Schneider Electric Is Working to Cut Its Suppliers’ CO2 Emissions By Half

by | Sep 2, 2022

Schneider Electric SE operates worldwide and is best known as an energy management company. Based in France, it not only serves the electric generation business but also addresses commercial and industrial needs — everything from real-time automation to digital software and services. Founded in 1836, it has become a trendsetter concerning sustainability issues. 

To that end, it will reduce CO2 emissions and reach net zero within its operations by 2030 using carbon offsets. It makes the same carbon-neutral pledge — without offsets — by 2040. It is going further, though, and including its supply chain in its carbon neutrality vow; its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions — internal operations and supply chain — will hit net zero by 2050 using carbon offsets. 

As an impact company, we are making a unique difference and have raised the bar with our 2025 sustainability commitments. Our first year’s results are encouraging and set the path towards our 5-year goals,” said Olivier Blum, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer. “Teams from across the company have collectively stepped up, and we are engaged on sustainability on all fronts.”

In 2005, Schneider Electric became one of the first companies to highlight its goals on people, the planet, and profit. In the intervening years, the company has saved its customers 120 million tons of CO2 emissions while giving energy access to 30 million more people. Corporate Knights ranked Schneider Electric as the World’s Most Sustainable Company in their Global 100 ranking in 2021.

The Path Forward?

“With only 10 years to achieve the Paris Agreement and limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, we need to accelerate our sustainability efforts while giving more people access to energy and equal opportunities,” Blum said. How?

reduce CO2 emissions by 800 million tons by 2025 from a 2018 baseline. It has already achieved cuts of 347 million tons since 2018. 

— reduce CO2 emission among its top 1,000 suppliers by 50% by 2026. 

— provide access to green electricity to 100 million people by 2030

— Source 90% of electricity from renewables by 2025 and 100% by 2030. 

— increase energy efficiency in our sites by 15% by 2025 

— achieve 100% recyclable packaging by 2025; no single-use plastics. 

— include 50% green material in its products by 2025 and 

— shift one-third of the corporate vehicle fleet to electric vehicles by 2025. 

— reduce water intensity by 35% in 2025 from a 2017 baseline. Schneider will focus on sites with high water consumption and within severely water-stressed areas. 

Please help us understand how Schneider will enlist its suppliers in the company’s mission.

Schneider is evaluating its top suppliers, which look at those companies’ risks, technologies, and geographic locations — included so that Schneider can incorporate the geopolitical concerns. Its entire network of tier 1 suppliers — partners with whom it directly conducts business — is processed using these standards — an auditing system that started in 2018. That is 52,000 suppliers in all.

Now Schneider wants to expand this program. Between 2021 and 2025, Schneider will conduct 1,000 on-site audits on high-risk suppliers — up from 350. In 2021, the company identified 1,300 ‘high-risk’ suppliers. A third party reviews the findings.

How specifically have you addressed climate change?

— The company has been decarbonizing its operations. In 2021, it had done so at 51 sites. By 2025, it expects to do so at 150 locations. 

— The company wants to run its operations using renewable energy. In 2021 82% of its sites had run on green energy. By 2025, 90% will do so. By 2030, it aims to have all its operations fueled with renewable electricity. 

— The company wants to cut its CO2-related transport emissions. In 2021, it started the effort, with 7.7% of its corporate fleet being electric vehicles. By 2025, it says that 33% of its transport will be fueled using electricity. By 2030, it aims to have 100% of the company’s fleet run on electric vehicles.

“Addressing climate change is the defining issue of our generation, and businesses play a key role. We know that we must go faster to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Schneider Electric is part of the solution thanks to its existing technologies and products to achieve a climate positive impact,” says Xavier Denoly, senior vice president for sustainable development, in the company’s 2021 sustainability paper.  

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