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BT Climate Change Procurement

Challenge

Engaging suppliers to help reduce overall emissions.

Problem

For many companies, reducing the impact of operations has a limited effect on overall emissions associated with their business. Impacts are typically tied to the raw materials and use-phases of the lifecycle – away from immediate control of an organisation.

Communications giant BT had made huge progress on operational emissions, reducing the carbon intensity by 57% on 1997 levels by March 2010. To achieve a more ambitious 80% reduction target by 2020 they need to work more closely with their supply chain. Spending nearly £12 billion a year procuring goods and services, BT is supplied by businesses all over the world, many in developing countries.

Solution

In 2007 BT developed a climate change procurement standard – one of the first of its kind in the UK. The standard means energy efficiency and environmental impact are treated as key factors in 80% of its purchasing decisions. Within three years, 50% of suppliers were measuring their carbon footprint and 52% had set their own reduction targets.

Encouraged by these early results, BT worked with the Carbon Trust on a supplier engagement programme, sharing knowledge to help suppliers understand the benefits of using energy more efficiently and cutting CO₂. By the end of 2010, 80 suppliers had attended the programme workshops and, despite some initial scepticism, the programme is now achieving very high scores in terms of relevance and interest.

Benefits

Suppliers develop firm plans and targets
Shared benefits along the supply chains
Reduction in CO₂ emissions

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