BT Climate Change Procurement
Engaging suppliers to help reduce overall emissions.
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.
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.