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Net zero supply chains

November 30, 2021 | Posted by Amy

Net zero supply chain logo

Net zero supply chains and why it’s important to get onboard now.

Net zero supply chains go hand in hand with Sustainability – a hot topic. It reminds me of the pre 2008 financial crisis and the carbon neutral drive.

I was an early adopter of going carbon neutral back in 2006, just prior to setting up Red-Inc, but the market was different and certainly more buoyant. At the time it was more about buying green credits and credentials than reducing or decarbonising your company and supply chain. But it was a good first step in the right direction and at the time we knew nothing of the pending conversations around net zero supply chains.

Moving to the present I think we are finally seeing the approach to sustainability move in the right direction. Certainty there will be greenwash, easy wins with carbon credits etc, but some indicators show that people are willing to change in a more authentic way.

Never has Red-Inc been more engaged in conversations about our journey that started back in 2008. Please see recent article here.


Net zero supply chains and what does this mean for the SME’s and smaller companies.

I feel it’s a bit of a crossroads for many companies, but it’s a hard landscape to navigate as a micro or SME. We generally don’t have the resources in terms of cash, staff or expertise for example, to implement projects like some of the bigger cash rich firms do. What then are our options? Should we just ignore it or do the bare minimum and perhaps feel the consequences down the line. Or do we jump right in, adopting new ideas and moving our businesses forward.

Here’s a good example of why standing still may not be the best idea:

Coming out of COP26 we know that by 2030 listed and financial companies will have to be reporting on their net zero plans.

And, whilst that might be an excuse to take your foot off the gas as an SME, we see it another way. Why? Because the large companies have large supply chain, and in them are generally lots of smaller businesses. You know where this is going don’t you. That’s right, at some stage, you end up being a part of one of these chains, even if it’s indirectly.

With the pressure mounting from the top and being passed down, it could be make or break for you. Sadly, at this point, relationships and good will are going to be stretched, because the pressure will be on to ensure the supply chain is clean and decarbonised – at any cost!


Other risks

But this isn’t the only risk, which you may see as unlikely depending in what sector you trade and with whom. There are other risks that may affect you even if the first example doesn’t apply.

It goes back to being progressive and a supplier that works hard with and for your clients. With a clear sustainability plan in place, you’ll be able to show to your customers that they can trust you.  As a reliable supplier they can count on you in the long run. It shows leadership and that in turn is a confidence builder.

So, as companies feel the heat across the boardroom you can be there to pick up new clients. As leave their outdated suppliers that aren’t moving forward or keeping up. Don’t be the one they drop as your customers become more sustainable by seeking out alternative and more environmentally responsible suppliers

As a purpose driven B Corp we are always driving on and pushing the boundaries. People come to us for our solutions because, quite simply, we are a benefit to them in their supply chain. Our reputation is built by clients and consumers that now have a rising expectations for sustainable business.

And yes, some of this won’t matter and the cogs of business will keep turning as always, but the undercurrent is strong and if this tide pulls harder the further out to sea you will go.

New language 

We finish with a small example of change seen in an email we received during the week. This is the present and the future and shows how the world is seeing things differently.

 “I found your details on the B Corp directory. Our company is in the process of getting our B Corp accreditation, and part of that process for us is to change our suppliers to those that are focusing on ESG.

“In the past we  have bought our stationery from Amazon.

 We understand by moving to ESG focused suppliers, we will be paying more, and that’s ok.”

The writing is clear for anyone to see, it is time to get on board or get pulled out to sea.