Measuring carbon in the supply chain
An increasing number of customers have been asking us for the carbon footprint of our
products, also known as Scope 3 emissions. This would enable them to lower the carbon
impacts of their menu choices, and/or give consumers the information they need for more
informed choices. Equally, it would help us make more sustainable sourcing choices and
agree carbon reductions with suppliers. It seems universally agreed that this information
would be useful, however there are huge challenges when it comes to robustly tracking and
delivering progress against these targets.
There is no industry-wide agreed approach for measuring Scope 3 emissions in complex
global food supply chains, yet many organisations want to do this. Working in isolation has
led to a proliferation of different approaches and tools for GHG accounting and reporting.
Suppliers face multiple and complex demands for information in different formats. This
uncoordinated approach isn't driving any progress and the level of resource that's required to
measure and track data has created a very uneven playing field. For this reason, we're
joining two WRAP-facilitated working groups that aim to move the whole industry forward in
Harmonising supplier asks on GHG measurement / reporting Exploring a common database
of embodied GHG data
The purpose of this working group is to use the power of collective action to make faster and
more effective progress towards reducing GHG emissions in food and drink supply chains.
This includes addressing barriers or disincentives to action, such as measurement
inconsistencies and the development of common vision or approach where needed. We look
forward to making progress in this area, so that our customers can get a better
understanding of the carbon impacts of their menus. In the meantime, focusing on what is
within food outlets' gift to influence e.g. menus that reflect seasonal produce, is a guaranteed
way to reduce carbon impacts. We wanted reassurance that we were doing all we could in
this space so we consulted a carbon consultant and he shared our frustration that the food
industry has a global issue on lack of data, and is indeed one of the most challenging areas
for mapping Scope 3 emissions. He affirmed that we are on the right course by contributing
to these working groups to drive progress.
We've also been asked by customers to account for the emissions specifically incurred by
their deliveries, so that they are able to report on the carbon impact of their deliveries. We
can provide emissions per case (an average figure that applies to all our deliveries in a fixed
period) but multi-drop dynamic routing means that routes change on a daily basis, which
means we are unable to ascribe mileage to specific customers. Even routing software can't
retrospectively calculate mileage per customer as there are far too many variables and there
is no agreed methodology for this. You can rest assured however that we are implementing
routing software to make our deliveries as fuel efficient as possible. Read more about this in
our Managing our Impacts section.