Pearson targets net-zero carbon by 2030

Learning and education company Pearson has built on science-based targets set last year to commit to net-zero emissions in the next decade, as part of a new sustainable business plan published alongside an updated company strategy.

Pearson’s science-based targets include a goal to achieve an absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% in the next 10 years against a 2018 baseline

Pearson’s science-based targets include a goal to achieve an absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% in the next 10 years against a 2018 baseline

Pearson has this week committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030. The company will focus on carbon reductions, namely though the purchase of renewables to help meet this goal and will use offsets in areas it feels “unable” to reduce emissions currently.

The crux of the commitment is built on science-based targets. Last year, Pearson had targets to halve its operational and value chain emissions by 2030 approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Pearson’s science-based targets include a goal to achieve an absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% in the next 10 years against a 2018 baseline. Pearson will also aim to reduce Scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream and downstream transportation and the use and end-of-life of sold products by 50% in the same timeframe.

Those targets were set after the company surpassed its 2020 targets to reduce emissions by 50% against a 2009 baseline and reduce energy use in its buildings on an absolute basis by 50% against a 2013 baseline. Pearson ended up delivering a 62% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 55% reduction in building energy use. In 2019, Pearson procured 97% of its electricity needs from renewable sources.

In addition to the net-zero commitment, the company has this week pledged to ensure that 100% of its paper products will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified by 2025. Currently, 96% of UK-bases purchasing meets this requirement, compared to 64% globally.

All products and packaging will be “widely recycled or covered by a take-back programme” in the same time frame.

The new sustainability commitments are accompanied by critical social pledges.

The company strategy notes that Pearson is “committed to representation at management levels of the company that reflects the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the geographies where we operate”. This ambition has been set for 2025 while a target to source £500m from suppliers who are “diverse accredited” is set for 2030.

Matt Mace



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