Microsoft joins 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders group
Microsoft has today joined the 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders Group as its latest member alongside other major corporates such as Unilever, BT Group, IKEA, and Ericsson. The purpose of the alliance, launched in 2020, is to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to reduce their emissions and decarbonise their supply chains.
The addition of Microsoft to the 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders Group now results in its members bringing in a combined turnover of USD$490bn. The group also encourages businesses to consider more sustainable, greener practices.
Halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, net-zero by 2050
Members of the 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders Group have said they are committed to encouraging their small and medium-sized suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as half before 2030. They also aim to achieve net-zero by 2050, recording their progress along the way.
However, Johan Falk, Head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative and Lead Author of the 1.5C Business Playbook, says that, in order to achieve this, the organisations should do their best to work together. "We are thrilled to welcome Microsoft to the 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders and to continue to build this initiative, together with other front runners in climate action. "To halve global greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 we need to accelerate next-generation value chains. And that will require radical collaboration”, he said.
"The 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders demonstrate the vital role that multinationals can play in accelerating climate action across their value chain by supporting and encouraging their suppliers to align with 1.5C targets - for instance through the SME Climate Hub”, added Nigel Topping, the UK's high-level climate action champion for COP26.
“Given the amount of suppliers multinational companies have, and with their huge purchasing value, this will be an exciting turning point - and we look forward to seeing exponential growth in corporate net-zero commitments as we work towards COP26”, concluded Topping.
Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer of Microsoft, expressed his excitement at working with other corporate organisations in the Supply Chain Leaders Group as they pursue ways to decarbonise their supply chains. He said: "We look forward to collaborating with other global corporate climate leaders and learning from each other to support our suppliers in taking climate action in line with science. Together we can move quicker".
Gartner: Women in supply chain at five-year high
Women now represent a greater percentage of the supply chain workforce than at any other point in at least the past five years, according to a recent Gartner survey.
The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, conducted by Gartner and Awesome, surveyed 223 supply chain organisations with more than $100m in annual revenue from February through to the end of March 2021.
- Women represent 2% more of supply chain workforce than in 2020
- Women now account for 42% of the workforce
- Number of women in exec-level positions declined by 2%
- Just 15% of top leadership are women (17% in 2020)
- 84% of organisations say COVID-19 did not impact efforts to advance women
It found that women now represent two per cent more of the supply chain workforce than in 2020, accounting for 42%, compared with 39% last year. Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, says the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain was significant, though different to other sectors.
"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," she said. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organisations but increasing their representation in organisations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."
Supply chain still lacks women in executive leadership
But the elephant in the boardroom remains. Though the figures present a positive step towards greater diversity and gender equality at all levels, the number of women in executive level positions declined by two per cent in the past year. Women represent just 15% of the upper echelons of supply chain leadership. Gartner did however record a rise in women at all other levels of leadership.
The vast majority (84%) of organisations surveyed said the outbreak had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women. But more than half (54%) admitted that retaining mid-career women was becoming increasingly difficult. A lack of career opportunities was cited as the biggest challenge to this, while other blamed a lack of development opportunities.
Despite these challenges, companies of all sizes are becoming broadly better at gender diversity. Around a third more said they had a targeted initiative focused on attracting women and advancing their careers.
Stiffler said a push towards measurable and formal initiatives is at least pointing in the right direction: “It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines.”