As a sustainability leader, Electrolux Group aims to reach net-zero emissions across the value chain by 2050. To make this happen, it is vital our suppliers are on board. Carla De Luca, Sustainable Procurement Senior Program Manager at Electrolux, explains how we’re working with them to improve their environmental performance.
Tell us a bit about your role.
I’m a sustainability leader, focused on responsible and environmentally-conscious business practices and decision making. My role was created four years ago to create a center of excellence within purchasing at Electrolux and I work with our top 300 suppliers to improve their environmental performance.
How does your team work with sustainability?
We have had a responsible sourcing program for over 15 years at Electrolux with some awesome activities. But what we’ve done over the last three years is to strengthen the environmental assessment of our suppliers. This has created a more holistic approach to supplier relationship management and sustainable procurement that ensures we take better informed decisions to make our sustainability goals a reality.
Why is sustainability so important in purchasing?
With supply chain emissions being on average 12 times higher than operational emissions, we recognize that working with suppliers is vital to reducing our overall carbon footprint to reach our 2050 goal.
We have to work closely with both our purchasing teams and our suppliers in order to achieve our sustainability objectives. In fact, I see our supply chain as an extension of our own business and we are ultimately asking our suppliers to work with their business in the same way as we run our own operations. We have committed suppliers, but they sometimes need our help and support to improve their sustainability performance.
How do you promote sustainability among suppliers?
Our initial priority was to get our suppliers to start measuring their carbon footprint and to set their emissions reduction targets. This was a huge task but essential in enabling them to reduce their emissions.
We also worked to change the misconception that sustainability increases cost – to introduce a “value-based approach”. In our supplier training sessions, we raise awareness that sustainability can leverage cost reductions, for example through energy and resource efficiency. Our value-based approach to purchasing takes a much broader perspective on value than just cost, which is good for business and a more sustainable world.
How have our supply chain partners responded?
I’m really proud of our suppliers who I have spent a lot of time engaging with to make sure they are on board with our sustainability approach. We actually receive messages of thanks from suppliers, and they really see Electrolux as a change agent that contributes toward their shift to becoming more sustainable.
What are the success factors that make Electrolux a world leader in sustainable procurement?
Besides our holistic and value-based approach to sustainability, I would say it’s our dedication to supplier engagement and collaboration.
In 2022, we are the only CDP member company in the world with a 100% supplier response rate (among 250+ customers with over 150 suppliers engaged). As companies have an average response rate of 65-70%, we have a clear advantage when we engage with our supply chain.
We also collaborate and share best practice. For example, we are planning to roll out our Green Spirit program, which is our internal initiative to reduce environmental impact in our own operations, to some of our suppliers. At Electrolux, we have so much expertise and experience and we want to help bring our suppliers along on our sustainability journey.