Companies focused on meeting their sustainability commitments and driving long-lasting, positive environmental impacts must maximize partnerships across the value chain. According to the World Economic Forum, scope 3 emissions — which are indirect emissions that occur upstream and downstream in a company’s value chain — usually account for more than 70 percent of a business’s carbon footprint, emphasizing the need to engage with value chain partners.
At Flex, we are on a journey to accelerate sustainability across the value chain. To do so, we are focused on bringing a segment of our suppliers on board as part of our 2030 sustainability strategy. We commit that 50 percent of our preferred suppliers will set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets, and 100 percent of preferred suppliers will do the same by 2030.
Reducing emissions across the value chain is a key aspect of our multi-pronged emissions reduction approach to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
Our Supplier Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Program
To support this goal, Flex launched our award-winning Supplier GHG Emissions Reduction Program in context of our broader supplier sustainability program in 2021, partnering with preferred suppliers and CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). We share knowledge, resources, and best practices to help preferred suppliers measure emissions, set emissions reduction targets, and ultimately deepen our relationship in the spirit of accelerating sustainability.
Within the program’s first year in 2021, 29 percent of our preferred suppliers set their own emissions reduction targets. In 2022, we had 35 percent of our preferred suppliers setting their own GHG reduction targets. This accomplishment puts us at 69 percent towards our 2025 goal, and 35 percent towards our 2030 goal.
Flex’s Supplier Sustainability Program
GHG Emissions Reduction & Renewable Energy Program
Supplier Code of Conduct
Supplier sustainability training
New global supplier screening
Supplier assessment (SAQ)
Labor agencies audits
Sustainability auditor training
Working hours program
We aim to leverage our position in the value chain to make a positive impact in our industry through a variety of sustainability programs.
When we launched in 2021, we invited a cohort of preferred suppliers to participate in the program and socialized a comprehensive, phased timeline of communications, training, and one-on-one meetings when needed.
The year-long program includes:
JANUARY – APRIL
We invite and inform preferred suppliers of support and resources available from CDP and Flex.
MAY – AUGUST
In collaboration with CDP, we host a series of webinar trainings in various time zones and languages to help preferred suppliers respond to CDP’s Climate Change Questionnaire, an important step in setting GHG emission reduction targets.
AUGUST – DECEMBER
Based on responses, we discuss results, share feedback, and discuss future opportunities with preferred suppliers.
Overcoming supplier sustainability obstacles and uncertainty
When we invited preferred suppliers to participate in the program, many were at the onset of their sustainability journey, unfamiliar with emissions reduction targets, and hesitant due to the perceived costs and resources required. To reduce barriers to entry, we first worked with CDP to invite our preferred suppliers to respond to the NGO’s Climate Change Questionnaire, a framework for companies to provide environmental information to stakeholders that is considered a rating of a company’s transparency.
We then hosted educational webinars and set up one-on-one sessions when needed to address concerns and obstacles to data disclosure, while also providing the knowledge and tools needed to measure operational emissions data. Our approach involved months of strategic development to build and introduce a program comprised of personalized, multilingual communications and continued education to help our preferred suppliers understand and navigate CDP’s annual climate change disclosure.
Partnership through education and shared goal setting
Through the program, Flex and CDP help suppliers measure and understand their operational emissions baseline, a critical step to setting data-driven goals, while also supporting our climate action efforts.
This has advanced a more integrated, collaborative sustainability strategy that shifts away from a single company, siloed approach. The program also has led to deeper engagement with our preferred suppliers, helping to build relationships, support continuity of supply, and mitigate risk, which directly benefits our customers’ businesses.
Continuing on our supplier sustainability journey
Though our journey to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2040 is ongoing, we have seen promising results from our preferred suppliers participating in the GHG emissions reduction program.
Top Project of the Year
Environment + Energy named the Supplier GHG Emissions Reduction Program Top Project of the Year in 2023.
Supplier Engagement Leader
CDP recognized Flex as a Supplier Engagement Leader in 2021 and 2022.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, we conducted a strategy session and post-disclosure survey with the 2021 cohort to deliberately make progress on this initiative in 2022 before inviting the new, 2022 cohort of preferred suppliers. As a result of our supplier feedback, we increased the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduction trainings during the disclosure cycle.
In 2022, we also launched a renewable energy program to help selected global suppliers learn more about how to set green energy goals and calculate energy consumption. Through our renewable energy program, we support preferred suppliers’ emissions reductions journey through green energy trainings, tools, and technical support for energy disclosures, as well as follow-up sessions year-over-year.
As we continue to partner with CDP and our preferred suppliers to drive progress, we will remain transparent, sharing validated results through our annual sustainability report and other reports and disclosures.
By bringing suppliers along on our sustainability journey, we are not only inciting positive environmental action throughout the value chain but are deepening engagement to continue to more sustainably and reliably deliver products that help improve the world.