Designing Low-Carbon Supply Chains — Net-Zero Carbon


In this episode of Net-Zero Carbon, Tyler Cole, Director of Carbon Intelligence at FreightWaves, talks to Ryan Purcell, Senior Director of Supply Chain, Global Health and Development at Coupa Software, about the design of low carbon supply chains.

Purcell said Coupa aims to help companies turn climate goals into action. Coupa also helps companies understand their scope 3 emissions, or emissions that occur throughout their supply chains and after their products are sold to customers.

Expanding the focus from just Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) emissions to include Scope 3 emissions increases complexity, but the industry is moving in that direction, Purcell said.

“What we’ve been hearing over the past few years with increasing frequency from our clients is the need to translate their environmental, social and governance plans and objectives into business operations and decisions,” Purcell said.

Look: Putting Supply Chain Sustainability Into Action — Net-Zero Carbon

There could be a future in which companies have publicly available information on the impacts of each of their products in terms of emissions, water use, waste, land use, location original, etc. Purcell said some companies try to estimate the embedded emissions of their products to make sustainability decisions.

Logistics companies could start including sustainability metrics such as emissions in their contract offers, giving potential customers more insight into their practices and values, Purcell said.

” There is no miracle solution. It’s all of us working together to collaborate and try to scale solutions,” Cole said.

Although there is no panacea, being able to track where companies are and how they are progressing in different dimensions of sustainability can be helpful and encouraging, Purcell said. As freight companies transition to zero and low carbon fuels, the industry is moving in the right direction.

“Efficiency is the starting point. Look for collaborative opportunities,” Purcell urged.

Both said the transition needed to happen quickly. Feasible, plausible and economically feasible solutions that reduce emissions must be explored and deployed during this decade. But many experts agree that businesses won’t scale fast enough without the support of all sectors and governments.

“Private sector innovation alone will not get us out of the hole we are in now,” Purcell said.

Cole said: “I totally agree. Smart policy is going to accelerate a lot of that change. … We’re laying the groundwork for what’s going to change in this industry, and it’s a really exciting time to be a part of that.

Companies need to start thinking about the impact of this sustainable transition on their businesses if they are to “stand the test of time”, Purcell said.

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