Suzano: Net-Zero Manufacturer of the Year

Suzano was named Manufacturer of the Year at edie’s Net-Zero Awards for an ambitious “Commitments to Renewing Life” strategy that doesn’t just seek to reduce emissions, but also remove them from the atmosphere.

Suzano: Net-Zero Manufacturer of the Year

At a glance:
Who: Suzano
What: Ambitous, multi-billion-dollar sustainability strategy
Where: Brazil
When: Ongoing
Why: To align manufacturing processes with nature and climate

The challenge: 

Manufacturing is a carbon-intensive process, but for companies like Suzano – which is the world’s largest hardwood pulp producer – raw materials also run the risk of being linked to deforestation. 

The Solution: 

Suzano’s Commitments to Renewing Life sustainability strategy outlines impressive plans to reduce carbon intensity, ensure a deforestation-free material line, and invest $2.8bn in a fossil-free production plant all while trying to remove 40 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere over a five-year period. 

How it works: 

Suzano is the world’s largest hardwood pulp producer. With a carbon intensity per tonne of production that is roughly one-third of the industry average – according to the Transition Pathway Initiative – the company is investing billions into sustainability efforts. 

In 2020, Suzano introduced the Commitments to Renewing Life, ambitious long-term goals aligned with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Front and centre to Suzano’s Commitments to Renewing Life is an investment plan of $2.8bn to build the world’s largest single-line pulp plant, that will operate fossil-free in normal conditions and provide 180MW of surplus clean energy to Brazil’s grid. 

The company is making one of the largest private sector investments in Brazil at its new Cerrado plant in Mato Grosso do Sul. When this opens in 2024, it will be the world’s largest single-line pulp plant, operating entirely fossil fuel-free under normal conditions, and leveraging biomass gasification from waste materials to replace fossil fuels.  

Producing a surplus of clean energy, the plant will export an average of 180MW to Brazil’s national grid, enough to power a city of 2.3 million monthly. Through advanced technologies, the plant will also minimize raw material consumption, chemical usage, water consumption, and industrial waste. 

To further improve green efficiencies, Suzano is reducing the average distance raw material supply must travel from farm to plant and ensuring ongoing low carbon logistics, by building new railways to improve onward transportation of materials from plant to port. 

Suzano also operates in over 200 municipalities across Brazil, and actively engages with local communities through systematic dialogue, to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes. In 2022 alone, the company held 3,790 dialogues, involving 8,137 participants – equivalent to one every 30 minutes. 

The targets: 

Through the strategy, Suzano has set a goal to deliver net carbon removal of 40 million tons of CO₂e between 2020 and 2025, taking into account the company’s full Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This is similar to the entire annual greenhouse emissions of a country such as Denmark or Tunisia, and the company is already 60% of the way towards achieving this ambition. 

The organisation:

Suzano is the world’s largest hardwood pulp producer.  

Currently, the company’s emissions per ton of production at around one third of the sector average -0.19 tCO2e/t compared to 0.59 tCO2e/t average – which builds toward a target of reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 15% per ton of production by 2030 from a 2015 baseline. 

Suzano manages around 13,000 km2 of eucalyptus farms, which provide a deforestation-free source of raw material for its pulp production, meeting global demand for renewable biomaterials and contributing to Suzano’s goal of removing 40 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2025. 

Suzano’s progress against its goals is detailed in comprehensive sustainability reporting, in line with SBTi and TCFD requirements, and disclosures to CDP. 

The judges said: 

“The judges were very impressed by the depth of commitment being demonstrated by Suzano to pivot to a more sustainable business model especially given the impacts of the paper and pulp sector which is desperately in need for sustainable transformation.  

“The ambition being shown in terms of their impressive new plant and how they are working across their sector to create paradigm shift is admirable. Especially given the crucial importance and challenging political context of Brazil.” 

© Faversham House Ltd 2024 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie