Procurement Climate Collaborative

What if your procurement team could do more than just collect data on supply chain Scope 3 emissions?

What if you could work with others to send market signals that meaningfully drive down climate impacts from real products and services?

What if your procurement team could select categories where lower-emissions solutions are procurement-ready (not waiting for distant technical developments), increase your share of business with suppliers who can provide lower-emissions goods and services, and provide a model that encourages others to do so as well?

That’s the purpose of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s Procurement Climate Collaborative – a convening for collective action on supply chain climate focused on combining procurement expertise, technical guidance, implementation practice, and peer learning into powerful momentum for change.

Join us for the kickoff session on May 31st at 1 pm ET. Participants will begin to design plans and objectives for each initiative and learn more about the Collaborative's design and intentions.
  Click here to register.

Focusing in, together, for impact.

The Climate Collaborative’s first-year focus is on four work areas relevant to every organization and critical in climate impact. Working groups will be supported by our Technical Partners  (listed below) and led by SPLC’s experienced staff.

Refrigerant gasses – used in HVAC and refrigeration - are powerful, growing, and overlooked drivers of climate change. Many refrigerant products in widespread use today can trap thousands of times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2. Collectively, refrigerants are also the world’s fastest growing category of greenhouse gasses. As a result, Project Drawdown estimates that reducing and better managing high global warming potential (high-GWP) refrigerants could avoid .5 C of warming by 2100.

While almost every organization operates buildings that rely on cooling and heat pump technology, very few track the carbon equivalent of refrigerants under management (entrained carbon), or their annual rate of leakage. Studies suggest refrigerant emissions could account for up to 50% of Scope 1 emissions for building operators, making the gasses a huge liability for companies and a significant opportunity to make early progress on corporate climate goals.

Finding ways to purchase and use equipment that utilizes lower GWP refrigerants, ensuring that your suppliers do so as well, and establishing performance requirements around repair and replacement is a critical piece of climate strategy for any organization.

A single large-scale data center can consume the equivalent electricity of 50,000 homes. 

The International Energy Agency estimates that in 2021, data centers globally consumed 220-320 TWh of electricity, or around 0.9-1.3% of global final electricity demand. (That figure excludes cryptocurrency mining, which consumed another 100-140 TWh of electricity in 2021.) Though datacenter-related procurement of renewable energy has reduced datacenter consumption of higher GWP fueled-electricity, the IEA estimated in 2020 that datacenter emissions were still equivalent to 0.9% of energy-related GHG emissions (or 0.6% of total GHG emissions). That estimate means that datacenters emit approximately the same amount of greenhouse gases as the airline industry.

No modern organization functions without significant consumption of datacenter services, whether they own their own datacenters, collocate datacenter operations in shared facilities, or purchase datacenter services fully provided by a third party operator.

Addressing energy consumption is only one piece of the larger datacenter sustainability puzzle. On climate alone, equipment production, usage, cooling, longevity, refurbishment and recycling/circularity have enormous impact. And despite significant aggregation around a small number of very large scale providers, there are still millions of noncentralized, nonoptimized datacenter operations. Finding shared solutions to reduce the growing impact of this sector is critical to reducing business impacts now and for decades to come.

Numerous very large purchasers (like Walmart and Apple) and sectoral collaboratives like the pharmaceutical industry’s “Energize” program have developed programs to support their suppliers’ adoption of renewable energy solutions. These programs provide a useful model for direct supply chain collaboration, but it is still challenging to move beyond a single purchaser or limited size initiative with this work.

Many organizations do not have capital to allocate to suppliers – and it is particularly challenging to justify doing so with suppliers from whom they simply purchase finished goods. Many suppliers struggle to understand how to validate actual GHG reductions from their purchase of renewable power. And even where that is addressable, they are challenged to find a credible and acceptable method for allocating renewable power purchases across their customer base.

We'll leverage protocols and guidance developed by experts in energy efficiency, renewable energy, power purchase agreements, and GHG accounting, to enable shared value-creation by purchasers and suppliers that can be applied across multi-sectoral, multi-customer systems. We’ll also identify protocols suppliers can use to preferentially select for renewable energy installations that produce clean energy for supplier use but also provide regenerative agriculture, community electrification, or other positive benefits. 

This group will work at both the system level - supporting development of consistent, aligned data collection strategies and improved GHG measurement methods to enable systematic prioritization of emissions reduction projects, and at the Initiative level - helping the Refrigerants, Datacenter, and Supplier Renewables initiatives develop measurement strategies to document the benefits of their specific emissions reduction strategies,  and supporting procurement teams to develop deeper measurement understanding and efficacy.

Thank you to our technical partners:

Our technical partner organizations bring deep subject matter expertise and draft solutions to each of the 2023 initiatives, so that we can get going in short order on developing meaningful asks of the marketplace for lower emissions solutions.

SPLC staff bring a decade of experience with sustainable procurement guidance development and strategic coaching, to ensure our work products are procurement-aligned.

And Collaborative participants will bring their procurement and sustainability leadership to the table to drive for simpler, stronger, more aligned solutions to take to market.

Together, working groups will define high-bar, near term performance requirements. Then Collaborative members will test, refine and deploy the resulting specifications, to enable procurement-driven emissions reductions that their organizations can measure and claim.

The Procurement Climate Collaborative will be an ongoing program of the SPLC, targeting new areas of focus over time and publishing guidance to the global procurement community following the group’s development, testing, and refinement of successful best practices. The Collaborative's goal is to move beyond simply counting current emissions, and to drive changes with real impact.  Our focus is near-term emissions reductions, supported by meaningful stakeholder engagement, accurate measurement, and effective implementation strategy. 


Join Us!

For the past decade, the SPLC has aligned sustainable procurement strategies across purchasing organizations to drive transformational change. The larger the purchasing volume behind our initiatives, the faster and more meaningful the positive impact we create. And the earlier your organization participates, the sooner you can build, test and implement cutting-edge procurement strategy for actual greenhouse gas reduction.

If you're ready to make meaningful progress on supply chain GHG reduction, use the buttons below to request more information or apply to join the Collaborative. 

More Information Here

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*The Collaborative's Measurement workstream is already launched, with participation from Arizona State University, Burns & McDonnell, CDP, FedEx, Guardian Life, Sustainability Advantage, and UMN/TASA Analytics.

    Thank you so much to the organizations that have provided seed funding for this project.