Embracing climate technology with our suppliers

PwC UK’s annual 2022 Sustainability Supplier Forum focused on the role that technology and innovation can play in achieving net zero ambitions.

Setting the scene

The time is now to take decisive and impactful action in order to combat the increasingly concerning climate crisis. The IPCC published their 6th assessment report on mitigation in February 2022. Whilst we know there are going to be significant impacts that we are going to have to deal with, this report highlights that without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C will be beyond our reach, so we must increase the pace and scale of climate action and specifically target halving emissions globally by 2030. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2050 almost half of the reductions will come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase. With the launch of the PwC Future50 report, and the growth in climate tech start-ups, 2022 is the year to consider how we embrace technology to accelerate the transition to net zero.

At PwC, we’ve been carbon neutral since 2007 and made great progress in reducing our carbon footprint and decoupling it from business growth. In September 2020, the PwC global network announced a worldwide science-based commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. A key element of this commitment is advocating net zero beyond our own operations, by supporting our clients and suppliers to reduce their emissions. This is important because as a professional services firm, the emissions from our own operations are relatively low whilst those of our suppliers are many times bigger. That’s why our long standing Supply Chain Sustainability programme is designed to drive down carbon emissions from our supply chain through engagement, collaboration and innovation.

Emma Cox

"We cannot ignore that we have only a small time bound window for action to resolve the climate crisis and we need to come together to do everything we can to solve this collective problem."

Emma Cox, Global Climate Lead, PwC

What we did

Our 2021 supplier forum looked at how to transform business and move from net zero ambition to action. It covered some of the key building blocks of net zero transformation: ambition, strategy and supply chains.

This year, building on the net zero foundations laid down at previous supplier forums, we made a shift from the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of net zero, towards the ‘how’. The forum focused on the growing area of climate technology, and the role that innovative technology can play in decarbonising the economy.

The packed agenda featured a combination of PwC climate specialists and third party speakers, including a showcase from four start-ups featured in the PwC Future50 report and representatives from PwC UK’s Corporate Sustainability team and Sustainability and Climate Change team.

Mangrove sunset

“It’s refreshing to see effective and meaningful actions being taken, and great to have the ideas disseminated through a forum like this”

“It has prompted lots of questions about what my company is doing and whether we can do more and I will investigate further into our net zero policy”

“The main action I will take away from this forum is more inspiration and renewed energy towards tackling the actions needed towards net zero”

“The common drive from so many to address this global issue in so many innovative ways is inspiring”

PwC suppliers attending the 2022 Sustainability Forum

Making a difference

We had over 100 attendees including 63 supplier representatives from different companies across five sectors from travel to marketing. Participants rated the event as highly informative, describing it as ‘stimulating, inspiring and energising’. It was also motivating that participants that took part in our live polls stated that net zero was still a top priority for their business.

Business is clearly listening to calls for climate action, as the results from polls amongst suppliers attending illustrate:

  • Ready for action: 72% of suppliers have already made a net zero public commitment, with a further 17% looking to make a commitment in the next 12 months.
  • Net zero an opportunity for business: Although less than last year, the majority of suppliers that attended see net zero as an opportunity for business. Specifically, 72% think the transition to net zero will have a mostly positive impact on business, while 26% think it will have a combination of both positive and negative impacts.
  • Momentum towards a 1.5 degree world: we saw an upward trend with 47% of suppliers already having set a Science Based Target and a further 19% intending to in the next 12 months.
  • Embracing technology: It is energising to hear that 79% of suppliers that attended are embracing or innovating climate technologies to meet their net zero ambitions.

Climate tech alone is not the panacea, but it is an amplifier and a solution that is emerging rapidly as a critical mechanism to help bend the emissions curve down and get the world back on track towards 1.5°C.

Advocacy is a key element of any net zero commitment so engaging our suppliers and working together to share knowledge around possible solutions is just one way we, at PwC UK, are working to play our part in delivering a net zero economy.

Our Sustainability and Climate Change team work to help clients understand their climate risks and set net zero strategies.

Contact us

Latifa Kapadia

Latifa Kapadia

Director of Sustainability, PwC United Kingdom

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