Over the last 12 months or so, we (Proxima), and I (me), have been fortunate enough to get involved in a large number of conversations on supply chain decarbonization. These might have been at events, in collaboration forums, with solution partners, or one-to-one with procurement and sustainability professionals and their teams.

Whilst it’s important to recognize the world beyond your network, I’d like to think that this has given me a broad perspective on the state of play. As I imagine you would expect, although we are all dealing with the same problem, when it comes to solving it there is quite a range of understanding, intent, budget, resources, backing etc.

Almost everyone knows that there is a very big problem and yet that hasn’t uniformly translated into action. Why not? Just this week I was asked that question at the Amfori Responsible Trade Summit. I came up with five challenges, which had I not been on the spot, could probably have been more succinct. But they do reflect many of the conversations that I have had over the last 12 months;

  1. The lack of a proven playbook to follow is inspiring some and paralyzing others.
  2. The slow progress on common regulations or industry standards is tempering investment.
  3. The fixation with perfect data, which doesn’t exist yet, is distracting from starting on the simple.
  4. Innovation takes time, and many are figuring out how to really collaborate for the first time.
  5. The business case, at a time when there are multiple competing priorities for cash.

There are counters to all the above, and a challenger would look at each of these “constraints” and use it as the launch pad for progress. It’s not easy, but it’s key to making progress when others don’t. But even for challengers, when it comes to decarbonization, you can only get so far in a silo, it’s a team sport and we will get further faster by sharing and working together; not jingoism, fact.

In case you didn’t know, there is quite a lot of collaboration happening out there already. There are plenty of challengers who are working around or taking down the obstacles, plenty of places to share data and ideas or create the more focused collaborations that lead to meaningful demand.

The one I want to shout about today? The Scope 3 Peer Group.

In a world where everything has an acronym, the Scope 3 Peer Group really should call itself the S3PG, but given the important work that it does, we can probably deprioritize that debate, for now. It was founded by Oliver Hurrey, also a key member of the steering group behind the Sustainable Procurement Pledge and surely one of the most influential figures in sustainable procurement today.

The peer group is a collection of around about 1000 procurement and sustainability professionals, from several hundred organizations who buy into this simple mission; “to clarify the path and accelerate progress on carbon emission reduction in value chains – by signposting relevant support & activity; and sharing ideas & best-practice”.

And so why are Proxima involved?

Earlier this year in discussions with the peer group we discovered that we were both focused on creating a scope 3 maturity model, in part, to counter some of those constraints outlined above. In the spirit of collaboration, we decided that we should join forces on it. The result, the Scope 3 Maturity Benchmark.

What have we done?

Over the course of the last few months a Proxima team led by my colleague Jamie Ganderton, has been working alongside a number of well-known organizations such as Sky, Beiersdorf, GSK, Reckitt, Lonza, and more to share experiences and to create a model.

Rather than opinion-based vapourware, this model focuses on what they have done, are doing now, will do next, and aspire to do in the future. Jamie and his team have overlayed wider Proxima experiences and industry insights to create a maturity Benchmark anchored around;

  • Strategy
  • Organization
  • Process
  • People
  • Supplier Engagement
  • Data & Technology
  • Performance Management

What will it be used for?

The model is designed to be used by large organizations to create a benchmark of where they stand, but also to understand what they might do next if they followed the path trodden by others. In this way, it combines both quantitative and qualitative elements to enable a rich picture of where an organization is today and a maturity model to inspire as to what they might do next.

We hope that it provides a practical framework to deliver on that mission statement – to clarify the path and accelerate progress on carbon emission reduction in value chains – by signposting relevant support & activity, and sharing ideas & best-practice.

What happens next and how can you get involved?

The benchmark will be launched amongst the founding organizations in Q4 this year to create a baseline data set and will be available for wider usage as we go into the New Year. If you are interested in getting involved, you can sign up for information here or contact Oliver to enquire about joining the peer group.

What’s in it for Proxima?

Firstly, we like working with the Scope 3 Peer Group, and it is important that companies like Proxima and our peers get involved. Of course, we also want to help businesses with their supply chain decarbonization, providing the capacity and capability they need to help them to take meaningful actions. To find out more about how we can help click here.

But for now, I am super proud to announce that the Scope 3 Peer Group Maturity Benchmark is ready and coming to an organization near you! This activity represents a personal highlight for me in 2022, and I’d like to thank and congratulate everyone who has been involved to this point.

Simon Geale is Executive Vice President, Procurement at Proxima


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