Top 10: Sustainable Supply Chains

Top 10: Sustainable Supply Chains
Top 10: Sustainable Supply Chains
The top companies reducing the environmental impact of their supply chains include Patagonia, Interface and Unilever

Scope 3 emissions are a hot topic in sustainability, with increased reporting requirements shining a light on them. Accenture reports that supply chains account for around 60% of carbon emissions globally, with half of all CEOs viewing supply chain responsibility as part of their sustainability strategy.

The bottom line is that reducing Scope 3 emissions is essential if companies want to reach net zero. We’ve taken a look at 10 of the world’s largest companies successfully implementing sustainable supply chain strategy.

10. L’Oréal


Revenue: US$44.4bn
Employees: 90,000
CEO: Nicolas Hieronimus
Founded: 1909

One of the pillars of the L’Oréal For the Future programme is to involve the global beauty group's entire ecosystem.

“L’Oreal is meeting growing demand from consumers by building a more resilient, responsive and sustainable model every day,” says Antoine Vanlaeys Chief Operations Officer. 

“We are proud to actively contribute to the group’s sustainable transformation by innovating every day, from design to manufacturing and product delivery, in an ever more responsible way.”

9. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson

Revenue: US$85.2bn
Employees: 132,000
CEO: Joaquin Duato
Founded: 1886

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been manufacturing in the medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries for well over a century. 

Despite the huge scale of its supply chain, J&J is constantly innovating when it comes to manufacturing and production by investing in people and technology to meet the evolving needs of patients, consumers and customers. 

Quality and safety form the foundations of the organisation’s reputation, with each supply chain associate taking on this responsibility, too.

8. Danone


Revenue: US$27.6bn
Employees: 100,000
CEO: Antoine de Saint-Affrique
Founded: 1919

Responsible sourcing practices are an integral part of world-leading food company Danone’s strategy. It aims to promote decent working conditions, environmentally responsible practices and ethical behaviour as part of its ongoing commitment to developing a sustainable supply chain. For every employee, Danone estimates that there are seven people in its value chain, highlighting the incredible reach that it has.

7. Tesla


Revenue: US$96.8bn
Employees: 126,000
CEO: Elon Musk
Founded: 2003

Sustainability and electric vehicles go hand in hand, and Tesla is the company at the forefront of electrifying transport. The company’s self-assigned purpose is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, which reduces mining and resource intensity in the long run, alongside the company’s production-to-order supply strategy which keeps stock levels under control and reacts quickly to market demands with just-in-time manufacturing.

6. Walmart


Revenue: US$611.3bn
Employees: 2.1 million
CEO: Doug McMillon
Founded: 1962

The world’s biggest retailer is on a mission to reduce its Scope 3 emissions – and is succeeding. CEO Doug McMillon has proudly said that Walmart’s suppliers have avoided, reduced or sequestered one billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from their value chains – more than the annual emissions for Germany – six years ahead of schedule. Not only does this come alongside record high share prices for the company, but it also puts it on track to hit net zero by 2040.

5. Nestlé


Revenue: US$105bn
Employees: 270,000
CEO: Ulf Mark Schneider
Founded: 1866

Nestlé is the world's largest food and beverage company and, as such, has a vast supply chain. 

In recent years the organisation has invested heavily in this space, with key areas of focus including ESG leadership, reducing packaging waste and new business models to improve the end-to-end supply chain. 

Nestlé says its supply chain professionals “play a critical role in ensuring quality and sustainable products reach our customers and consumers”.

The company remains determined to cut carbon emissions and reach net zero by 2050.




Revenue: US$50.6bn
Employees: 219,000
CEO: Jesper Brodin
Founded: 1943

IKEA — the iconic retailer known far and wide for its flatpack furniture and delicious meatballs — can be found in 62 markets, with more than 450 stores attracting around 700 million customer visits every year. 

Inter IKEA Holding is IKEA’s largest retail franchise. It has 379 stores worldwide and champions sustainability, working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its value chain by at least 50% in 2030 compared to 2016 and at least 90% by 2050. It aims to become fully circular by 2030 and for its last-mile delivery services to reach net zero by 2025.

3. Unilever


Revenue: US$59.6bn
Employees: 128,000
CEO: Hein Schumacher
Founded: 1929

With a global presence in 190 countries, Unilever strives to be a “responsible and trusted company that contributes to a more sustainable and equitable world”. 

The multinational consumer goods operation works closely with a vast network of suppliers to responsibly source raw materials, packaging and other components for its products.

In delivering products to retailers, wholesalers and other customers, Unilever uses a combination of its own distribution networks and third-party logistics providers, utilising various transportation modes.

2. Interface


Revenue: US$325.1m
Employees: 4,000
CEO: Laurel Hurd
Founded: 1973

Sustainability is in the DNA of global commercial flooring manufacturer Interface, which has seen a 97% reduction of market-based greenhouse gas emissions at carpet manufacturing sites since 1996.

Headquartered in Georgia, US, Interface has worked with The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) since 2014 to build capacity and understanding among Interface’s suppliers and facilitate collaboration to create a more sustainable supply chain.

“I wanted these workshops to not just be Interface telling our suppliers what to do, but a holistic discussion of the merits of sustainability which would really convince them it’s the right thing to do,” says Barry Townsend, Interface’s European Purchasing Director. 

“Through these tailored workshops, CISL helped us to conceptualise what the issues are and to engender the need amongst our suppliers to respond to them.”

1. Patagonia


Revenue: US$100m
Employees: 3,000
CEO: Ryan Gellert
Founded: 1973

Known for its outdoor clothing, American retailer Patagonia is present in 16 countries. The brand believes in giving back to the Earth as much as it takes, saying  that the best product is useful, versatile, long-lasting, repairable and recyclable.

Sustainability is at the core of Patagonia’s business, as reflected in the company’s mission statement: ‘We’re in business to save our home planet’.

At the core of sustainability in its supply chain is Patagonia’s Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility Program, which exists to measure, reduce and eliminate the environmental impacts of manufacturing Patagonia products and materials. Implemented at supplier facilities all over the world, the programme covers a broad range of impact areas including environmental management systems, chemicals, water use, water emissions, energy use, greenhouse gases, other air emissions and waste.


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