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Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

Leveraging Third-party Programs

Organizations can seek third-party programs to bolster their internal supplier outreach programs. Such external programs can maximize efficient use of resources by helping companies request and analyze emissions information from suppliers and then provide suppliers with additional tools to develop their own GHG inventories and manage their GHG emissions.

Build Collaborative Initiatives to Engage Common Suppliers

Creating sector-specific initiatives to collect data from common suppliers and help them manage their emissions can reduce reporting and data management burdens. Suppliers that are shared by many organizations need respond only once, and in a single format, to a request to report their GHG emissions inventories.

For example, in 2009, members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), a group of multinational electronics manufacturers with common sustainability tenets, developed and piloted a common platform for suppliers to report their GHG emissions data. Through the EICC Carbon and Water Reporting System Exit EPA Disclaimer, suppliers common to multiple customers enter their data only once and specify which of their customers are permitted to access the information.

Another example of a collaborative industry initiative that collects information from common suppliers is the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance (EUISSCA) Exit EPA Disclaimer, which is comprised of the 16 largest utilities in the United States. American Electric Power (AEP) nominates its key suppliers to answer EUISSCA's common supplier questionnaire, which contains 36 questions—one of which asks suppliers how they are managing their GHG emissions. On behalf of EUISSCA, a third party compiles and analyzes the information for the participating utilities and makes the information available if suppliers permit it to be shared with their customers.

Leverage Programs that Disseminate Common Questions Across Industry Supply Chains

The Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) Supply Chain initiative Exit EPA Disclaimer is a unique program that sends questionnaires to suppliers as requested by participating organizations in different industry sectors. Organizations can become CDP Supply Chain members and then identify which suppliers across industry sectors should receive the questionnaire. CDP collects the requests from all nominating participants, cross-references the suppliers, accounts for multiple requests from organizations intended for a single supplier, and then ensures that each supplier receives only one questionnaire. Suppliers can specify whether their information can be shared with their requesting customers.

Refer Suppliers to Technical Assistance and Public Recognition Programs

Many suppliers, especially smaller ones, are unaware of programs that could help them reduce emissions; suppliers would benefit from learning about such programs from their customers. Various voluntary EPA programs that address reducing GHG emissions have seen suppliers join after being encouraged to do so by their customers who are also active participants. Programs that provide suppliers with public recognition for their achievements in reducing GHG emissions can spur continuous improvement by promoting healthy competition among organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors based on their environmental performance.

In addition, some local utility rebate programs provide incentives that allow suppliers to recoup some of the upfront costs associated with improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions.

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