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Microsoft joins IKEA, Unilever and Nestle in 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders initiative

The tech giant joins multinationals such as IKEA, Ericsson, BT Group, Unilever and Nestle in push to encourage suppliers to embrace greener business practices.

Microsoft sign at the headquarters for the cloud computer and software company, with office building in the background

Microsoft has joined the ranks of major corporates working to decarbonize their supply chains in line with a 1.5 degree Celsius global warming pathway, as the tech giant was unveiled as the latest member of the 1.5 Supply Chain Leaders initiative alongside the likes of IKEA, Ericsson, BT Group, Unilever and Nestle.

Launched last year, the coalition aims to encourage small and medium-size businesses to take action to drive down their emissions, which is critical for larger companies they work with to deliver on their own net-zero targets. The group's SME Climate Hub portal collates free resources and tools curated by Oxford University that support suppliers to switch to more sustainable business practices.  

With the addition of Microsoft, the 1.5 Supply Chain Initiative brings together companies boasting a companied turnover of $490 billion, it said.

Together we can move quicker.

Microsoft chief environment officer Lucas Joppa said the company was keen to collaborate with other multinationals on supply chain decarbonization. "We look forward to collaborating with other global corporate climate leaders and learning from each other to support our suppliers in taking climate action in line with science," he said. "Together we can move quicker."

Companies in the 1.5 Supply Chain Leaders initiative have committed to encouraging their small and medium-sized suppliers to commit to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, achieving net zero by 2050 and disclosing their progress along the way — pledges that will qualify SMEs for entry into the U.N.-backed Race to Zero Campaign.

Johan Falk, head of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative and lead author of the 1.5C Business Playbook, said that halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with global climate goals would require companies to work closely together.

"We are thrilled to welcome Microsoft to the 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders and to continue to build this initiative, together with other front runners in climate action," he said. "To halve global greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, we need to accelerate next generation value chains. And that will require radical collaboration."

Nigel Topping, the U.K.'s high level climate action champion for COP26, also welcomed the announcement, arguing the 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders initiative demonstrated the critical role big corporations could play in accelerating climate action across the economy.

"The 1.5C Supply Chain Leaders demonstrate the vital role that multinationals can play in accelerating climate action across their value chain by supporting and encouraging their suppliers to align with 1.5C targets — for instance through the SME Climate Hub," he said. "Given the amount of suppliers multinational companies have, and with their huge purchasing value, this will be an exciting turning point — and we look forward to seeing exponential growth in corporate net zero commitments as we work towards COP26."

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