“We should all be intrigued by Scope 3 because if we’re just focused on Scopes 1 and 2 – which are in your direct control – we won’t solve problems that need to be solved.” – Kevin Rabinovitch, Mars Global Vice President of Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are categorized into three groups, or Scopes, by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the GHG Protocol.
- Scope 1 includes GHGs from sources directly in a company’s control, including emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces and onsite vehicles.
- Scope 2 consists of indirect GHGs from the purchase of electricity, steam, cooling and heating of the company’s facilities.
- Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions across a company’s value chain, from purchased goods and services to transportation and distribution (up and downstream) to how products are used after they’re sold.
Why measure Scope 3 emissions?
As the famous quote goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” So, for companies committed to achieving net zero emissions, it’s crucial to understand their entire value chain’s impact on climate change – then identify measures to reach the net-zero goal.
What is Mars doing about Scope 3 emissions?
Last October, we announced our science-based, climate target to achieve net zero GHG emissions across our full value chain by 2050 – that includes all Scope 3 emissions from agriculture activities and suppliers from all our brands. For a company that has historically had a carbon footprint the size of Panama, it’s a huge commitment.
Kevin Rabinovitch, our Global Vice President of Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer, recently joined the Greenbiz 350 podcast to discuss working with suppliers to set Scope 3 goals, balancing short-term and long-term goals, and how companies can balance profit objectives with purpose objectives.
Kevin explains that our full chain stretches from remote fields around the world, takes in manufacturing and transport and continues through to product consumption – from food and confectionary products to nutritional supplements to pet care goods and services. In fact, about 95% of our entire footprint is in Scope 3, so we knew we couldn’t achieve our objectives without engaging our suppliers.
Toward that end, we joined forces with several peers to establish the Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition, essentially a consulting bootcamp for suppliers to help them measure their GHG inventory, understand what drives their emissions, set targets and develop a gameplan. As Kevin points out, almost every manufacturer shares suppliers with their competitors, so it’s more efficient and effective for manufacturers to ask suppliers to meet the same targets.
“In the end, it’s really supplier performance that matters,” Kevin says. “We’re focused on suppliers that drive down emissions in their own business and upstream from them. And we’ll increasingly reward that as a value factor in working with us.”
We hope our approach to this global issue will offer insights for other large multinationals as they grapple with the same challenge. “We can modify our own supply chain and cut our emissions dramatically, but if the rest of the world doesn’t, we’re all still going to experience the effects of climate change,” Kevin says. “So no level of adoption (across the supply chain) is too high for working toward net zero and science-based targets. Anything we can do that pushes more companies and suppliers down this path is good.”
Fortunately, as a family-owned, private company, we’re able to take a long-term view – making decisions based on generational impacts, rather than quarterly. But regardless of a company’s public or private status, we don’t view sustainability investments as costs – we see them as investments in a better future.
"There are more people coming into the world … about another couple billion. If you don't grow, you're not creating a vibrant economy for people to come into, to create jobs, to create income, taxes,” says our CEO, Grant F. Reid. “But you have to achieve both growth and net zero. I really feel that (the climate crisis) is at a tipping point now. We've got to change the trajectory. For us, this is really about transforming our supply chain and really, in many ways, about transforming how Mars does business.”