Johnson Matthey targets net-zero by 2040

Chemicals and technology manufacturing giant Johnson Matthey (JM) has set a 2040 net-zero target, with interim science-based targets to cut emissions filed for 2030.

Image: JM

Image: JM

The new net-zero target, announced via JM’s latest Annual Report, covers emissions from all scopes, including key Scope 3 (indirect) sources.

For Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions, JM has proposed a science-based target to deliver a 33% reduction in absolute terms by 2030, against a 2019-20 baseline. Focus areas for delivering against this target include procuring more renewable electricity – there is a pledge to ensure that renewables meet 60% of electricity consumption across the business by 2025, up from 32% last financial year; improving energy efficiency; ensuring that all new facilities are net-zero compatible and investing in man-made technologies which enable the capture and storage of nitrous oxide (N2O).

The science-based target proposal for cutting Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, meanwhile, entails a 20% reduction in emissions from purchased goods and services by 2030, also against a 2019-20 baseline.

JM’s report states: “Upstream Scope 3 emissions represent over half of our total footprint and by far the largest component of this is the raw materials we buy. Reducing this is an important measure of our commitment to sustainability leadership and our vision for a cleaner, healthier world.”

The development of the targets comes after JM signed on to the Business Ambition for 1.5C initiative, spearheaded by a coalition of organisations including the We Mean Business Coalition, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the UN’s programmes on climate change, the environment and sustainable development.

The SBTi will now have to approve JM's proposed targets or make recommendations for changes. 

Broader approach 

JM’s report also details new ambitions for reducing emissions in the sectors that it supplies to globally. In recognition of the fact that the firm produces 40% of the catalysts used to produce hydrogen using fossil fuels globally, there is a commitment to help scale green hydrogen, produced using renewable electricity, and blue hydrogen, produced using natural gas and co-located carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Other innovation focus areas include scaling up chemicals derived from lower-carbon sources than fossil fuel feedstocks and improving battery recycling rates while reducing the use of platinum in fuel cells.

“The transitions we are facing will be our most challenging yet, but they also represent an opportunity to create a fairer, more sustainable future for all,” the JM report summarises. “With our smart people, financial strength and unique technology based on metals chemistry, JM can be the catalyst that enables these shifts, making this sustainable future a reality for all.”

JM’s new climate targets form part of a broader update to the firm’s sustainability strategy. It claims that the updated strategy is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that 95% of company sales and R&D will help deliver positive outcomes against the SDGs by the end of the decade. Goals that the firm has chosen as priority focus areas are SDG 3, Good Health and Wellbeing; SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 12, Responsible Production and Consumption and SDG 13, Climate Action.

In related news, Rolls-Royce this week published a new climate roadmap outlining how it intends to deliver net-zero operations by 2030 and a net-zero value chain by 2050.

Sarah George



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