Boston Consulting Group
Explained byBoston Consulting Group

Selected examples of supply chain decarbonization initiatives

Project Gigaton

Walmart, a multinational retail corporation, aims to reduce a cumulative one billion metric tons of GHGs from its supply chain by 2030 with Project Gigaton, and has reached 75% of its goal as of 2023, part of its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2040. The company is collaborating with suppliers to help them transition to renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, and reduce waste. Walmart is focusing on petitioning commitments from suppliers across a few key areas: energy use, nature, waste, packaging, transportation, and product use and design. Walmart helps suppliers accelerate their climate action by providing support (e.g., reducing barriers for suppliers to enter renewable PPAs), and allows suppliers to set their own standards under the initiative. Additionally, Walmart is collaborating with HSBC to provide early payment on invoices with pricing on the financing linked to suppliers’ climate ambition based on their targets, impact to-date, and CDP score (1).

Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI): Health Systems Task Force

The Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Health Systems Taskforce is a public-private partnership that brings together CEOs and leaders from AstraZeneca, GSK, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Roche, Samsung Biologics, Sanofi, the Karolinska Institute, National Health Service (NHS) England, the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition, UNICEF, the University of Pavia, and the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2022, it published a white paper that commits to taking collective, concrete action to accelerate the decarbonization of healthcare supply chains, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2045. This meant aligning on a set of common supplier standards, including setting near-term science-based targets aligned to the 1.5°C pathway and switching to renewable power.


A coalition of pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, and Novartis, has launched a program to encourage their energy-intensive suppliers to transition to clean electricity. Coordinated by Schneider Electric, the initiative aims to educate suppliers on renewable electricity options and aggregate their demand, enabling them to pool resources and benefit from economies of scale when purchasing renewable energy. The program was developed based on shared climate goals among the pharmaceutical companies, a commitment to reducing emissions, and a collaborative mindset within the pharmaceutical industry. The initiative is expected to make the transition to renewable energy easier for suppliers and help pharmaceutical companies achieve their climate targets more quickly.


Unilever committed to radically reducing the GHG impact of its products and evaluated each product category across raw materials, manufacturing, and logistics and distribution for specific reduction strategies. This involved reducing the GHG impact of products through product redesign (e.g., using less material in the manufacture of products, economizing on packaging volume, reducing the use of aerosols in products, and reducing waste in manufacturing) and distribution (e.g., efficient freezers to keep ice cream cool in transit).