Sodexo Ultimatum to Suppliers

Workplace services provider Sodexo Ireland has announced its net zero supply chain engagement strategy, and from January 2030, it will only work with suppliers demonstrating tangible progress through published reporting.

The foodservices and facilities management business works with 400 supply partners in Ireland, spending €70 million annually with them. Sodexo is providing its supply partners with mentoring and considerable support to help them meet the net zero milestones.

Aoife Wycherley, Head of Supply Chain and Head of Food Procurement for Sodexo UK and Ireland, is pictured at Atlantis Seafood in Wexford with John Kenny, Managing Director.

The food services and facilities management business was one of the first organisations to have its Ireland and the UK net zero 2040 target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The organisation has been transparent about its net zero journey and progress, including the fact that just 2% of its emissions sit in the direct control of Sodexo in Ireland and the UK. Of the remaining 98% of its total emissions, 34% sit within its supply chain.

Supply partners were first made aware of the net zero supply chain engagement strategy and roadmap in March 2023, during Sodexo’s Partners with Purpose supplier conference. The organisation had, however, already begun working closely with a number of its suppliers to support them in formalising and documenting expectations to reduce carbon emissions.

Sodexo’s supplier mentoring programme is key to the success of this strategy. Around 70% of Sodexo’s supply chain in Ireland and the UK is made up of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs), most of which cannot be expected to have teams dedicated to sustainability or afford consultancy support.

While Sodexo is being very clear with its supply partners about expectations, the business is also offering considerable support where these organisations are experiencing challenges, to help them complete the work needed to hit the milestones. For example, Sodexo in Ireland and the UK has introduced a two-year grace period for SMEs and VCSEs needing extra help to complete some of the requirements.

The first milestone is being implemented – Sodexo requires suppliers representing 75% of its supply chain emissions to provide a detailed annual Carbon Reduction Plan identifying opportunities for collaboration and areas of improvement, while also reporting on scope 1 and 2 emissions at the minimum.

Initial research conducted by Sodexo in November 2021 revealed that, of 87 suppliers polled, 62% had already made a commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 or sooner, while 20% did not have a Carbon Reduction Plan in place.

Aoife Wycherley, Head of Supply Chain, Sodexo, UK & Ireland said:

“When we made our commitment to net zero by 2040, we committed to delivering on something that is truly meaningful and would have real impact. We have always known that this is not going to be easy, it will be hugely complex and will require an enormous collective effort throughout our entire value chain. We are so proud of the extensive and diverse supply chain we have built – we genuinely work with some incredible businesses, big and small.

“Their response to this challenge and to our offer of mentoring and other support has been positive, and we feel confident that this roadmap will deliver ever more impactful reductions in emissions.”