British American Tobacco publishes ‘transition plan’ to reach net-zero emissions

British American Tobacco (BAT) has unveiled a detailed “transition” plan to net-zero emissions across its entire value chain, focusing on renewables procurement, scenario analysis and supplier engagement.

British American Tobacco publishes ‘transition plan’ to reach net-zero emissions

BAT has this week published its Low-Carbon Transition Plan, detailing the actions it will need to take in order to create a net-zero value chain by 2050.

The plan utilises scenario analysis from the TCFD recommendations to highlight climate-related opportunities and risks of its low-carbon transition. Scenarios included a “sustainable transition” where governments and the private sector deliver the 1.5C pathway, and an “inaction” pathway of a more than 3C temperature rise.

As such, the transition plan outlines the steps that BAT can take to reach net-zero. The company will source 30% renewable energy in direct energy use by 2025, rising 100% across sites and facilities by 2030. This, in turn, would help deliver carbon-neutral operations by 2030.

Site-specific decarbonisation roadmaps will be created and electric vehicles will be introduced across the fleet. For scope 3 emissions, which account for more than 90% of the company’s emissions, a new partnership approach will be introduced to phase-out coal use, improve sustainable farming and increasing circularity.

With more than 30,000 suppliers globally, BAT calls on firms to meet its Supplier Code of Conduct which outlines minimum expectations for all suppliers, including “specific elements related to environmental impacts and carbon reduction plans”.

However, BAT estimates that more than 70% of its direct material emissions are attributable to just 30 suppliers and that engaging with these firms through systems such as the CDP Supply Chain Programme can help deliver “significant reductions”.

BAT’s chief growth officer, Kingsley Wheaton said: “We’re proud to take this latest step in our sustainability journey. By outlining the measures we will take to live up to our Net Zero targets through our Low-Carbon Transition Plan, we’re demonstrating our continuing commitment to building A Better Tomorrow.

“As a global company, we know minimising impacts across our value chain is the right thing to do, as well as making sound business sense. That is why we have set stretching science-based climate-related targets and continue to embed sustainability across our business.”

Last year, BAT signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero initiative, pledging to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by no later than 2050.

Race to Zero is the largest ever alliance committed to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The campaign represents over 4,000 businesses estimated to cover nearly 25% of global CO2 emissions and more than 50% of GDP.

Prior to that announcement, BAT updated its ambition of becoming carbon neutral across its business by 2030 to now account for its entire value chain by 2050.

Last year, the company announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 for its business activities and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025. At the time, the company noted that Scope 3 emissions accounted for 90% of its total carbon footprint and it was “engaging with [it’s] largest direct product materials suppliers and conducting climate change impact assessments for major tobacco leaf sourcing countries”.

The new commitment aims to also cut emissions across its value chain (Scope 3) to reach net-zero by 2050. BAT has also committed to recycling 30% of the water it uses by 2025 and to having 100% of its manufacturing sites certified by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS).

This includes halving absolute emissions across its value chain by 2030, from a 2020 baseline, and being net-zero across its value chain by 2050 at the latest.

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