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EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership

Success Stories: Case Studies in Supply Chain Engagement

Leading companies employ varied methods to engage with their supply chains depending upon sector and company-specific goals. The EPA Center for Corporate Climate Leadership has interviewed leaders in supply chain engagement across a range of industries and developed the following case studies that highlight the leaders’ achievements and successful approaches. These companies have developed and deployed innovative strategies to engage their supply chains, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, understand their shifting supply chain risks, and take advantage of market opportunities. The Center will continue posting case studies to this page as they are finalized.

Clif Bar & Company

Clif Bar & Company (Clif Bar), an organic food and drink company with 33% of the health and lifestyle bar revenue in the United States in 2016, has been tracking greenhouse gas emissions since 2002 and is driven by five bottom lines: sustaining the business, the brands, employees, communities, and the planet. Clif Bar has developed an innovative supply chain engagement approach: the company hires independent energy experts to provide consulting to suppliers at Clif Bar’s expense. The experts help suppliers assess how much electricity they use on Clif Bar’s behalf and develop methods for installing on-site renewable energy or purchasing green power to supply this electricity. Clif Bar’s drive to treat energy as an ingredient and to follow the standards they require of suppliers will be instructive to companies looking to new approaches for supply chain engagement.


Founded in 1911 and one of the largest global tech companies, IBM has been a pioneer in corporate responsibility for over four decades. IBM helped found the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, now called the Responsible Business Alliance, to extend the commitments of individual companies to environmental and social responsibility leadership across the electronics industry’s suppliers by establishing an industry-wide Code of Conduct. Further, in 2010, IBM expanded its supply chain environmental management program to require all suppliers with whom IBM has a direct relationship to establish a management system that addresses their social and environmental responsibilities and to cascade these requirements to their suppliers. IBM believes that sound social and environmental management can help suppliers maintain a competitive edge. IBM wants to help suppliers appreciate that meeting its requirements can contribute to more efficient and sustainable operations and aid in decreasing operational costs and improving margins.

Ford Motor Company

As an auto manufacturer with approximately 11,000 suppliers in over 60 countries, Ford’s supply chain largely influences its environmental and social impacts and values. In 2003, Ford became the first automaker to develop a code of conduct, which outlines policies for employees, contractors, and suppliers on topics such as health and safety, anti-corruption and anti-trust, workplace ethics, asset and data safety, and product quality, and environmental issues. Ford’s environmental supply chain engagement strategy focuses on suppliers with the highest impact on the environment. To create an environment for shared learning, Ford encourages suppliers to communicate openly with Ford and to identify vulnerabilities so that both parties can work to mitigate risks. Though supplier participation in Ford’s initiatives remains voluntary, Ford strongly encourages and culturally fosters participation, and acknowledges the efforts of suppliers pursuing excellence in environmental stewardship.

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