Work with a greener supply chain

Most business carbon emissions are created through supply chains outside your ownership or direct control. Reducing these emissions can lower costs and help progress towards net zero.

What counts as supply chain emissions

When measuring your carbon footprint, supply chain emissions are counted in the ‘Scope 3’ category. This means they are outside your business operations and come from assets that you don’t own or control.

This includes the energy used to:

  • create the products your business uses
  • transport what your business buys and sells
  • treat your water and sewage
  • process waste

Define the boundaries of your business

How you define the boundaries of your business will affect the supply chain emissions that get counted.

To help decide what Scope 3 calculations qualify, you can:

Reduce supply chain emissions

To reduce supply chain emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product. Common ideas include:

Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate

You can use sites like Green Economy to locate products, services and providers with lower emissions.

Lower emissions ‘downstream’ of your business

  • make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
  • reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
  • make investments in lower carbon financial products
  • give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises

Certify your supply chain action

If your business needs to prove it’s taking action, the Carbon Trust offers various certifications for: