With much of the business world focused on supply chains and sustainability, we cast our eye over 10 of the world’s leading ESG-friendly global supply chains, as well as the unique tech innovations and programmes that contribute towards making each organisation a sustainability leader.
ESG-friendly supply chains: Schneider Electric
Sustainability is a key focus for Schneider Electric, a global leader in energy management and automation solutions. The company follows a comprehensive sustainability strategy called Sustainability Impact, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This strategy focuses on three pillars: Climate, Circular Economy, and Health & Equity.
It is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2025. Measures the company has implemented to cut its carbon footprint include energy efficiency improvements in its operations, the use of renewable energy sources, and investing in carbon offset projects.In 2021 Schneider was named the Best Global Sustainable Supply Chain organisation at the Global Sustainable Supply Chain Summit.
ESG-friendly supply chains: AB InBev
As the world’s biggest brewer, AB InBev is contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals “while building resilient supply chains, productive communities and a healthier environment”. Its global sustainability team reports twice a year to the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors, reviewing topics relating to supply chain security and sustainability.
To strengthen its collaborative approach to sustainable development, the brewer engages in industry associations and organisations such as: the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; the World Economic Forum; the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable; the Climate Group; the Water Resources Group; and Sustainable Food Lab.
ESG-friendly supply chains: J&J
Johnson & Johnson’s ethos is centred on one purpose: to improve the health of humanity. This aim comprises its customers, staff, communities and the environment. As such, its annual Health for Humanity report sheds light on the ways in which the organisation’s operations are geared towards CSR and sustainability.
The company says it invites its suppliers to work alongside it to create a "multiplier effect in communities across the globe". Its Supplier Sustainability Programme drives this effort, helping to drive continuous improvements in reducing environmental impact and improving human rights. By 2025, J&J aims to expand the programme to include all suppliers.
It also introduced its Race to Health Equity initiative – a US$100mn commitment to invest in, and promote, health equity solutions for communities of colour in the United States.
ESG-friendly supply chains: General Motors
GM’s supply chain boasts transparency and focused initiatives on workplace safety and environmentally-friendly innovation. It has a company-wide ethos of “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion”, and is viewed as a leader in automotive sustainability.
The firm’s directors regularly review the company’s ESG performance and progress, ensuring it remains a central focus for global operations – in line with shifting global expectations and regulations.
GM recently announced an innovative new pledge, inviting global suppliers to join the company in a commitment to carbon neutrality, the development of social responsibility programmes, and the implementation of sustainable procurement practices in its supply chain operations.
ESG-friendly supply chains: DHL Group
Deutsche Post DHL Group has taken considerable steps to optimise its supply chain to high ethical and environmental standards. It has centralised sustainability and CSR in its wider business strategy, and claims a 35% efficiency gain across all operations since 2007.
The company’s 13,500-strong fleet of vehicles, equipped with their alternative drive mechanisms, is just one example of progress among many. Across its sites and suppliers, DHL also provides socio-economic support and development initiatives, community action programmes, and delivers training to individuals along the entirety of its supply chain to drive employability and plug skills gaps.
ESG-friendly supply chains: FedEx
As one of the world’s leading logistics providers, FedEx’s environmental responsibilities are a key aspect of the company’s global supply chains. Responsible environmental practices have been embedded across its operations, designed to boost efficiency while simultaneously cutting both waste and emissions – plus, it’s working towards a series of ambitious climate-oriented targets.
Having worked to cut its aircraft emissions by 30% and increased its Express fleet’s efficiency 30% by 2020, FedEx’s sights are now set on its 2030 goals – when it’s thought that 30% of the company’s jet fuel will consist of alternative fuel sources.
Further to this, the logistics provider is also expanding its on-site renewable energy generation initiatives across the world.
ESG-friendly supply chains: Danone
French dairy giant Danone is focused on promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing emissions and is turning to renewable energy sources. The company is set upon using 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. It is also promoting regenerative agriculture and reducing waste.
The company has also pledged to cut methane emissions from its milk supply chain by 30% by 2030, with records showing it has already reduced such emissions by 14% between 2018 and 2020. It expects a further 30% reduction by 2030 – making it the first food company to align targets with the Global Methane Pledge.
Since 2015, Danone has partnered with the non-profit network B Lab to forge a path to certification for multinationals and publicly traded companies, and also to accelerate the growth of the B Corp movement.
ESG-friendly supply chains: Nestlé
Nestlé's stated aim is to deliver nutritious, healthy, sustainable and affordable food and beverage innovation, globally.
The Swiss food and beverage multinational’s Creating Shared Value strategy drives sustainability through partnerships with suppliers and environmental organisations, as well as with other corporations.
Examples of Nestlé's work include its Caring for Water initiative, which promotes water conservation throughout its supply chain, and is also a founding member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative.
The company is also dedicated to aligning its practices with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, disclosing both its involvement and progress against all 17 goals.
ESG-friendly supply chains: Coca-Cola
The world’s largest beverage producer, Coca-Cola relies on a decentralised supply chain that encourages flexibility, agility and innovation.
For instance, its primary European bottler – the Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) – leverages IoT-enabled tech such as intelligent coolers, which track and moderate temperature while measuring vending statistics. HBC has also maximised efficiencies across its value chain, while minimising waste and energy usage.
In 2021 the company won at the Sustainability Leadership Awards, where EcoVadis – the leading platform for environmental, social and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains – awarded Coca-Cola European Partners with Best Supplier Engagement.
ESG-friendly supply chains: Toyota
Since 1992, Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota has been publicly integrating environmental and ethical standards into its business practices, with a focus on driving sustainable development across the world through CSR.
This is reflected in its commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including cutting pollution and waste, improving water quality, and promoting sustainable lifestyles, environmental management projects, and education initiatives.
Toyota has built a globally diverse value chain that protects human rights, labour conditions, and the environment across every region in which it works.