Lucozade Ribena Suntory targets net-zero value chain by 2050

Beverage giant Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) has pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its entire multinational value chain by mid-century. 

LRS has already reduced emissions through investments in CHP, recycled materials and distribution centre consolidation

LRS has already reduced emissions through investments in CHP, recycled materials and distribution centre consolidation

In order to support this long-term ambition, LRS has set interim targets to reduce Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 25% and Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from the supply chain by 20% by 2030.

The new targets build on existing science-based 2030 targets pertaining specifically to Suntory Food and Beverage Europe – LRS’s European Arm.

Suntory Food and Beverage Europe has already begun to implement renewable energy solutions, invest in energy efficiency and consolidate facilities and deliveries in a bid to lower its GHG footprint. Now, it will need to forge improved collaboration with supply chain stakeholders to ensure similar projects are underway outside of its direct operations.

LRS’s new 2050 target notably covers downstream parts of the value chain as well as the upstream supply chain.

The firm claims that its ongoing efforts to shift its packaging portfolio will considerably lower the emissions associated with the use and end-of-life phase of its products. Parent firm Suntory has pledged to eliminate all virgin fossil-based plastics from packaging sold in Europe by 2030, replacing them with recycled and bio-based alternatives. To secure adequate supply of these alternative materials, LRS is investing in solutions such as chemical recycling startup Carbios and is supporting the implementation of national deposit-return schemes across its key European markets.

“We see a key role for sustainable packaging in helping us meet our net-zero carbon ambition, knowing that CO2 emissions from recycled plastic (rPET) production are approximately 50% lower than those from manufacturing virgin plastic,” LRS’s director of sustainability and external affairs Michelle Norman said.

Norman added that achieving a net-zero value chain will require “not only commitment and innovation, but also a willingness to challenge accepted wisdom”. Many net-zero targets and strategies do not account for Scope 3 emissions, despite the fact that the average corporation’s indirect emissions are five-and-a-half times greater than those associated with their operations directly.

Regarding offsetting, Norman said that LRS will reduce emissions "to as close to zero as it possibly can" before offsetting, but that offsets will be needed to reach the target. "We're also very excited by the possibilities of in-setting, for example across our blackcurrant supply chain," she added. 

LRS has not yet confirmed how offsetting will fit into its plans to reach its new emissions targets.

Net-zero momentum

In the early days of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, there had been fears that climate action would drop down the business agenda, as the climate strikes movement went digital and as businesses pivoted to adapt to changing demands and regulation.

But a survey of edie readers found that the majority were working for firms that planned to continue investments in low-carbon technologies and initiatives throughout the crisis, and that net-zero remained a top priority on both internal and political agendas.

More recently, The Climate Group polled 100 senior sustainability professionals from businesses committed to one or more of its business initiatives. 97% said their employers were sticking to existing long-term goals around climate change and 96% said that climate action is either just as important, or more important, to their business than it was pre-pandemic.

Aside from LRS, businesses to have announced new net-zero targets or strategies during lockdown include Barratt Developments, British Land, Ford, Tetra Pak, Jacobs and CMS UK. Tetra Pak’s new goals notably cover the entirety of the firm’s value chain also.

Sarah George



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