The transformation vision of 250 CEOs, digitized sustainability engagement tools, and alignment of procurement across the business will be essential for environmental and social change.
Over the past few years, CEOs are feeling an increased urgency to act on climate and global issues. WBCSD’s Vision 2050 is a powerful example that reveals the leading role procurement can play in this call for transformation.
WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 250 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world through the development of business solutions for environmental and social challenges. With innovation, collaboration and valuation, the organization enables member companies to transform their value chains, create new market opportunities, build resiliency, and attract lower cost of capital than companies that take no action.
EcoVadis joined WBCSD in December of 2020 with an initial focus on its SOS 1.5 project, a climate action roadmap designed to help companies reach net-zero carbon emissions before 2050 with members including Unilever, Iberdrola, and Shell. EcoVadis’ mission is closely aligned with WBCSD’s vision and goals, the SOS 1.5 project, and their member’s perspective on the challenges of supply chain emissions reductions.
Enter WBCSD’s Vision 2050: Time to Transform. Originally published back in 2010, Time to Transform calls for a world in which more than nine billion people can live well, within planetary boundaries by mid-century. WBCSD announced an update to that vision this year to provide comprehensive, reliable and ambitious guidance on how businesses can lead the transformation the world needs to still reach the same original goals by 2050.
This update defines sustainable transformation pathways, identifies the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration, and highlights the need for a strong action in the supply chain. Specifically, WBCSD’s main points on the supply chain include:
Collaboration: Businesses, governments and multi-stakeholder platforms need to ensure that human rights are protected and respected throughout global supply chains. (page 46)
Transparency: Relevant information about the sustainability performance of products across supply chains needs to become widely available and comparable, enabling more sustainable purchasing decisions. (page 47)
Technology: Supports enhanced supply chain transparency and accountability for the environmental and social impact of products throughout their life cycles. (page 48)
Impact Measurement: Businesses need to scale efforts to measure and value dependencies on natural, social and human capital as well as the positive and negative impacts of their operations and supply chains. (page 77)
Sustainable procurement programs are in the most pivotal position to make this Vision 2050 transformation happen. How can we accelerate? Let’s examine a few actions procurement teams can take today to start making a change and work towards those goals:
By shifting the mindset from a focus on efficiency, toward resilience procurement can create profound system transformation and growth. This entails reexamining supply chain compliance programs, and investing in a ‘performance approach’ to supplier sustainability management systems. Then, integrating supplier sustainability performance into procurement processes and decisions, procurement executives can unlock the right balance between agility and resilience and drive broad scale improvement in social and environmental impacts.
Approaches to transparency and improvement on complex issues such as Scope 3 GHG emissions are advancing quickly. For example, new technologies and tools for engaging suppliers are available that go beyond predictive models to empower suppliers to measure, benchmark and achieve not only transparency on carbon and GHG emissions, but also to drive the needed reductions. This is core to the SOS 1.5 project.
Procurement is also the vital link to extending values of ensuring worker safety, physical and mental health, and wellbeing across the value chain. This requires rethinking supplier social assessment, so procurement and sustainability teams can map and identify risks, assess supplier management systems, and provide feedback, guidance and training to help them to improve.
Champion human and labor rights throughout operations and supply chains by implementing international frameworks, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The report outlines how organizations should “leverage new levels of data quantity, quality and sharing in order to monitor and manage supply chain risks and ensure responsible, sustainable sourcing to help aid these transformations.” These tools and indicators are available today. Need inspiration to accelerate? This transformation has begun already - here are a few examples of companies seizing the opportunity to rethink and transform their sustainable procurement and supply chain functions so we can achieve the Vision 2050. Just starting your transformation journey? Check out this 5 step guide.
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