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Supply chain sustainability revealed: A country comparison

Research reveals that the global response is falling short, and companies need a sustainability strategy.

Overview

Despite the growing risk posed by climate change, research reveals that the global response is falling short and companies need a sustainability strategy.

This year’s supply chain program generated the largest ever data set, representing input from 3,396 companies worldwide. For the first time, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and the Accenture Strategy team has analyzed this data at the national level in 11 key markets to assess:

  • The relative climate risk faced by supply chains

  • The preparedness of these supply chains to manage these risks

  • The propensity of suppliers to work with their customers to reduce risk and seize climate opportunities

The message is clear: suppliers in major economies worldwide are underperforming. They are not responding to high and potentially rising levels of climate exposure, and they are jeopardizing their economic sustainability and that of their customers. However the data also shows great potential exists for collaboration and investment to tackle sustainability challenges.

Key Findings

The company responses to this year’s supply chain program allows a picture to emerge of the climate resilience of supply chains at the national level—and allows those countries to be compared with each other.

  • Japan is the only country with suppliers that are well-equipped to respond to climate risks as they are aware of climate risks and have taken steps to increase the resilience of their supply chains.

  • Suppliers in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany—in that order—are identified as the most sustainable as a result of having undertaken extensive measures despite low climate risk exposure in their supply chains.

  • Suppliers in China, India, Italy and the United States are identified as vulnerable, due to an imbalance between the climate risk exposures they face and steps the suppliers have taken to make their supply chains more resilient.

  • Suppliers in Brazil, Canada and India are identified as inactive. These suppliers are subject to fewer physical, regulatory and consumer-related climate risks and tend to less actively report emission reduction initiatives and mitigate water risks.

Recommendations

Companies across global supply chains need to recognize the risks posed by climate change and water scarcity, and the opportunities presented by the low-carbon economy. They need to develop a strategy to improve performance—both in terms of their own operations and by encouraging their suppliers to become more resilient and efficient.

  • Major buyers need to step up the pressure on their suppliers and be prepared to collaborate with them on sustainability initiatives.

  • Suppliers should recognize the risk reduction, operational efficiencies and market differentiation offered by high sustainability performance.

  • Digital technologies provide the means to turn sustainability performance into competitive advantage.