Suncorp New Zealand sets supplier emissions in its sights with pilot of carbon management programme

10 November 2021

Suncorp New Zealand has concluded a trial to help its suppliers become more sustainable, supporting a pilot group of five suppliers to complete a carbon-management programme developed by sustainability consultancy, Oxygen Consulting.

The programme enables small and medium sized businesses to identify their emissions, set science-based aligned targets for reductions, and create an action plan towards achieving their goals. 

Rob Siveter, Sustainability Manager at Suncorp New Zealand, says the company chose five suppliers who represented a range of sectors, sizes and locations, in order to give a view of how the programme could work across it’s supplier base. Each of the suppliers taking part had also indicated an interest in reducing their emissions and contributing to New Zealand’s goal of becoming a net-zero economy by 2050.

The suppliers that completed the programme were:

Siveter says that insurance companies like Suncorp have an extensive value chain spanning the automotive, construction, homewares and technology industries among others.

“Insurers like Suncorp have an enormous opportunity to support and influence the small and medium sized businesses in our network to measure and reduce their carbon emissions, to reach New Zealand’s critical net-zero target, and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis,” Siveter says. 

For Suncorp, the benefits of supporting the suppliers through Oxygen’s programme included both developing a clearer picture of its indirect value-chain (“Scope 3”) emissions, and also better insights into how Suncorp can build out an effective work programme on sustainability.

“As well as helping the five businesses we worked with, this pilot has helped us to learn more about the emissions in our value-chain, and where to target future actions and support.”

Siveter says insights gathered by the company showed many of its suppliers had a strong appetite to reduce their environmental footprint, but often lacked the knowledge or resources to do so.

“In 2019 we surveyed 50 suppliers to evaluate their readiness to meet the sustainability requirements of our new Supplier Code of Practice. Key insights that came out of this were that some suppliers were unsure what they could do to better understand and improve their environmental footprint.” 

Through the Oxygen Consulting programme, the five suppliers in the pilot identified opportunities to reduce their collective Scope 1 and 2 emissions* by almost 60 Tonnes per year by 2025, representing 17.5% of their collective total 2020 baseline emissions.

The completion of the programme means the suppliers have established a Scope 1 and 2 emissions profile (in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Standard); set targets that follow a science-based pathway; identified management activities that will enable them to reduce their emissions or gain greater efficiency; and developed an environmental position statement to communicate and engage stakeholders on their sustainability journey.

Suncorp has also been progressing its own carbon journey, and recently announced a 49% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions compared to its 2018 baseline.

“Suncorp New Zealand is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and this extends to looking at the emissions indirectly associated with our business, including those of our suppliers,” Siveter says. 

“Insurers supporting suppliers on their sustainability journey have the potential to raise awareness and reduce New Zealand’s overall carbon emissions, and it’s exciting for us to lead the way on that this year through the Oxygen programme. We’re now looking at how we can use the insights to improve the support we give, expand the programme to more suppliers, and ultimately identify how we might set meaningful targets in this space.”

Sarah Holden, Director of Oxygen Consulting says its carbon management programme is designed to get businesses thinking about their emissions footprint, begin to understand their environmental impact and get some rigour into their emissions reduction journey.

“It’s great to see large companies like Suncorp working to understand and support their suppliers’ environmental performance. Corporates are increasingly seeking their suppliers to meet environmental requirements, but the onus is often on the supplier to determine what this might look like. For many smaller suppliers, knowing where to start may seem daunting, so our carbon management programme takes away the mystery and gives organisations a robust foundation to start in a credible way, and they can build on it from there. This not only makes climate action more accessible for any business, but also gives Suncorp a benchmark for its supplier environmental performance.”

*Scope 1 are direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by Suncorp (e.g. emissions from manufacturing, burning of diesel fuel in trucks and fleet vehicles).  Scope 2 are indirect emissions from Suncorp’s consumption of purchased electricity or other sources of energy generated by another upstream organisation (e.g. electricity purchased from energy companies). Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.

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Media enquiries: Kimberley Cameron +64 27 208 1268 

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