Net-zero for supply chains and ISO 14083

4 Minutes Read

The latest World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting (January 2023) heralded new guidance about supply chain emissions, highlighting the usefulness of the upcoming ISO 14083 standard. Although currently under development, it is expected to be published in March of this year. 

This new ISO 14083 standard will focus on the ‘quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions arising from transport chain operations.’ In other words, your Scope 3 emissions are about to become extremely important. The majority logistics and supply chain emissions fall under the Scope 3 umbrella and will be heavily examined in the ISO 14083 standard. A certification which seeks to give international consistency and structure to emissions reporting in supply chains.


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Why does ISO 14083 matter?

The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent organisation originally founded in 1947 with the goal of creating truly international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. They are, essentially, an internationally recognised way of doing things within a business. 

Since then, ISO certifications have become a clear piece of evidence for businesses to prove they hold themselves to high standards. They also ensure that everyone who has these certificates are doing things in the same way everywhere, creating more ease and transparency. These standards range from information security to climate impacts to product quality.

Read more: 7bridges achieves ISO 27001 certificate

This new ISO standard is interesting because new standards aren’t chosen by ISO themselves. Instead, they respond to requests and need from the industry. That means that the supply chain, transportation and freight industries have been crying out for emissions standardisation and it is finally happening. 

Because new ISO standards usually take three years from proposal to publication, it shows that supply chains have been looking for green guidance for quite some time. Globally, the logistics and transportation industry creates ⅓ of total CO2 emissions. That’s a huge proportion! And consumers are starting to make decisions based on that data. So it’s time for supply chains to start changing and this is one of the ways that the industry is making it happen.


What does ISO 14083 mean for my supply chain?

By itself, ISO 14083 getting published might not mean a lot to you immediately. However, it’s one part of a much, much larger trend that is going to impact all supply chains. New regulations like TCFD (Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure), CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), and the US’s new Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization all show that tracking supply chain emissions is going to be vital in the coming years. 

The way ISO 14083 impacts that is by giving supply chains a way to prove they are on track for a net-zero future. In much the way that any company handling personal or sensitive data should be looking to achieve the ISO 27001 standard, supply chains will begin to be judged by their ability to achieve an ISO 14083 certificate. Particularly as supply chain conversations continue to be brought to the boardroom. 

In addition, for those able to act quickly once the standard is published, it represents a couple of very important opportunities. First, supply chains that can achieve the standard quickly will have a major proof point that can act as a competitive advantage. Studies show that high-spending consumers tend to prefer green delivery options. This also makes achieving the standard a sought-after certification for investors. 

Second, leaders whose supply chains are further from getting to ISO 14083 will find their decarbonisation plans have more weight behind them. It takes something as intangible and nebulous as Scope 3 emissions and gives companies a way to showcase that effort to their customers. This gives more incentive for your board to back supply chain projects. In fact, as part of these plans for lowering emissions, you’ll likely find that there is more room for optimisation before you have to start looking at investing in electric fleets or more sustainable warehouses. Possibly even cutting costs and carbon at the same time. With this new standard, you’ll have one more arrow to your quiver when asking for a bigger supply chain budget this year.

Learn more: The Green Ratio - balancing cost- and carbon-cutting


How can we be ISO 14083 compliant?

While the standard is still under development, it will be difficult to say for certain how to become fully compliant and earn the certificate. However, there are a few things you can do to make future compliance easier:

Don't delay, start now

Early adopters are going to win with this standard. The ones who can become ISO 14083 ready first will be able concretely to say that they are working toward real sustainability and net-zero goals. In a landscape where increasing doubt is being placed on tools like carbon offsets, this can help put customer and investor minds at ease. 

Even if your supply chain is far from ready, taking action now is important. These things can take a long time to come to fruition, but this is not likely to be the last reason you’re given to measure Scope 3 emissions. The regulations mentioned before will just be the beginning as we see the climate crisis impact the world more and more heavily. Acting quickly can help you be both competitive and compliant.

Align to the GLEC Framework

The GLEC Framework was created by the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), headed by the Smart Freight Centre, to create a set of guidelines for how to measure and report on your logistics emissions. As ISO developed the new ISO 14083 standard, it relied heavily on the work done for the GLEC Framework and incorporated much of its guidelines.

Read more: Why we use the GLEC Framework for Scope 3

So, by aligning your supply chain and supply chain data to the GLEC Framework, you’ll be in a much better position to achieve this standard in the near future. In fact, working with organisations that already align to the GLEC Framework to capture your emissions data can save you significant time and energy in the future. 

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The publication of the new ISO 14083 standard is a sure sign that supply chain emissions are now and will continue to be a hot topic. Scope 3 can be a particularly hard area to measure and report on because you don’t always have access to the data you’d need to do it yourself. But there are tools out there that can help, like the Scope 3 emissions layer of 7bridges.

Get in touch to see how we can put control of Scope 3 emissions in your hands.

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