Author: Maureen Bray

Maureen Bray is a Senior Director on the Energy & Climate Practice team for Europe where she leads efforts to help organisations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet climate change goals.

Shaping corporate sustainability, starting with scope 3 (video)

Maureen Bray, Senior Director, Energy & Climate Practice – EMEA, sat down with Sustainability Magazine to highlight 3Degrees’ mission and sustainability work with clients,  with a focus on Scope 3. 

Read more in the November issue of Sustainability Magazine and watch the video below.

Watch the Video

Scope 3 and supply chain transparency: Sustainability LIVE London recap

Earlier this month, climate action luminaries met for another round of Sustainability LIVE London, following its inaugural launch in February. With its enormous, arched single span roof, the Business Design Centre seemed to be an ideal venue for inspiring change and echoed the notion that “the sky’s the limit” when approaching sustainability efforts.

On the first day of Sustainability LIVE London, 3Degrees was joined by executives from MSCI, Ecologi and Oxfam on the panel titled “Scope 3 and ESG: It’s All Our Problem?”.

Over 70 acclaimed corporate leaders from all over the world gathered to share insights on cleaner ways of doing business. Over the two days, speakers and panelists covered an array of topics, including DEI, net zero, ethical investment and finance, scope 3 emission reduction efforts, artificial intelligence, sustainable supply chains, and the B-Corp accreditation.

Ethical and sustainable supplier action

I helped 3Degrees kick off Day 1 of Sustainability LIVE by joining a discussion at the intersection of ESG and scope 3 emissions, along with executives from MSCI, Ecologi and Oxfam. The panel was titled, “Scope 3 and ESG: It’s All Our Problem?”. 

Participants were asked to consider whether individual companies are responsible for ensuring their suppliers are operating ethically and sustainably, or whether it is the responsibility of global governments to enforce this through legislation, among others. Another topic up for debate was the assurance of entities adhering to robust ESG strategies – who is responsible for holding third parties accountable and how can transparency be enforced?

An item that sparked a lot of conversation on the panel was whether we can enforce transparency in the supply chain, EU measures that are in effect currently or will be in effect in the near future that can help ensure this. One such proposal is the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which will require importers of certain carbon-intensive goods to pay a fee on emissions released during the good’s production process, and be able to quantify emissions associated with imported materials. 

With this recent enactment in mind, it will be the responsibility of both companies and suppliers in developing countries to quantify and reduce emissions. For countries where options for reduction remain limited, an all-hands-on-deck approach could be used – including carbon project investment, onsite installation funding and other avenues. 

Adam Elman, Head of Sustainability for Google in EMEA talking about how Google is using their products and services to help people be more sustainable in their day to day.

In addition to CBAM, other legislation will be coming into effect, like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), requiring greater transparency and accountability. Technology will be playing a key part in improving transparency in the supply chain and accessing data for scope 3 reporting. This was made readily apparent by the presence of technology firms like Google, Microsoft, Interos and Supply Shift at Sustainability LIVE.

Stronger scope 3 stance

The event, and panel, made it clear that addressing scope 3 is a top priority for organisations. And in order for a business to get its arms around its entire footprint, they will need to set concrete metrics around it, and include specific options to reduce or offset their scope 3 emissions. Scope 3 emissions present a significant opportunity to innovate and make change. The key word for beginning to tackle scope 3 emissions is measurement, specifically calculating impact and data from third party supply chains through a scope 3 screening. 

After understanding its scope 3 emissions, hot spots and material categories, an organisation can take additional steps to reduce or offset. Companies can perform value chain interventions, carbon insetting, and other directly funded reduction initiatives, like purchasing RECs/EACs to cover its supply chain’s scope 2 emissions. Supplier education and support programs can also go a long way when it comes to taking a strong scope 3 stance. This can include market-specific engagement and opportunities assessments, target setting, and aggregate PPAs.

The need for transparency in sustainability 

A takeaway from the panel was the importance of transparency and the essential role it will play in meeting sustainability goals, and making deep, lasting reductions at scale. I am grateful for the opportunity to have joined the critical dialogue around sustainability topics, and I look forward to seeing what action we can collectively take between now and the next Sustainability LIVE London conference. 

To understand your company’s scope 3 footprint and how your unique sustainability position can feed into the bigger climate action effort, please get in touch today. 

Highlights from a week in London: Net zero, scope 3, and more

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending Reuters’ Responsible Business Europe 2022 in London and representing 3Degrees on a net zero panel discussion and workshop. As it was only my fourth week in my new role overseeing our climate consulting practice in Europe, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with our team members from across North America and Europe, as well as dive into important climate target discussions with so many conference attendees and 3Degrees clients. There is certainly no shortage of questions on this topic!

It was an engaging, whirlwind of a week and, as I walked away from my first in-person event in well over two years, I kept thinking about the many recurring themes that presented themselves both in my conversations with sustainability leaders in organisations across a wide array of sectors, and in the conference sessions that I attended and helped facilitate. Here are a few highlights.

The time is now

“Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.”

This was a refrain I heard over and over again at the event – and is consistent with the counsel we provide our clients on a daily basis. Companies simply cannot afford to sit back and wait any longer to take robust, meaningful climate action, even in the face of imperfect (and sometimes confusing) policies, slowly developing technologies, and gaps in knowledge. Organisations across sectors have woken up and feel the urgency: climate action is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity. Companies are experiencing pressure coming from a variety of directions – from customers, investors, employees and other internal stakeholders, and beyond. They also know they can’t get there alone. I participated in many conversations that were focused on finding the right partners to help these organisations reach their climate goals, whether that’s a net zero target or other interim targets on the path to zero. Truly, we are all in this together and I was inspired by the spirit of collaboration amidst the sense of urgency. 

Scope 3/supply chain emissions: the challenge is real

For organisations that have 2025 or 2030 net zero targets, the clock is obviously ticking – loudly. Many of these companies have made significant progress addressing their scope 1 and 2 emissions, but are now grappling with the reality of a sizable scope 3 footprint and difficult-to-address supply chain emissions. This was a topic of significant conversation at the event and it was clear that even companies that are further along in their climate journey still have many questions about the most effective approach for their business. Two specific themes were:

Supplier engagement: Leaders across a variety of sectors identified this as an ongoing pain point. Challenges include having the appropriate capacity and funding to implement required change, vendor cooperation and collaboration, lack of tools for accurate measurement and reporting, access to renewable energy in certain markets across the globe, and more. Companies are actively seeking tools and support to help them make the necessary progress here. 

Role of carbon credits in a net zero plan: 3Degrees hosted a customer roundtable on this topic the day before the Reuters event kicked off, and I also participated in a workshop and panel discussion on day two of the conference. A few of the key headlines:

  • In the absence of clear guidance with respect to carbon credits and net zero targets, many companies are forging their own path so they can expedite action. The urgency I mentioned earlier is driving organisations to the realization that they simply can’t wait for new reforestation projects or engineered carbon removal solutions and risk inaction at this moment. While removals will play an important long-term role, there’s also a global need for beyond value chain mitigation in the near term. This could include conservation of threatened natural ecosystems and significant methane avoidance and reduction in unregulated sectors. We counsel clients to think about transitioning their carbon credit portfolios over time, increasing the percentage of carbon removals – and the durability or permanence of those solutions – as well as projects in or near their supply chain.
  • There is an increasing interest in the biodiversity and societal impacts of carbon projects and there seems to be a trend towards beginning to look forward to measuring and reporting on biodiversity and other co-benefits from carbon credit projects.
  • Every organisation’s journey will end up looking different depending on their goals, budget, values and preferences. And this is okay – every organisation has a unique role to play in this market.

Carbon accounting technology is increasingly important 

Not surprisingly, with the rise in corporate climate commitments, there is also increased demand for accurate and easy-to-implement technology enabling these companies to more efficiently measure and report on their carbon footprint. As one of the Reuters panelists said, “You can only ask people to make different choices once you have the data.” This holds true for both internal company greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction initiatives, as well as supply chain engagement. Thus, the carbon accounting technology sector is hopping with activity right now and there are a somewhat overwhelming number of options for companies to parse through. 

Overall, my week in London attending the Reuters’ conference, engaging with clients, and connecting with my new colleagues provided the perfect welcome to 3Degrees. More than ever before, I am inspired to hit the ground running, collaborating with organisations that are ready to get serious about setting – and achieving – climate targets. If you’re interested in discussing how we can help, please don’t hesitate to reach out