Our 2030 ambitions are to reduce carbon emissions by 50% and move towards zero waste as a company.
We want to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by cutting energy use by 30% and increasing our renewable electricity use to 100%. As we work towards zero waste, we aim to reach zero non-reusable waste and have 100% of our most water intensive sites reusing water.
For many years, we’ve been working to operate in a more sustainable way, and we continue to take steps to reduce our environmental impact. We’re focusing in particular on reducing energy use, carbon and VOC emissions, waste generation and water intake, while increasing our use of renewable electricity and materials, and water reuse.
Our ambitions are tangible, and will enable us to continue making an important contribution to addressing the sustainability challenges faced by our company, customers and broader society.
We have programs in place and have identified projects that will contribute to achieving our ambitions. These include our Resource Productivity program, which is the main contributor to our current environmental performance and the key enabler for delivering on our ambitions.
Currently, we have more than 500 projects underway at both global and local level which are helping to reduce carbon emissions, VOC, waste and water use. Progress is monitored on a monthly basis, focusing on environmental impact and financial benefits. During 2020, we saved more than €9 million from projects directly related to waste, energy reduction and water reuse.
As recommended by the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), we continue to monitor our risks and opportunities related to climate change. As a company, we’re exposed to physical risks – such as those associated with water scarcity and flooding – and transitional risks. These risks are linked to society’s response to climate change and can lead to changes in technology, market dynamics and regulations.
For the last five years, we’ve implemented an internal carbon price for investment decisions, making our future operations climate adapted, while anticipating the impact of any future carbon pricing. Despite the risks, climate change also presents business opportunities with potential to further strengthen our position.
Our sustainable solutions (see Note 8) can help our customers to reduce carbon emissions and open up business opportunities. For example, we supply the construction industry – responsible for around 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions – with Cool chemistry technology, which combats the urban heat island effect, meaning less energy is needed for cooling.
More than 98% of the carbon emissions in our value chain come from our suppliers and the use of our products by customers. In 2020, we further improved the methodology for determining our Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by better incorporating the formulation of our raw materials into the calculations. More about the methodology can be found in Managing sustainability section. Based on the new methodology, the overall cradle-to-grave carbon footprint was 7% lower than 2019, partly the result of volume and product mix impact due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, our “Planet” ambitions demonstrate our strong climate mitigation plans. We also implement circular principles to prepare our operations for the future while reducing costs.
The importance of water management is recognized across our supply chain. We’ve taken a significant step towards water stewardship by endorsing the UN’s CEO Water Mandate and setting clear goals on water reuse (see Note 6). In 2020, we assessed the water-related risks at our manufacturing sites by using the Aqueduct tool and the WWF Water risk filter, supplied by the World Resource Institute. The results will help us develop water risk management plans accordingly.
We’ve also included a water risk analysis as part of our Supplier Sustainability Balanced Scorecard. In 2020, we analyzed around 200 of our suppliers’ locations using the Aqueduct tool, assessing both water scarcity and flood risks. We ask suppliers with high risk to share their mitigation plans and, at the same time, are working with them to look for solutions to these challenges.
Volatile organic compounds.
The total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused during a defined period of a product’s lifecycle. It is expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents CO2(e) emitted.