Kingspan targets net-zero carbon manufacturing by 2030

Building materials and design giant Kingspan has pledged to reach net-zero emissions from its estate of more than 160 manufacturing sites this decade.

Image: Kingspan 

Image: Kingspan 

The commitment is a headline pledge of the firm’s new ‘Planet Passionate’ sustainability report, published today (12 April).

The report reveals that Kingspan reduced emissions from operations by 5.2% in 2020, compared to 2019 levels. This put it on track to meet its previous emissions goals, which covered the period from 2011 to 2020.

Building on this progress, the business will bring emissions relating to manufacturing, the most carbon-intensive part of the business, to net-zero across all Scopes. Kingspan said in a statement that it will bring Scope 1 (direct), Scope 2 (power-related) and Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from manufacturing to as low a level as possible before using offsetting or insetting.

Kingspan has said it will need to “transform” processes across its existing 166 manufacturing sites and support new acquisitions to decarbonise more rapidly. Focus areas will be self-generated renewable energy, supporting suppliers, sourcing zero-emission vehicles, water stewardship and recycled project.

In this latter area, Kingspan has pledged to halve the carbon intensity of primary raw materials by 2030. This will require increased innovation in incorporating recycled content into products such as insulation. The business has emphasised the fact that its products and services are designed to reduce operational energy use and carbon, stating that sales in 2020 will save 164 million tonnes of CO2e over their lifespan.

Kingspan’s chief executive Gene Murtagh said the delivery of the net-zero target will “demand radical thinking and action”.

The firm’s global head of sustainability Bianca Wong added that progress to date “helped build essential knowledge, structures and commitment within the business, which are all critical to achieving the next phase of our decarbonisation journey by 2030”.

While a recent study found that most businesses are not backing net-zero ambitions with science-based targets in the interim, Kingspan set such targets in 2018, in line with the Paris Agreement’s 2C trajectory.

PayPal’s pledge

In related news, PayPal announced an ambition to become a net-zero business by 2040 last week and has also announced new measures on science-based targets.

PayPal’s medium-term goals to support the delivery of net-zero are sourcing 100% renewable electricity for data centres by 2023 and helping three-quarters of suppliers, by spend, to adopt science-based targets by 2025. The company already has its own internal science-based target to reduce operational emissions by 25% by 2025, against a 2019 baseline.

The new commitments come after PayPal joined the Business Ambition for 1.5C initiative from the UN Global Compact and the pre-COP26 Race to Zero campaign. 

PayPal said in a statement that it offset the unavoidable emissions from the business in 2019 and 2020 by investing in clean cookstoves and forest conservation – but that it wants to accelerate carbon reduction across operations and the supply chain.

The statement, penned by chief technology officer Sri Shivananda, states that PayPal will embed the concept of climate justice as it works towards net-zero and continues its social projects, supporting marginalised communities as a priority.

Shivananda wrote: “There are many exciting opportunities ahead of us when it comes to climate innovation. We are beginning to research the intersections of digital financial inclusion and climate resilience to identify fintech solutions that will help us build a climate-neutral and more equitable global economy.”

Sarah George



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