Consulting for Sustainability
At valantic, we have focused on the topic of sustainability and sustainability consulting for many years. During this time, we have noticed that sustainability is often reduced to environmental issues. At valantic, however, we regard sustainability as a holistic approach, which, in addition to the area of ecology, also strongly influences social and economic factors. This understanding has a significant impact on our approach to consulting and joint projects with our customers.
From CO2 transparency to supply chain act – valantic's portfolio of services
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Our basic approach is divided into 4 main steps that we complete together with our customers:
We provide clarity regarding the company’s current state with respect to sustainability (e.g. creation of product carbon footprint).
We evaluate the results based on the sustainability triangle – from the social, ecological, and economic perspectives – and develop holistic, meaningful measures that take into account not only ecological benefits, but also economic efficiency.
We evaluate and prioritize the possible measures in close cooperation with the company. A plan for implementation will then be developed jointly.
We actively support our customers in the implementation of the measures developed and we assist them in becoming sustainable.
In our approach, we respond individually to our customers’ needs and we work to find the best way to achieve visions of sustainability.
Sustainability is no longer just a fad where serious commitment is not worthwhile. Especially in the recent past, the topic has taken hold in almost all social and economic areas.
People often have the impression that the consistent pursuit of sustainability goals only results in costs that create an increased economic burden for the company. However, a stakeholder analysis shows that sustainability is already a “must” for companies today. In addition to pricing of non-sustainable behavior (e.g. CO2tax), pressure from all stakeholders is increasing to establish sustainability as part of corporate activity. Investors and politicians are already placing significant demands on companies. At the same time, the growing needs of customers and employees have to be met so that the companies can remain competitive in the future.
Purchase decision of the end customer based on sustainability aspects
Adoption of the climate protection law
Definition of sustainable framework conditions
In addition, in our opinion, sustainability is an elementary component of visionary and forward-looking entrepreneurial thinking that can generate positive synergy effects. New approaches such as recycling can thus save raw materials and acquisition costs, and at the same time reduce disposal costs. In addition, product carbon footprints can be used to locate companies’ hot spots of CO2 development and in the supply chain and thus to increase potential for process optimizations.
Thanks to our many years’ experience in the field of logistics management and our holistic view of the supply chain, we help our customers understand sustainability as an opportunity for making comprehensive optimizations.
Distinction between product carbon footprint and corporate carbon footprint
The term “footprint” is commonly used to measure CO2 emissions. The aim of this image is to show that any CO2-equivalent (other greenhouse gases such as methane are converted into CO2 equivalents) have an impact on nature and leave an “imprint” there.
This term is also used in connection with companies’ emissions. However, a distinction must be made here between the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) and the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF). Both concepts are based on the fact that the company-relevant greenhouse gas emissions are to be measured. However, they differ significantly in terms of collection, scope, and use.
Product Carbon Footprint
Corporate Carbon Footprint
The corporate carbon footprint describes the sum of all CO2 emissions for which the company is directly and indirectly responsible. In this case, the reference variable is the company.
For the sake of simplification, emissions are divided into 3 categories. Scope 1 covers the total direct output of the company, scope 2 the purchased energy, and scope 3 contains upstream and downstream indirect emissions
To counteract climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced over the coming years and decades. Due to this social responsibility, as well as stricter legal requirements, it is crucial for companies to monitor and reduce their emissions. With our three-step process, we ensure that companies meet these legal and societal demands. By creating transparency, reducing emissions, and sustainably transforming the entire company, we lay the foundation for your company to be “climate aligned”.
The first stage involves creating transparency. To do this, the relevant emission categories for your company are determined. It is important to identify the areas and processes that, on one hand, contribute significantly to business success and, on the other hand, cause substantial CO2 emissions. This can range from production, fleet management, and energy supply to transportation and business travel. To quantify these emissions, we rely on existing data sources, such as internal data on energy consumption, waste volumes, or external data like emission factors and transport miles from service providers. In cases of missing data, we assist you in measuring or estimating the emissions using alternative approaches.
Following the consolidation of this data, the total CO2 emissions are calculated, which is also referred to as the climate balance or Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF). Visualizing the climate balance in the form of charts, graphs, or interactive dashboards aids companies and stakeholders in better understanding the impacts of various corporate activities and in taking targeted measures for reduction in the next step. Since the initial calculation of the climate balance often lacks all necessary data, the optimization of the data foundation and calculation must be continuously advanced. A final external validation of the climate balance enhances credibility with stakeholders, as potential risks and weaknesses are identified, ensuring a comprehensible and comparable climate balance.
Following the assessment of the climate balance, the second stage involves the reduction of CO2 emissions. The transparency created allows for the identification of emission hotspots, which are the areas and processes where the most emissions occur. Specific measures for emission reduction are then developed for these areas, such as switching to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, or optimizing transport routes.
In evaluating these measures, their ecological and economic impacts are considered, as well as their feasibility within the company. Based on these evaluated measures, a reduction pathway with concrete targets and a timeline is established. Continuous internal validation of this reduction path ensures that the set goals are met and adjustments are made if necessary. We also offer support for external validation, for example, through the Science-Based Targets initiative, which checks whether the emission reductions meet the demands of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 1.5°C.
To successfully implement the reduction path and ensure continuous transparency, the final step of transformation requires the long-term integration of sustainability into the company’s strategy and culture. This initially involves the implementation of a governance structure in the form of organizational and structural adjustments to anchor the reduction goals in all areas and levels of the company.
Transparent reporting aids in monitoring and communicating progress along the reduction path. The transformation is accompanied by change management, which involves informing employees about planned changes, addressing potential concerns, raising awareness of the importance of sustainability, and imparting the necessary knowledge. For a long-term, successful reduction of CO2 emissions within the company, the automation of emission data collection should be continuously advanced.
By applying valantic’s strategy and utilizing external technologies and software solutions, the collection of emission data can be automated, optimized, and delivered in real-time. In addition to monitoring, the data can be used to perform simulations and create forecasts, making it easier to compare different courses of action and their ecological and economic impacts. These results can then be used for operationalization by incorporating sustainability metrics into procurement processes, sales, and operations planning (S&OP). Only by doing so can emissions be considered an essential factor in company decision-making alongside time, cost, and quality.
Product Carbon Footprint
CO2 reduction through evaluation and optimization of products’ footprint
In addition to pure transparency about the impact of a product on the environment, a PCF control lever can be identified along the entire supply chain and appropriate measures implemented to reduce the effects. If remaining emissions are compensated (e.g. by planting trees), the product can be promoted as a climate-neutral product.
By creating the product carbon footprint and implementing emission-reducing measures, numerous positive effects can be achieved:
Fulfillment of customer needs
Decision criterion and realization of higher prices for end customers and for supplier selection (B2B)
Improvement of the product and company image
Counteract potential future CO2 pricing and other regulations
Corporate Carbon Footprint
Calculate and reduce the CO2 footprint of the entire organization
When recording the corporate carbon footprint, the point of view is different than for the PCF. Instead of a product-related approach, the focus is now on the whole company. Scope 1 and 2 emissions focus on the emissions caused by the company’s own business processes, as well as the energy purchased for them. Scope 3 emissions include all indirect upstream and downstream emissions generated by the company and its products. In line with the procedure for creating the PCF, the company’s climate footprint provides the opportunity to identify control levers and derive suitable measures for reduction. The aim should always be to reduce all avoidable emissions and to compensate for unavoidable emissions. This enables the company to make its contribution to climate protection and to call itself a climate-neutral company.
The benefits of a corporate carbon footprint are, in sum:
Reduction of operational costs (many reduction measures also reduce costs)
Early fulfillment of investor requirements (taxonomy)
Improvement of the corporate image
Organizations face a growing challenge in navigating the burgeoning range of increasingly rigorous regulatory requirements. Fulfilling these ever more comprehensive requirements needs experts who know how to implement them in compliance with the law while also taking a pragmatic approach to doing so. HÖVELER HOLZMANN – a valantic company will help you fulfill the relevant due diligence and compliance obligations, such as CSRD, CBAM, and EU-DR.
The social and sustainable supply chain
For some time now, supply chain act has been discussed in German and European politics. This is a law that is intended to encourage companies to take on more responsibility within their supply chains. It is primarily a question of meeting minimum social standards along the entire supply chain. Ecological aspects are also relevant, provided that they have a direct impact on the living conditions of the local population. The aim of the initiators is to make companies liable for violations of current climate and occupational health and safety laws in the future. This law would therefore have a significant impact on the management of German and European companies and would bring with it numerous new challenges.
The sustainable supply chain as the benchmark for future economic management?
This provocative question doesn’t come from thin air. It is not yet clear what consequences the climate change law will have for companies. However, it seems certain that there will be changes for companies in their duty of care along supply chains. The graphic shows the effects for the respective stages of the supply chain in a transparent manner. In this way, a distinction is made within the law between indirect suppliers and contractual partners. They are subject to different due diligence obligations from the OEM’s point of view. It is therefore clear that in the future greater transparency will be required with regard to the supply chain itself and all the companies involved.
Challenges for companies
However, there are still some outstanding issues regarding the supply chain act. However, since these issues depend largely on legislation, unfortunately companies have only partial control over them, so they represent uncertainty. However, it makes sense to be aware of these uncertainties in advance in order to be able to derive an individual strategy for managing the risks.
The most pressing and open questions we see are:
For companies, it is crucial to address these issues today and to find solutions proactively. We at valantic have been assisting our customers with the further development of their suppliers for years. The combination of this long-standing experience and our expertise in the field of sustainability provides our customers with the optimal basis for complying with the requirements of the supply chain act in their supply chain. As part of audits, we review and evaluate your suppliers against the established criteria and jointly develop appropriate measures for compliance with the guidelines. In addition, together with the supplier, we establish a proactive risk management system that recognizes potential problems at an early stage.
This way, we create transparency in your supply chain step by step and help you comply with the supply chain act.