Ball publishes climate transition plan on road to net-zero

The world’s largest aluminium packaging producer, Ball Corporation, has published a new transition plan detailing how it intends to deliver a net-zero emissions value chain by 2050 or sooner.

Ball publishes climate transition plan on road to net-zero

The plan increases Ball Corporation’s interim emissions reduction targets for 2030. It had previously been targeting a 55% reduction in Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, against a 2020 baseline, plus a 16% reduction elsewhere in the value chain (Scope 3) within the same timeframe.

Now, the business is aiming for a 55% reduction in emissions across the entire value chain, stating that the previous goal was aligned with a 2C temperature pathway and the new one is 1.5C-aligned.

“The fight to keep the 1.5C limit alive will be won or lost in this decade; Ball’s focus has been on achieving 55% reductions by 2030 with existing commercial technologies and applying best practice policies,” said the business’ chief sustainability officer Ramon Arratia.

The plan sets out several key focus areas and projects for the coming years to deliver the new target. On operational emissions, Ball will strive to use 75% renewable electricity by 2025 and 100% by 2030, up from 28% in 2022. It is also targeting a 30% improvement in energy efficiency this decade.

Scope 3 emissions notably account for around three-quarters of Ball’s total emissions footprint, so the new plan sets out measures to better engage and support suppliers as they innovate on energy efficiency, clean energy, sustainable sourcing and material efficiency. It notes that many suppliers are already demonstrating climate ambition, stating: “Between 2020 and 2023, almost all our key aluminum beverage and aerosol customers published aggressive net-zero plans, often setting out to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.”

Ball is striving to avoid the use of offsetting to reach its own operational net-zero goal and is encouraging suppliers and customers to take the same approach.

Policy advocacy

Ball has stated that it will only be able to achieve its transition plan in a scenario where national and regional policy frameworks become increasingly enabling of the shift towards a net-zero economy and more circular economy. As such, the plan covers policy advocacy, with new pledges to improve transparency on Ball’s own lobbying and the lobbying of industry bodies of which it is a member. It also covers moves to improve board oversight of climate and policy processes.

A key policy engagement area for Ball is the circular economy. The business stated in 2021 a vision to achieve a a global recycling rate of 90% for beverage cans, bottles and cups, and an average 85% recycled content in those products, as soon as possible. Achieving these milestones will require nations to operate deposit return schemes and to clearly set out plans for scaling recycling infrastructure, Ball has stated. 66% of Ball’s packaging content in 2022 was recycled, up from 63% in 2021.

UK mandate

Large businesses headquartered in the UK and operating in some high-emission sectors are set to be subjected to a mandate on climate transition plan publications in the coming months. The mandate was first announced by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak at COP26 in November 2021. The UK Government subsequently convened a new Transition Plan Task Force to shape a ‘gold standard’ for these plans.

The Task Force has recommended that corporates publish plans this year, then an update in 2026. In 2024 and 2025, information material to the plan should be included in financial reporting. Advice has also been provided on what, exactly, the plans should cover.

Following the publication of the Task Force’s latest advice last month, Sunak is now facing calls from the finance sector to firm up the mandate’s timelines – and to extend it to all large businesses, regardless of sector, given that the UK is off-track to meet its 2050 net-zero target and interim carbon budgets.

Without a national mandate in any other market, and with the UK’s still taking shape, transition planning is in its relative infancy. CDP has stated that less than half a percent of 18,600 companies that disclosed climate information through its platform last year have a credible climate transition plan .

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