Advancing climate action through supplier collaboration

By James Lee, Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability Manager

As climate change continues to be one of the most pressing societal issues, it’s never been more vital for companies to engage their supply chains toward critical climate action. That’s why Clorox set science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, including a 25% absolute reduction target for our scope 3 emissions. Like most companies, about half of our carbon emissions fall within the category known as ”purchased goods and services” (i.e., the raw materials and ingredients we buy to make our products). In simple terms, we can’t achieve our climate goals or make any significant progress alone. We’ll need to rely on the support of our suppliers and business partners.

Although we’ve been able to achieve great success in engaging suppliers to report their carbon data, the challenge for us and every other company has been that many suppliers simply are not able to calculate their full carbon data. And without the emission measurement, suppliers have great difficulty in setting reduction targets. As the adage goes: “You cannot manage what you do not measure.”

We struggled with the challenge of incomplete supplier data, as well as the lack of supplier reduction targets, putting us at risk of not meeting our 2030 goal. To learn more, we set up meetings with 60 of our most important suppliers to hear their stories and understand their progress. One by one through these discussions, we realized suppliers were struggling with resources, competing priorities and a lack of expertise. Although calculating emissions may seem like a simple idea, the reality is extremely complex. Trying to combine multiple sources of varied and incomplete data with outdated emission factors and complicated business processes is a challenge for even the most mature companies.

This meant we needed to find a way to help them overcome their obstacles and support their capabilities. That’s why we’re joining the Supplier Leadership on Climate Transitions consortium. The program brings consumer packaged goods brands together in collaboration to engage, equip and educate their supplier organizations in measuring carbon emissions, setting targets and creating abatement strategies.

Suppliers can enroll for a six-month module that is customized to meet their current needs to ensure they’re getting the help where they need and when they need it. The program provides best-practice expertise and industry-proven insights for supplier organizations to learn and develop in their carbon journey. Suppliers also can engage and discuss with their peers and competitors that are also participating.

Clorox is entering the program in its fourth season, joining 14 of the largest CPG brands in engaging over 500 supplier organizations across 45 countries.

Clorox is proud to partner with our suppliers to provide much-needed support with this program. We know this carbon reduction journey will require much more partnership, collaboration and support with our suppliers as well as industry peers. Our hope, as we continue this critical work, is for all of industry and society to reduce carbon and fight climate change together.