VIDEO: Decoding Scope 3: Unlocking your supply chain emissions program

April 4, 2024

The Week in Sustainability – April 1–5, 2024

Plumbing fixtures in a hardware store

In this episode of The Week in Sustainability, we chat with Gehry Oatey, manager of ESG data and analytics at leading plumbing manufacturer Oatey. We cover the often-daunting challenges surrounding scope 3 emissions—indirect emissions that occur across a company’s entire value chain, including its suppliers and customers.

Oatey’s experience serves as a valuable roadmap, not just for the plumbing industry, but for any organization looking to navigate scope 3 complexities and create a more sustainable supply chain.

Think of collaboration as a cornerstone

Gathering data from suppliers is a necessary hurdle in scope 3 carbon accounting, but collaboration can be a secret unlock. Companies can leverage existing sustainability programs within their supplier network by working with suppliers. This reduces the burden of data collection and fosters a spirit of shared responsibility and innovation. 

Imagine a scenario where a plumbing manufacturer collaborates with a steel supplier to identify opportunities to reduce emissions during steel production. This teamwork can lead to significant environmental improvements that would take more work to achieve individually.

Embrace curiosity and active listening

Open communication is paramount within a company’s walls as well. By genuinely listening to those with different viewpoints, companies can discover creative solutions and cultivate a sense of shared ownership over sustainability goals. For instance, an engineer might propose a more sustainable material for a product, but collaboration with the procurement team is necessary to ensure its feasibility and cost-effectiveness. When everyone is involved in the conversation, companies can find win-win situations that benefit the environment and the bottom line.

Sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint

Building a sustainable supply chain takes time—be prepared for an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and adaptation. There will be frustrations and setbacks, but significant changes, especially those involving infrastructure, take time. The key is to maintain a long-term perspective and celebrate the milestones.

Sustainability and operationalizing decarbonization are not one-person sports. Sustainability thrives on collaboration, communication, and a willingness to learn from outside parties. By following Oatey’s advice and prioritizing these principles, businesses in any industry can embark on a successful journey toward a more sustainable future. 

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Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Mitch Voss
Mitch Voss isa senior director of sustainability at Sustain.Life with 10+ years of experience in the sustainability space.
Alyssa Rade
Alyssa Rade is the chief sustainability officer at Sustain.Life. She has over ten years of corporate sustainability experience and guides Sustain.Life’s platform features.
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