Blog Posts Business Management

Why sustainable procurement is the starting point for meeting ambitious net zero targets

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

As more and more manufacturers embark on the journey to net zero, procurement has become one of the biggest factors in meeting ambitious carbon reduction targets. There’s a good reason for this: In many sectors, emissions from suppliers have the highest impact on a company’s carbon footprint. In fact, emissions from purchased goods and services (what’s known as scope 3.01 activities) account for up to 80 percent of the overall carbon footprint.

With the corporate world acknowledging that it must unequivocally join the race towards zero emissions, the pressure on procurement leaders is mounting. In many cases, however, they haven’t been part of the discussion around scope 3.01 reduction targets, yet clearly, they have a vital role to play in minimizing their company’s carbon footprint. The emissions for which their teams’ activities are responsible must be reduced — fast.

From a focus on price to a focus on CO2

It is thus no wonder that we are seeing a paradigm shift in procurement, from price attributes to CO2 attributes through initiatives such as:

However, this shift is easier said than done. With different business streams sourcing products from multiple suppliers across the world, getting an overall picture of an organization’s procurement-based carbon footprint is a complex task. Traceability and transparency due to the numerous product information silos is creating a barrier to sustainable procurement. And while there is a limited number of tools coming on to the market to help procurement leaders track and measure emissions in line with corporate sustainability KPIs, there’s now the added challenge of identifying which of the startups or technology firms they should work with. Building a digital ecosystem supporting the procurement function in meeting the challenge of placing CO2 at the same level as € or $ in the sourcing decision making process is the next key focus for the CPO in the coming months.

Driven by science-based targets

The climate crisis facing us all is escalating and demands immediate action. This urgency is predicated on science. The ambitious 1.5C reduction target set out in The Paris Agreement is backed by scientists who suggest that we now only have eight years in which the world must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by half or face irreversible damage to our planet.

The manufacturing sector recognizes that it has a role to play in the global response to this emergency, with 62 percent of manufacturers in a recent survey citing reducing their emission footprint as an environmental priority, second only to reducing waste. The same survey found that 91 percent of organizations aimed to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity and 87 percent aimed to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Without a sustainable approach to procurement, however, it will be impossible to reach these milestones. Procurement teams must get an end-to-end picture of what and from where they source materials, along with sustainability commitments from their suppliers. We’re already seeing some great examples of this. For example, as the CRI report reveals, Unilever’s Responsible Sourcing Policy includes a set of mandatory requirements that all its suppliers must meet in order to do business with the company. And Nike has a target of sourcing 100 percent of its material from vendors that meet sustainability criteria.

4 steps to sustainable procurement

The above examples, however, are among the few shining stars in a manufacturing industry where just 11 percent of sustainability initiatives launched are actively being scaled across the organization.

Procurement leaders can help to transform this picture by taking four steps:

Of course, as with any new approach to business, it’s important to take your people with you. The procurement team needs to be given the skills to better understand any sustainability KPIs embedded in the tender process. This might entail collaborating with engineering and product design teams to understand processes and materials requirements. Can products be redesigned to remove fossil fuel feedstock sources, such as plastics? How can suppliers be brought onboard in this process so that they incorporate environmentally oriented or sustainable materials?

Find out more

Sustainability begins with procurement. At Capgemini Invent, we help our clients gain end-to-end transparency of their procurement operations to inform sustainable decisions that have a direct impact on their journey to net zero.

Accelerate your path to sustainable procurement by:


Florian Sommer

Florian Sommer

I’m a Senior Procurement transformation professional with a passion for sustainability related questions in procurement. Becoming Carbon net Zero as a corporate Starts in procurement!




Olivier Bideault

Olivier Bideault

Head of Procurement Transformation – Capgemini Invent France

Leave a Comment

Get the BPI Web Feed

Using the HTML code below, you can display this Business Process Incubator page content with the current filter and sorting inside your web site for FREE.

Copy/Paste this code in your website html code:

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto" width="100%" height="700">

Customizing your BPI Web Feed

You can click on the Get the BPI Web Feed link on any of our page to create the best possible feed for your site. Here are a few tips to customize your BPI Web Feed.

Customizing the Content Filter
On any page, you can add filter criteria using the MORE FILTERS interface:

Customizing the Content Filter

Customizing the Content Sorting
Clicking on the sorting options will also change the way your BPI Web Feed will be ordered on your site:

Get the BPI Web Feed

Some integration examples