This decade will see the rise of carbon-neutral supply chains which will impact businesses everywhere – even those far removed from serving tech firms in Silicon Valley. As more Fortune 500 companies join this trend carbon-neutral requirements will be pushed deep down the supply chain to the point that companies many layers deep in the supply chain will need to be carbon-neutral (or forgo significant business opportunities.)
We’ll see the rise of auditing & certification for carbon-neutral suppliers. It won’t be much different than ISO quality standards for manufacturers with one HUGE exception: ISO standards only impacted the manufacturing and operations part of a business – the ISO registered plant only cared about ISO for raw material/part suppliers.
Audits and certifications around carbon-neutral (and zero-emissions) will incorporate the entire value chain. The break room supplier, the janitorial supplier, the payroll processor, the holiday party caterer, the IT providers, their accounting firm, etc. are usually outside the bounds of ISO 9001 like standards, but for carbon-neutral standards they’ll be be considered part of the value chain. As organizations seek to become carbon-neutral they will require their suppliers to be certified as carbon-neutral, which will be a challenge for many established businesses and create opportunity for disruption.
Lastly, Federal Government suppliers, don’t be surprised to see set-asides/preferences for carbon-neutral suppliers emerge by the middle of the decade.
UPDATE FEB 21 2021
Maersk has announced they’ll deploy their first carbon-neutral vessel several years ahead of schedule and that all new vessels will be able to run carbon-neutral. This will be crucial for shippers who want to bring to market carbon-neutral products, because its great to say you got to carbon-neutral in manufacturing but if you don’t get down to zero through the entire value chain it is not really carbon-neutral.