Leading businesses push boundaries of corporate responsibility into the supply chain

Carbon Trust launches new international certification for organisations working to measure, manage and reduce carbon emissions outside their direct operational control.

Seven pathfinder companies awarded Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain:

  • ABP Food Group

  • Aviva

  • Central England Co-operative

  • Deloitte UK

  • Nationwide

  • PwC UK

  • Willmott Dixon


Seven large businesses have demonstrated their sustainability leadership by becoming the first organisations to be awarded the new Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain, launched today at an event at the British Academy in Central London. The new certification is the world’s first independent certification to recognise organisations that have put in place a framework to measure, manage and reduce carbon emissions across their supply chain.

The pathfinder companies – ABP Food Group, Aviva, Central England Co-operative, Deloitte UK, Nationwide, PwC UK and Willmott Dixon – each have procurement spends that are measured in hundreds of millions, or billions of pounds. This purchasing power gives those organisations an opportunity to have a positive influence outside their operational boundaries, through engaging with key suppliers to get them to reduce their own carbon emissions.

In most sectors the direct environmental impacts of an organisation are dwarfed by the carbon emissions relating to the products and services in their supply chain. As leading businesses get better at reducing carbon emissions in their own operations, they recognise the responsible thing to do is to focus efforts on where they can have the greatest impact. Large organisations often harness their procurement power to secure better quality or lower prices. But if they also engage and demand higher environmental standards, they can change the behaviour of both direct and indirect suppliers, helping them to become more sustainable. At the Carbon Trust we recognised that to do this well they need a framework to support them to identify the most significant areas of emissions and opportunities for reduction in large and complex supply chains, often with thousands of individual suppliers. This is why we created the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain, which provides a management system that helps guide efforts, drives continuous improvement and recognises success.

- Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust

To achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain organisations need to complete a detailed hotspot analysis to identify the most significant areas of carbon emissions within their supply chain. This is then used to determine a quantitative baseline for emissions reduction and prioritise suppliers for future engagement. To retain the Standard on an ongoing basis organisations must demonstrate evidence of supplier engagement, demonstrate reductions in specified parts of their supply chain, and then expand their approach to engage different areas or suppliers.

Looking beyond just environmental impacts, going through a process of measuring the carbon footprint of a supply chain and engaging with suppliers can have hard financial or operational benefits. This can pinpoint areas of inefficiency and risk, helping to drive cost savings or increase resilience to threats such as the supply chain disruption, resource scarcity and regulatory change.

At ABP, we believe it is our duty to do everything we can to ensure that our growth is not at the expense of our natural environment. We also recognise that our responsibility does not begin or end at our door, so we are committed to working with our suppliers and partners to learn from each other to improve environmental standards across the board. Having acted as a pathfinder on the new Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain we are delighted to be the first organisation to be awarded this prestigious certification.

- Dean Holroyd, the Group Technical and Sustainability Director at ABP Food Group

In these days of increasing focus on clearly articulating the wider responsibility and actions of business, we continually seek ways of having our work independently verified by industry recognised bodies. We believe that as a responsible business, we can use our procurement power for good. The Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain provides this assurance to our stakeholders, and at the same time drives us forward to improving the sustainability of our business and products and services in collaboration with our suppliers.

- Tom Spink, Group Procurement Director at Aviva

When we first heard about the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain we were keen to be involved as it supports our existing plans for supply chain engagement as part of our wider corporate responsibility framework. The Standard provides external recognition of our achievements to date, but more importantly provides specialist support and guidance into our supply chain analysis and future plans, providing real benefits towards reaching our long term sustainability goals.”

- Paul Garton, Energy Efficiency Programme Manager at the Central England Co-operative

As a company we operate for the benefit of our members which, amongst other things, means doing what we can to help reduce the environmental impacts of our business. To do this well we need to look outside of our own four walls and work with our suppliers, because most of the impact related to our business is not in our operational control. Going through the process of achieving the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain has helped us to focus our existing efforts so that we can further improve our sustainability and continue to reduce our indirect carbon footprint.

- Jenny Groves, Director of Branch and Workplace Transformation at Nationwide

We believe that climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet, and that we must all play a part in tackling it. Over the past five years, we have reduced the impact of our own operations by over 30%. However, as a responsible business spending well over £3m a day on goods and services, we know that it is equally important that we support and encourage our supply chain to do the same. The Carbon Trust Supply Chain Standard has provided us with an excellent framework to guide and drive improvements, and we are delighted to be the first company in our sector to achieve it.

- Rob Lambe, Managing Director, Willmott Dixon Re-Thinking



Notes to Editor

For media enquiries please contact the Carbon Trust press office at press@carbontrust.com or 020 7170 7050.

About the Carbon Trust

Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy. The Carbon Trust:

  • advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low-carbon world;

  • measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services;

  • helps develop and deploy low-carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power.

Short case studies are provided below for pathfinder companies.

 ABP Food Group

Spokesperson: Dean Holroyd, Group Technical and Sustainability Director

ABP Food Group is one of Europe’s leading privately owned agribusiness companies. It is the largest beef processor in Ireland and the UK. The company also operates substantial renewable, pet food and protein divisions. ABP Food Group employs 9,000 and has 41 manufacturing plants in Ireland, UK, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Holland and Spain.

ABP is very conscious of the environmental impacts of the agri-food sector and the business has engaged with experts, including government agencies and third level institutions in Ireland and the UK, to look at how to improve the future sustainability of beef production. The work includes programmes in genetic improvements, animal nutrition and farming methods.



Spokesperson: Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Sustainability

Aviva provides a range of savings, insurance and investment products to 34 million customers across 16 countries. The company is one of Britain’s largest businesses and a constituent of the FTSE100 Index.

Operating in the insurance industry means that Aviva has a more varied supply chain than other office-based financial services businesses. This means that indirect emissions do not just come from its business operations, requiring procurement of ICT equipment and professional services, but also from general insurance, car and property claims fulfilment, such as automotive repairs. As a result, Aviva has implemented various practices to reduce the impact of the business.

One relatively recent initiative is introduction of sustainable claims processes. This aims, through collaboration with our suppliers, to find alternative and more sustainable ways to meet insurance claims for customers, for example by restoring rather than replacing stained carpets. By reducing the number of carpets replaced, emissions related to the production, transportation and fitting of new carpets are avoided, helping Aviva to reduce its indirect carbon footprint, as well as containing costs and improving customer satisfaction

Other initiatives include the introduction of contractual stipulations to set sustainability expectations with suppliers, such as requiring data centre providers to use a certain amount of renewable energy. Aviva has also put processes that specify that a priority should be put on repair over replacement whenever possible, so that overall emissions can be reduced.


Central England Co-operative

Spokesperson: Paul Garton,Energy Efficiency Programme Manager

Central England Co-operative is one of the UK's largest independent co-operatives with over 400 trading outlets across the Midlands and East Anglia, operating in areas such as food retail and funeral services.

The business has introduced a number of supply chain commitments into its policies for procurement, corporate responsibility and the environment. This includes a having a clear preference for suppliers that have made credible environmental reduction commitments when purchasing goods not for resale.

These policies have had positive impacts on indirect emissions in a number of areas, such as selecting domestic suppliers to avoid additional transportation emissions, purchasing green electricity and selecting responsible suppliers for waste management.

As a responsible retailer the Central England Cooperative also aims to focus on its indirect supply chain carbon footprint in goods bought for resale, especially food.



Spokesperson: Gavin Harrison, Head of Environment

Deloitte UK is part of a global network of professional services firms delivering audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and other services to clients. The company has over 14,000 employees in the UK and generates an annual revenue in excess of £2.5 billion.

Because of the nature of Deloitte’s business, the majority of the indirect carbon emissions in its supply chain are related to employee travel, IT equipment and telecommunications services, and the need for hospitality services such as hotels and catering.

When tendering for new services the business asks all potential partners to adopt the principles of its Sustainable Procurement Policy and asks specific questions on their current performance through a sustainability questionnaire. By rewarding these behaviours at an early stage, Deloitte highlights the importance the company puts on reducing its upstream carbon emissions and encourages ongoing collaboration with suppliers.

Achieving the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain has helped Deloitte build a framework for its sustainable procurement activities, prioritising existing suppliers to work with to reduce its supply chain emissions.



Spokesperson: Lynn Forrester, Sustainability Manager

Nationwide is the world’s largest building society, with over 14 million members. The focus of the business is on providing those members with retail financial services and Nationwide is the second largest provider of mortgages in the UK.

As a financial services business, the major sources of Nationwide’s supply chain carbon emissions come from the provision of ICT systems and services, as well as postal and telecommunications services, that enable Nationwide to handle data and communicate with customers. As such the business is putting a focus on engaging with ICT providers to minimise emissions, as well as to promote lower carbon transport options to reduce carbon emissions in supplier fleets.

Under its supplier code of conduct, Nationwide requires shortlisted suppliers to complete an Environmental Sustainability Oversight Questionnaire to help understand how that supplier manages the carbon footprint from its own operations and supply chain. Moving forward, the company will be working jointly with some of the suppliers that account for a significant part of Nationwide’s indirect supply chain emissions in order to support improved sustainability.



Spokesperson: Adam Bushell, National Energy Manager

PwC is a leading professional services firm, providing assurance, tax and advisory services to clients around the world. The firm has over 19,000 employees in the UK.

Recognising the opportunity to use its procurement spending in areas such as IT, facilities and hospitality to incentivise better sustainability performance, PwC has put in place a detailed supply chain sustainability programme.

The firm asks its top 100 or so key suppliers to report their greenhouse gas emissions via the CDP (formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project) supply chain module. This encourages them to measure, manage and reduce the footprints associated with services they provide. PwC has also hosted Sustainability Supply Chain Forums with key suppliers, to engage them in discussions on carbon reduction and share best practice – providing practical help in measuring carbon emissions, setting reduction targets and reducing the impacts.


Willmott Dixon

Spokesperson: Rob Lambe, Managing Director, Re-Thinking

Willmott Dixon is a large privately-owned construction company based in the UK, with a focus on contracting, residential development and property support. The business has an annual turnover exceeding £1 billion and employees 3,500 people.

As a construction company, the most significant element of supply chain carbon emissions are embodied within building materials such as cement, lime and plaster, as well as in construction machinery. These emissions are significantly greater than the carbon emissions from Willmott Dixon’s own operations, so reducing supply chain emissions has become an important sustainability focus for the business.

The business directly engages with individual suppliers to evaluate their own sustainability performance and set expectations. Willmott Dixon was also one of the founding members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, which provides guidance, resources and virtual tools for construction industry suppliers to help them become more sustainable.

Willmott Dixon is now looking to tailor its current engagement plan to focus on a relatively small number of specific suppliers that represent a large proportion of supply chain emissions, in order to continue minimising carbon emissions.