Thyssenkrupp targets 'climate-neutrality' after setting new science-based targets

German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp has had its new emissions goals approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), shortly after pledging to become climate-neutral by 2050

Thyssenkrupp is one of just four German firms to achieve SBTi approval

Thyssenkrupp is one of just four German firms to achieve SBTi approval

While ‘climate-neutrality’ by 2050 is, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), what is necessary to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C, the SBTi approval is for the company’s medium-term targets, which are aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 2C trajectory.  

These include a target of reducing direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, against a 2018 baseline, and of cutting indirect (Scope 3) emissions by 16% by 2030, against a 2017 baseline. Thyssenkrupp believes its largest source of Scope 3 emissions is customer use of its products and technologies, which include elevators, escalators and stairlifts.

In order to achieve its desired Scope 1 results, Thyssenkrupp is set to make sizeable investments in energy efficiency technologies, carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) arrays and hydrogen across its steel arm. It will also begin to generate and source more renewable energy for its owned and managed facilities.

As for in-use emissions generated at the consumer level, the firm will begin expanding its renewable energy storage offering and make further forays into the e-mobility space.

“Green hydrogen plays a major role in our strategy,” Thussenkrupp’s chief technology officer Dr Reinhold Achatz said. “The production of sufficient quantities will require the expansion of renewable energies at a much faster rate in Germany than currently planned.”

Thyssenkrupp is notably one of just four German businesses to have had its emissions targets green-lit by the SBTi, the others being sportswear giant Puma, consumer goods firm Symrise and software and digital services provider SAP.

“As one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Europe, Thyssenkrupp’s goal to reach net-zero emissions, backed by strong science-based targets, sends an important signal to policymakers about the readiness of the industrial sector to transition towards a net-zero carbon economy,” said CDP’s director Alberto Carrillo Pineda. CDP co-runs the SBTi, along with WWF, UN Global Compact and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Milking it

Another company to have had its emissions targets rubber-stamped by the SBTi this month is Stonyfield Organic – a dairy based in New Hampshire.

The B-Corp is aiming to reduce emissions from its operations and supply chain by 30% by 2030, even though it plans to grow considerably within this timeframe. The SBTi last week confirmed that this ambition is aligned with a 2C trajectory.

Given that more than half of the business’s carbon footprint is accounted for by agriculture, working with farmers to roll out new, low-carbon technologies and spread information about land management practices that enable carbon sequestration will be a key move for Stonyfield going forward.

The company is already working with Ceres’s policy network, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) and the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility network to lobby for better policy support for business-led decarbonisation, as well as greater cross-industry collaboration against climate change.

It is also one of the founder signatories of “We Are Still In”, a movement of businesses, states and cities standing against President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

Sarah George



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