Practitioner: IKEA’s Holistic Take on Emission Scopes and Total Business ImpactHow Supply Chains Are the Answer to Decarbonization: Insights From Accenture


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