It is well-documented that supply chain is an enormous contributor to global warming, as well as to the plastics and waste crisis, and a range of other negative environmental externalities. Some estimates have put supply chain’s contribution to global carbon emissions as high as 60% when all Scope 3 contributions are factored in. This enormous environmental impact has not gone unnoticed, but to date, most public attention has focused on consumer-facing sectors such as retail, consumer goods and e-commerce.
However, at Aden we believe that increasing supply chain efficiency and decarbonization is a shared responsibility, and is just as much an obligation for B2B facilities companies such as ourselves. As a facility partner to +1,500 clients in the APAC region, and to remote camps from the far reaches of Indonesia to West Africa, Aden is responsible for complex domestic and international supply chains, providing a large volume of equipment, foods, non-perishables, chemicals and other goods to project sites.
On behalf of our clients, and indeed everyone who is impacted by today’s carbon and environmental crises, Aden is taking a hard look at its supply and procurement infrastructure, and setting out a roadmap for greater sustainability, accountability and transparency.
We will be communicating more about this program, and a number of other ESG and sustainability initiatives in the coming months, but in this blog post we will recap some of the key initiatives we have prioritized this year.
1. Reduce overall package waste through “big package” purchasing and biodegradable outer packaging
One of the simplest steps towards supply chain sustainability is simply finding ways to make purchases and ship in larger batches, which can dramatically reduce the overall volume of dry waste such as cardboard and plastics. Aden has begun an audit of its purchasing catalogue, identifying and replacing a wide range of items where big package options are feasible. We are also actively seeking out opportunities to purchase from suppliers who use biodegradables in their outer shell packaging.
2. Doubling our purchase of plant-based meats this year
Plant-based meats require 47-99% less land for production and generate anywhere from 30% to 90% less greenhouse gases on their journey from farm to fork. There is growing interest and innovation in the use of plant based meats, and Aden has committed to making sure that our food service contracts have a robust plant-based component. Even before this year, our IFM teams had partnered with leading companies, chefs and organization in the world of plant-based meats, and even opened a specialized plant-based canteen. This year, Aden IFM has achieved and maintained two times more purchase and integration of PbM into our food service offer, reducing our carbon impact in the food space.
3. Prioritizing direct sourcing from large-scale suppliers
Related to commitment one, Aden’s central distribution centers and teams in APAC and other global regions have committed to prioritizing partnership with large-scale suppliers, instead of more disparate small suppliers. This empowers our team to procure and supply a larger volume of goods with a smaller number of trips and kilometers covered, directly reducing our Scope 3 carbon emissions. In addition, these partnerships also allow us to secure more reliable supplies and control of operational costs, while enabling more traceability and transparency on purchases.
4. Reduce food miles and investing in communities with local purchasing policies
While are prioritize large-scale suppliers (Commitment 3), we are also making room for local purchasing policies on perishable food items like produce. This is an especially important initiative in our remote site projects (we are the IFM partner to +30 remote camps in Indonesia alone) where we are serving hundreds or thousands of camp employees. By establishing local purchase policies in these categories, we are able to build better ties with the local community while reducing the food miles required in procurement for our camps.
The policies outlined here are by no means the final word on our efforts to build a more sustainable supply chain in Asia and worldwide. Rather, it is an indicator of checkpoint of progress on Aden Group’s and the IFM and Supply Chain teams’ efforts at contributing to net-zero. As we pursue these initiatives, Akila and other Aden Group teams are also exploring a number of initiatives in targeted software and partnerships for procurement, waste management and emissions/GHG tracking, which will enable deeper digitalization and measurement of supply chain sustainability and progress towards net-zero.