Four Key Takeaways from VCI Summit
The November 17 Value Change Initiative Summit was more than just a celebratory launch event, it was a moment to learn and discuss the ‘how’ to making net-zero value chains possible.
From civil society to ambitious corporates, the Value Change Initiative Summit brought together leaders to share their perspectives, challenges and opportunities around driving down Scope 3 emissions.
The 4 key takeaways:
- 1. The biggest climate transformation opportunity lies in your value chain.
Value chains play a critical role in reducing global emissions. While Scope 3 emissions are the most complex to manage, it is encouraging to see the private sector making more ambitious climate commitments and increasingly committing to reducing their Scope 3.
The recently launched Net-Zero Standard from SBTi has made it clear that companies need to nearly fully decarbonize their value chains by 2050 to remain on a 1.5° pathway. It also highlights another critical aspect: we urgently need to define the HOW.
“Our approach to thinking about our greenhouse gas emissions and our target setting has always been to include the entire value chain. Because that's what the climate needs. And whilst it's great that more companies are setting targets and showing ambition, we have a concern it's distracting from a necessary discussion about performance. Accounting is a critical part of being able to have a real conversation about differences in performance, rather than differences in methodologies and reporting” – Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Sustainability VP & Chief Climate Officer, Mars.
- 2. Value chain emissions are a ‘shared & empowering responsibility’.
Scope 3 emissions are, by definition, a shared responsibility, meaning that any change you create also empowers other stakeholders in the value chain to deliver impact. This ripple effect is where transformation can really happen, not only on climate change mitigation but towards the broader Sustainable Development Goals.
“Value Change Interventions, when done with robust safeguarding, stakeholder engagement and design for holistic impact can do more than just cut carbon. They can help suppliers improve their livelihoods, boost soil health and water quality, reduce air pollution, which can translate to improved health outcomes.” Margaret Kim, CEO, Gold Standard
- 3. Collective action can unlock catalytic change.
Companies, civil society and accounting frameworks need to work together to truly understand and overcome the data quality, traceability, transparency and accessibility challenges associated with Scope 3 emissions.
By sharing examples and challenges from the field and testing concepts on the ground we can create consensus and gain clarity on how to deliver and credibly attribute impacts to companies’ footprints or those of their partners, suppliers and customers.
More clarity will in turn allow for better recognition for those taking action, creating the incentive to accelerate the financing of value chain interventions companies need to undertake to achieve emission reductions to the levels of their commitments.
“When we launched the Scope 3 standard from GHG Protocol, we had a good understanding of the accounting challenges, but we saw the standard more as a screening tool. Now that it is being used for target setting and tracking progress towards those targets, a new set of challenges that we did not foresee at the time has been exposed. Challenges I hope the Value Change Initiative will help to tackle.” – Cynthia Cummis, Director Private Sector Climate Mitigation, WRI
- 4. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.
We don’t have time; we must get started now. Yes, we need to make sure that impact is achieved on the ground, that progress can be measured and tracked, and that companies do not overclaim or double count their results. We musn’t become paralysed by the challenges of data scarcity, the evolving reporting landscape, or a changing policy environment. We can make important progress that blazes a trail for those who will no doubt benefit from this pioneering work.
We take this opportunity to thank again all the speakers who have contributed to making this event a success as well as all the participants for enriching the conversations with their questions and all the members of the Value Chain Initiative for the support throughout the years.