Highland Spring commits to net-zero emissions by 2040

The Highland Spring Group has unveiled an ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, with targets in place to halve emissions by 2030 through soon-to-be-developed science-based targets.

The science-based targets could be unveiled this year

The science-based targets could be unveiled this year

The Scottish water brand will seek to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, with an interim step of becoming carbon neutral by the end of this year. Carbon neutrality differs from net-zero emissions, in the sense that it focuses on the balancing of emissions through offsetting. While net-zero emissions targets do also account for offsets, it largely focuses on carbon reductions first and foremost, to ensure that any activity releases net-zero carbon emissions.

The company will aim to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and will work with Carbon Intelligence to develop an emissions reduction roadmap and set science-based targets.

Additionally, Highland Spring has signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. Almost one in three FTSE100 companies have signed up to the UN's Race to Zero campaign, which sees corporates commit to setting more ambitious targets in line with climate science and to using their reach to encourage climate action across their networks.

Highland Spring Group’s chief commercial officer Simon Oldham said: “We are committed to playing our part in addressing the risks of climate change through reducing our carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment with the aim of becoming carbon neutral in 2021 and net-zero by 2040.”

"Since the company was founded over 40 years ago, environmental sustainability has been at the heart of everything we do. We will continue to work hard on our strategy to ensure we keep reducing our environmental footprint, to create a positive impact for people, society and the planet.”

The Group has already outlined new efforts to reduce emissions. A planned onsite rail freight facility is due to be operational in Blackford next year that will remove 8,000 lorries from the road and contribute towards a CO2 reduction of 3,200 tonnes per annum. Additionally, the Group is aiming to achieve biodiversity net gain by 2025. The company unveiled its first water bottle made with 100% recycled plastic in 2019.

NG Bailey and the SBTi

The announcement was made to mark World Environment Day (5 June). Also unveiling new sustainability commitments to mark the occasion is NG Bailey. The engineering and services firm has used the day to sign up to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

NG Bailey will work with the SBTi to develop new decarbonisation targets that are aligned with the 1.5C pathway envisioned through the Paris Agreement. The company has reduced emissions by 31% since 2018.

NG Bailey’s chief executive David Hurcomb said: “We recognise how important it is for us to manage our direct carbon impacts and we have a strong track record of adopting renewable technologies and delivering carbon reductions.

“We are already working to define the target and expect to be able to share the details within the next year. As well as reducing our carbon impacts, we will also be focusing on a drive to zero waste, zero harm, being a great place to work, and delivering social value.”

Elsewhere, global law firm Linklaters has announced new carbon reduction targets. The company has committed to reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 70% by 2030 and Scope 3 emissions by 50% in the same time period. The targets have been approved by the SBTi.

Linklaters’ global head of sustainability Matt Sparkes said: “Responsibility and sustainability are at the heart of how we operate as a business and it is important that we are accountable to this commitment. Our new science-based targets will underpin our climate ambition and action as we continue to identify new and innovative ways to reduce our emissions, including embracing learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic and shifts in behaviour.

“We believe that these represent leading targets for the sector and reflect our continued leadership in environmental management – both in operations and client service. We know that there is much more to be done on a global scale and we are fully committed to playing our part in reducing the impact of climate change and driving sustainable growth.”

Matt Mace



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