On July 22, Companies for Net Zero held an informative and dynamic workshop on supply chains. Currently a hot button issue, presenters covered issues ranging from tracking raw materials to transparency and taking a proactive approach. Scott Donachie, CEO of Companies for Net Zero started the session by introducing himself and company and stressed the importance of curating relationships between leaders for sustainable and actionable goals. He said he felt humble to be around some of the hardest working people in this movement of how to repurpose waste. The goal with these events is to drive relationships forward and educate people in North America.

After thanking the sponsors, he introduced the first talk on “A Proactive Versus Reactive Approach to Navigating the Journey of Green Supply Chain Certification” presented by Nancy Gillis, CEO, Global Electronics Council. As a mission-driven non-profit organization, they have been focused on power procurement, how it can drive climate mitigation activities, particularly in electronics activities. She said they would love to get feedback on where you set recognition of procurement. People are starting to realize that what you buy really has an effect. She pointed out that you can advance sustainable electronics by leveraging the power of the purchaser. Ensure that you educate the stakeholders, advocate for manufacturing and purchasing practices, and collaborate with public and private sector organizations. Look for the Global Electronics Council’s eco-label called EPEAT on computers/displays, imaging equipment, mobile phones, televisions, servers, photovoltaic modules, and inverters. She talked about what the roles of eco-labels play and said that we need to make sure purchasers actually meet their requirements. A standard label has a set of requirements they need to meet, while eco-labels indicate that the products meet the sustainability requirements, has been verified by a third party, addresses all phases of a circular lifecycle (recycling, remanufacturing/refurbishing, reuse) and address major sustainability impacts.  Circularity really means no waste. Gillis pointed out that there is a huge emphasis on a shift from buying the hardware to the service of the product, propagating a business where the product created a product that can reuse it over and over again. It is advantageous to keep it in the market as long as possible, putting emphasis on refurbishment—think about where we get the parts to fit it into this business model of sustainability. Repairability is tied to security—who is touching it? What is going into the product? What you put into it impacts whether or not it can be broken down. It’s not just taking back products to where can they be broken down to serve another sector’s needs. There is now a whole new overlay of what supply chain have to think about. For example, when we recapture, do we have someone to break down components? Think about the network of teams and what they are collaborating That aligns with what eco-labels are forcing as well. Gillis explained that they are important because producers are getting to know product lifecycles and services, it is a guidance to making changes, it provides understanding and looks at how products are being defined. Ecolabels are reactive to proactive supply chains. After COVID, what happened to supply chains? Global value chains reacted by breaking up the production process across the country—firms specialize in a specific task and do not produce the whole product. The shutdown of factories created a chain reaction, affecting the trade of other countries, even if their manufacturing facilities were operational. Supply chain transparency gains an understanding of weak points and critical factors, including raw material source, essential suppliers, parts and logistics hubs, and transportation paths for finished goods.

Next, Yue Jin Tay, Director of Business Development, Circulor, spoke on “Tracking Critical Raw Materials in Your Supply Chain – Lessons Learned from Volvo/Polestar and Circulor” He introduced Circulor company and their specialization and what spaces they have branched out in, including tracking plastics, coppers, looking at not just manufacturing supply chain, but also recycling. Circulor’s technology platform connects all who are in the supply chain—material traceability and carbon tracking, creating a digital twin and then tracing material through the industrial process (refining, shipping, manufacturing, logistics, final assembly). Tay stressed that information transparency is a circular enabler to the circular economy. There is a need for scaled digital platforms to provide insight in status of the physical battery and key components, provide data transparency and business confidence, prove adherence to principals and standards, and provide both business and policy relevant data. It is an emerging space, supply chains are trying to build their own ecosystems. He talked about Circulor working with Volvo in a strategic partnership that provided Volvo with full transparency by focusing on the ecological footprint and responsible sourcing of every battery, providing permission-based access to relevant battery information for economic operator, possibility for economic operator to enrich existing information with further lifecycle data, overview of value chain participants and milestones across the battery life, proof of adherence to principles and standards. In addition, Polestar is on a mission to drive the shift to sustainability mobility. Supply chain transparency is one big step on the journey. Polestar is in a strategic partnership with Circulor to target blockchain traceability and CO2e tracking by setting a radical scope and ambition to track a wide range of raw material, focusing on those that have identified risks in either environmental and/or human rights. A more accurate CO2e footprint than using generic emission data from databases, this allows Polestar to view the emissions that have been created as part of its production process, per facility as well as those inherited from suppliers through the supply chain.

Finally, “Supply Chain Transparency: Carbon Neutrality, Net Zero Emission, and SDG Goals”, presented by George Sullivan, President and CEO of Net Zero Analysis, covered what is a Scope Re-audit and a carbon foot printing? Scopes 1 and 2 emissions you can control and is energy you purchase. It affects your Scope 3 emissions, which encompasses the company’s supply chain. Scope 3 emissions is your supply chain. Developing environmental declaration schemes are especially important in construction because they represent the lifecycle analysis of a product and follows ISO 14025. During Scope 3 emissions, companies’ selection of suppliers is based on initial cost, new technology, growth, business relationships, cost reduction, quality, industry standards, and senior management reference. Scope 1 and 2 choices that affect Scope 3 are technology, software manufacturers, real estate, employees and community engagement, educational, training partners, and nonprofit engagement. He explained that there are 17 United National Sustainable Development Goals. Step one is reporting your 3rd party audited carbon neutrality and/or net zero emissions plan to the UNFCCC Climate Nuetral Now Intiative, then publish your carbon neutrality and net zero emissions plan publicly on the company website, all employee communications, companies annual report. Supply chain transparency is important. When working with clients, he said that all of the vendors are sent the following notifications – setting the following ESG targets to the UN – carbon neutrality emissions target by 2025, net zero emissions target by 2030, and reporting under the UN FCCC Sustainable Development Goals. Vendors are also required to submit the following ISO reports no later than XX months from this notification – ISO 4001 International Environmental; Management Audit focused on 14065, Carbon Neutrality Plan and Target Date for achieving Carbon Neutrality, Net Zero Emissions Plan and Target Date for achieving Net Zero Emissions, SDG Selection and Reporting, Reporting plan and links to filed reports to the UN for annual carbon neutrality, annual net zero emissions, annual carbon neutrality, annual net zero emissions, SDG reporting and compliance; EPDs ISO 10425 Audit and Lifecycle Analysis Reporting links to reports filed with the UN for: annual carbon neutrality, annual net zero emissions, SDG reporting and compliance.

At the end of the presentations, speakers and attendees had a chance to ask questions and discuss some of the challenges and personal experiences that each party had faced. This dynamic and open Q&A portion of the session was a great way for all to interact and talk about ideas and collaborate on the future of the issue. Scott Donachie closed the workshop by announcing the next virtual meeting, “Renewable Energy Infrastructure Financing” to be held on August 19. We look forward to it!

For more information, visit www.companiesforzerowaste.com.