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Council supply chains responsible for 43.7m tonnes of CO2

Council supply chains released 43.7m tonnes of CO2 during the year of 2020/2021 according to data taken by finance technology company Oxygen Finance.

This is over 10% of total UK carbon emissions and is a close equivalent to the total CO2 emissions of countries such as Sweden and Norway. 

It’s believed 96% of these carbon emissions from local councils come from their supply chain, while only 2% comes from the council’s own operations, and another 2% from indirect emissions from purchased energy. 

Despite over 300 councils in the UK declaring a climate emergency and pledging to achieve net zero by 2030, supply chain emissions have risen by 14% over the past years up to 2021. 

These figures are based on published spend data from local authorities across England and a proportion of Wales taken by Oxygen Finance’s Insights Carbon product.

Rebecca Dyer, Carbon Product Manager at Oxygen Finance, said: ‘For the first time, local authorities can see the scale of carbon emissions within their supply chain and take action to deliver the net zero commitments they’ve made.   

‘Until now, the scale of these emissions hasn’t been visible, and as a result authorities have tended to focus efforts on emissions from direct operations and indirect emissions from energy. This data presents local authorities with a real opportunity to work collaboratively with suppliers and other public bodies to act where it will have the greatest impact. 

‘Tackling climate change is about gaining momentum, not perfection, and we hope authorities will be able to use this data to target their resources; working with suppliers to minimise their carbon footprint and build carbon reduction into future procurement plans and contract tenders. Suppliers, in turn, will then understand the importance of reducing their emissions.’

In related news, research found that carbon accounting systems do not consider supply chains, making net-zero targets worthless if not transformed. 

Photo by Mika Baumeister

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