Low-carbon business: PwC and Silentnight announce science-based targets as Howden makes net-zero pledge

More than 860 businesses have set approved science-based targets


PwC first publicly announced plans to develop targets verified in line with 1.5C – the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious temperature pathway – last September, announcing a vision to reach net-zero emissions from operations and supply chains by 2030.

Today (8 September), the firm has announced plans to reduce absolute Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 50% by 2030, against a 2019 baseline. Key priorities for reducing emissions will be switching to 100% renewable electricity and improving energy efficiency.

The residual 50% of Scope 1 and Scope 2 will be addressed using carbon offsetting. PwC has said that it will only back projects which result in additional carbon removal, including nature-based climate solutions, and which have proven economic and social benefits for the communities in which they are based.

The SBTi requires businesses to set targets for indirect (Scope 3) emissions if Scope 3 sources account for 40% or more of their annual emissions footprint. Such targets must have boundaries that address two-thirds of total Scope 3 emissions.

As such, PwC has set targets to help 50% of its global purchased goods and services suppliers by emissions to develop their own 1.5C-aligned, SBTi-approved targets by 2025. It has also stated that it will continue to engage with clients in encouraging net-zero target-setting and delivery.

“Like our clients, we need to build trust with our stakeholders and deliver sustained outcomes – and tackling our climate impact is crucial to both,” said PwC’s global chairman Bob Mortiz.

The news from PwC came as Silentnight announced its own commitment to have new climate goals verified by the SBTi within 24 months.

In a statement, the business said it will work to develop new 1.5C-aligned targets covering Scopes 1, 2 and 3. The SBTi is notably in the process of phasing out ‘well-below 2C’ targets, in line with updated climate science from organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Silentnight’s product strategy director Angela Moran said: “We’re proud to be market leaders in sustainable sleep solutions and have put sustainability at the heart of product development for many years, ensuring affordable beds and mattresses that also help to care for the environment are accessible to all.

“Now we’re taking these successes, which include reducing our carbon emissions by almost a half in four years, and making an even bigger commitment by becoming the world’s first sleep brand to set climate science-based targets. We’re already making plans as to how we can work alongside our counterparts across the globe to take on our fair share of the responsibility towards ensuring a future below 1.5C global warming, and we look forward to reporting even greater results as our work within the project progresses.”

Spotlight on Howden

In related news, Scotland-based engineering and manufacturing group Howden has announced new commitments to halve its absolute carbon footprint by 2030 and to become a net-zero business by 2035.

Key focus areas for reducing emissions include self-generating renewable electricity using onsite arrays; procuring renewable electricity and ‘carbon neutral’ fuels; improving energy efficiency; reducing water consumption and reducing waste. On water, the firm has set a target to reduce overall consumption by 30% by 2035. On waste, there is a commitment for at least half of industrial operations to be verified as zero-waste-to-landfill within the same timeframe.

Howden is yet to signal its intention to have its new targets approved by the SBTi.

“When we benchmark our carbon footprint against our peers, it is already comparatively low due to the nature of our business and current good practice,” said Howden’s environmental, health and safety manager David Baird.

“Nevertheless, we can improve this even further and hence we have put robust plans in place to manage our footprint via sourcing of carbon-free energy, renewables onsite and implementation of energy efficiency measures.”

60-minute masterclass: Tackling your Scope 3 emissions on the road to net-zero

edie readers interested in learning how to reduce their organisation’s emissions in line with climate science are encouraged to register for our next free Masterclass webinar on Thursday 23 September. 

Hosted in association with Carbon Intelligence, this session will help you get to grips with Scope 3 emissions – from gathering and analysing your Scope 3 data, to engaging key stakeholders and suppliers in ways that support net-zero carbon commitments.

Click here for a full agenda and to register. 

Sarah George

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