There are many barriers slowing down the adoption of procuring renewable and green energy for suppliers all over the world, which in turn causes challenges for large companies trying to implement their own sustainability strategies. Some of the largest companies in the world have now formed an alliance in the Clean Energy Procurement Academy (CEPA) to equip companies with the skills and knowledge required to access clean energy.
The partnership has foundational support from Apple, Amazon, Meta, Nike, PepsiCo and REI Co-op and is designed to speed up the integration of clean energy procurement into global supply chains by blending in-person and online training, along with comprehensive educational resources.
The appeal of the Clean Energy Procurement Academy
“Amazon is committed to reaching net zero carbon as part of our Climate Pledge commitment. Part of this work includes helping our global suppliers of Amazon-branded devices transition to clean energy sources,” explains Dr Matteo Kausch who leads Supply Chain Sustainability for Amazon-branded consumer electronics. “Some supply chain partners lack the practical knowledge necessary to effectively procure clean energy in their markets. Many of our suppliers operate in regions with complicated energy markets and evolving regulations that impact their ability to procure clean energy,” he adds.
Kausch feels that a significant part of the appeal of the Academy is it gives suppliers a single and trusted resource to help them on their journey, and gives Amazon an opportunity to collaborate with other industry leading companies. “It frees our resources and those of suppliers from having to continuously research solutions and focus on implementing them instead,” he explains.
This is echoed by partners across the new initiative who are excited by the option of sharing this best practice down through their own supply chains, but also across to other global leaders to magnify all of their efforts to amplify the procurement of green energy. “The Clean Energy Procurement Academy is key to breaking down barriers to clean energy adoption, while also helping us demonstrate demand and advocate for clean energy solutions in essential regions,” adds Noel Kinder the Chief Sustainability Officer at Nike. “Collaborating cross-industry helps us tackle systemic challenges together.”
The CEPA receives backing from the We Mean Business Coalition and aims to provide valuable insights tailored to assist energy customer companies, supply chain partners, and various regions. This collaborative effort between corporations and suppliers is focused on expediting the adoption of clean energy procurement, tackling Scope 3 emissions and driving the global supply chain toward decarbonisation. Apple and Nike initiated the project through the Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) and were joined by Amazon, Meta, PepsiCo and REI Co-op as founding organisations to plan and execute the Clean Energy Procurement Academy.
“To address the climate crisis, we need to act quickly to expand access to clean energy around the world. Businesses can help drive that change,” says Sarah Chandler, Apple’s Vice President of Environment and Supply Chain Innovation. “As we make progress to ensure every Apple product is carbon neutral by 2030, we will continue to work closely with our global suppliers to support their transition to renewable energy.”
The value of cross-sector collaboration
Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI Co-op) has a large retail presence across the USA, with 23 million lifetime members, more than 16,000 employees and 181 locations in 41 states. Evan Evan Scandling is on the Sustainability team at REI Co-op where he focuses on accelerating decarbonisation in product manufacturing to support the co-op’s objective of more than halving its emissions by 2030. He says there is much the united group of industry leaders can achieve as a unified group that is harder to achieve individually, as every aspect of the Academy is strengthened by the cooperative group approach. “We have the resources to develop a world-class training programme both digitally and in-person. We’re able to tap into the clean energy procurement experiences of many different companies from diverse sectors — something we may miss if we stay siloed in our respective sectors,” he adds.
Moving out of silos and sharing expertise is a key part of the business community taking essential climate action, Blair Swedeen, Global Head of Net Zero and Sustainability at Meta explains: “Meta recognises the critical urgency of climate action and has committed to achieving net zero emissions across our value chain in 2030. We know that reaching net zero value chain emissions will not be an easy task, and it will take cross-industry collaboration to raise tides and lift all boats.”
This action from these foundational partners will be demonstrated in different ways through the CEPA. Their mission is to aid the integration of clean energy with the suppliers through training and online educational resources to achieve certain key objectives:
- Boost supply chain companies’ capacity to invest in renewable energy through education and data accessibility.
- Foster synergy among different industries tackling shared challenges in supply chain climate action.
- Encourage supply chain companies to escalate their renewable energy goals and commitments.
- Establish new renewable energy buying communities in pivotal manufacturing regions
Accelerating the adoption of renewable energy
In what is an industry first, the Academy is ultimately striving to accelerate the adoption of clean energy procurement. “In many cases, building supplier knowhow is a critical first step in enabling suppliers to procure clean energy. This is the central role CEPA is looking to play: educating suppliers on how to procure clean energy in their markets,” says Kausch. He does feel this is just the beginning of the initiative, as there is more the Academy can do to help with clean energy procurement once the foundational curriculum is established. “CEPA could develop additional resources in executing on their procurement plans. This could be through the creation of tools and templates that help streamline the procurement process and providing market intelligence,” he continues.
For the foundational partners, the Academy also plays an exciting opportunity to help shape and accelerate the steps towards net-zero. “We are eager to help lead the way toward net-zero. Climate change threatens the prosperity of people and communities, especially those within our business’ agricultural supply chain with threats to biodiversity, temperature extremes, adverse weather events, droughts, coastal flooding and more,” says Roberta Barbieri, VP, Global Sustainability, PepsiCo. “Renewable energy plays an important part in helping us reach our climate goals and in our efforts to drive a positive value chain. With the launch of the Clean Energy Procurement Academy, we’re proud to share PepsiCo’s experience and play a role in shaping training and tools to support organisations looking to embed clean energy into their global supply chains.”
Using company scale to drive change
For all of the partners involved in the CEPA, their procurement and sustainability teams will be acutely aware of the influence Scope 3 emissions have on their net-zero strategies. By taking action as a collaborative group, leveraging both the scale of their buying power and value of their international influence, they call all impact meaningful change faster. “More than 98% of REI’s emissions sit in Scope 3, meaning our path to achieving our science-based target hinges on achieving significant emissions reductions from our manufacturing partners as well as the supply chains of the brands we retail,” explains Scandling. “The
Academy will be a valuable tool to support our manufacturing partners and eventually the brands we retail and their manufacturers.”
This is echoed by Swedeen, who understands how the strength of a larger partnership can increase their collective impact. “We are excited to partner with CEBA and our corporate partners here, so climate action can become as easy as possible for our suppliers and their upstream value chain,” he adds.
The future of the Clean Energy Procurement Academy
The CEPA is still in its infancy, as the foundational partners begin to establish the training and education behind the project, which stands to support procurement operations around the world. There is also great ambition in the project, reflecting the huge potential it has to accelerate the growth of renewable energy purchasing across international supply chains.
“Currently, our participation in the partnership is focused on suppliers of our
Amazon-branded devices and the consumer electronics supply chain,” says Kausch. “However, this is a cross-industry partnership with the ambition to serve suppliers in all manufacturing sectors. As the partnership grows, there is opportunity to further expand participation to suppliers in other industries.”
With such an influential and diverse group of foundational partners, there is a feeling that the spread of expertise and business strength can drive impact and support suppliers deliver change. “We believe collaboration in supply chain decarbonisation is not only helpful but
essential,” says Scandling. “Sharing resources, ideas and risks together is the only way companies and their supply chain partners can reduce emissions at the scale needed. We seek alliances with unlikely partners as we’re convinced a diversity of backgrounds, sectors and capabilities can create new models that lead to powerful results.”