It’s Not Just Beds Burning Anymore, it’s the Planet. What Impact Are Your Efforts To Stop it Having?

Four decades ago, when sustainability was only a concern for the environmental extremists because, thanks to industrialization and burgeoning globalization, we had other disasters to deal with (hunger in Africa, aboriginals being forced from their land [sometimes with fire], the global AIDS epidemic, etc. — see Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire, which took us through 1989 [the year, not the 2014 Taylor Swift release], and the doctor chronicled the next 20 years here in an unofficial Part II). And even though we still have all these disasters, and many more, the planet is in upheaval with every type of natural disaster occurring everywhere all the time. In fact, climate-related disasters have tripled in a mere 7 years. 7 years! We’ve gone from disasters increasing over the span of thousands of years during natural planetary cycles to disasters increasing in the span of mere years due to global warming thanks to the rapid increase in carbon and GHG emissions as a result of 150+ years of industrialization and rapid deforestation and wetland destruction. (Forests and wetlands have historically acted as carbon sinks for all of the carbon released by life, it’s historically primitive actions, and traditional disasters that resulted in the destruction of forests [and when trees die or get burned, all the carbon they captured is released]).

Now it’s true that, on average, even the largest of corporations on its own could only make a small dent when the depth of the problem is considered, but if even ten of the largest corporations in an industry teamed up, they could make quite an impact. (And if the largest retailers teamed up, think Amazon and Walmart and Target, and insisted on a maximum carbon footprint per product — think of the impact that would make.)

For details on the impact that can be made today, you should download the new Ecovadis Network Impact Report, 3rd Ed. which points out that Industry-level collaboration is one of the best levers available to companies looking to build more sustainable value chains and scale their positive impact. EcoVadis Sector Initiatives (SIs) are a highly effective vehicle for this. Six initiatives spanning a diverse range of sectors — from chemical manufacturing to health — are using the EcoVadis solution to share best practices and collectively address sector-specific challenges across their often highly interconnected supply chains. Our data shows that participation in an SI helps buyers improve their supplier engagement and enables rated companies to improve faster than their network peers.

More specifically, companies engaged in a Sector Initiative outperform the [Ecovadis] network average by 5.3 points — not only do companies that try to better than those that don’t, but companies that work with peers on the right objectives do better still.

But this is only one reason you should read the latest Ecovadis Network Impact Report, 3rd Ed.. Another reason is because, if you don’t, you won’t see how Ecovadis, which in 2022 officially became a “purpose-driven” company under French Law, has continued to grow at a rapid rate and how it is starting to make a global impact. When your customers represent 4.8 Trillion in global spend, you are starting to get somewhere. That’s 4.5% of GDP, and if Ecovadis could grow 30% year-over-year for nine years, that 4.5% could become 49%, close to the tipping point where we’d finally start making significant progress. (Which means if we can survive until 2032, we could start making real progress on sustainability and environmental stabilization. Not as fast as we need to, as parts of the planet will literally start burning by then, but Ecovadis and its peers may still save some of us.)

And, even if you don’t think Ecovadis is the answer for you (even though 945 organizations do and the number increases every year), the report will still educate you on the five key pillars of a sustainable procurement platform. And once you understand those pillars, you can assess, monitor, improve, report, and continue the wheel.