O2 becomes first company to receive highest Carbon Trust Standard for supply chains

As the United Nations launches a framework to help businesses assess sustainability impacts, digital communications provider O2 has been named as the first organisation in the world to receive the highest Carbon Trust Standard for supply chains.

O2 has been recognised as the first organisation to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain at its highest level – Level 3. The standard is awarded for firms that showcase a targeted approach to year-on-year supply chain carbon emission reductions through identification and engagement measures with suppliers.

Level 3 requires firms to “demonstrate reductions in specified parts of the supply chain”, which O2 achieved through contractual engagements with suppliers to enrol in carbon reduction programmes. The contractually-obliged suppliers represent almost 20% of O2’s supply chain emissions.

“We have taken a particularly strong approach, ensuring that commitments to carbon reductions are included in supplier contracts for each major purchase,” the company said in statement. “It’s a testament to our commitment to being a responsible business that we use our procurement process to not only deliver high quality products and services to our customers, but to also push our suppliers towards making commitments to emissions reductions.”

The standard acts as the world’s first independent certification for organisations that are measuring and managing supply chain emissions. O2 anticipates that more suppliers will engage with the reduction programme following the certification.

O2 was first awarded a Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon in 2010 for successfully reducing operational emissions, which has fallen by 80% in a five-year period from a 2010 baseline.

The firm was the first mobile telecommunications company in the world to achieve the Carbon Trust Triple Standard for carbon, water and waste in 2014.

Much of the carbon savings were delivered through O2’s Think Big programme, which has seen two million mobile devices recycled through the O2 Recycle initiative, reducing emissions by 10,000 tonnes and slashing water use by 26 million litres in the process.

Golden opportunity

O2 has been rewarded for its environmental measures, and a new partnership between the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and the Gold Standard will help other corporates assess sustainability practices against the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Announced on Tuesday (4 April), the partnership will provide firms with improved measures to analyse initiatives in a cost-effective manner. Specifically, the collaboration will aim to deliver a decision-making tool for corporate sustainability impact assessments, technology solutions to streamline measuring and methodologies to compile new reports on sustainability programmes.

“It is clear the achievement of the SDGs is impossible without major participation from the private sector,” Gold Standard’s chief executive Marion Verles said.

“Business is demonstrating its willingness to ramp up sustainability action, and many companies are already aligning not only their corporate social responsibility policies, but also their core business strategies with the targets defined in the SDGs.”

Gold Standard is involved with numerous carbon schemes, such as AkzoNobel’s credit initiative for the shipping industry. More recently, it designed the Module for Sustainable Urban Development to help unlock the billions needed to accelerate cleantech and sustainable development in cities across the world.

Matt Mace

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