DuPont commits to carbon-neutral operations by 2050

Chemicals giant DuPont has unveiled a sweeping array of new sustainability targets, including a commitment to deliver carbon-neutral operations by mid-century.

More than 10,000 companies have pledged their support to the SDGs. Image: DuPont 

More than 10,000 companies have pledged their support to the SDGs. Image: DuPont 

The emissions target, publicly announced today (30 October) as part of DuPont’s 2030 Sustainability Goals, will require DuPont to deliver a 30% reduction in its Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 2030.

In order to tackle its Scope 2 emissions, the US-headquartered multinational will ensure that 60% of the energy it consumes globally comes from renewable sources by 2030.

The 2030 strategy has three pillars – creating sustainable innovations, increasing the profile of sustainability on an operational basis and ensuring the inclusiveness, well-being and health of people and communities. All of the emissions targets fall under the second category.

Elsewhere in the strategy, DuPont has pledged to align its entire innovation portfolio with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will no longer back R&D into projects which do not “meaningfully advance” progress towards the SDGs.

It has additionally committed to undertake lifecycle analysis of its business models and products, in order to embed circular economy principles across operations and to develop and implement water strategies at all of its sites.

Water strategies will be developed, in the first instance, for manufacturing plants in watersheds considered to be at “high-risk” of water scarcity – an approach also championed by the likes of Levi Strauss and Diageo.

On the people and communities-focused pillar, DuPont has pledged to deliver targeted social impact programs which will improve the lives of 100 million people globally over the next 11 years – either directly or indirectly.

DuPont’s chief executive officer Marc Doyle said that the firm will “work tirelessly over the course of the next decade to make meaningful progress” against its new goals.

“DuPont’s 2030 goals set forth our priorities and align to the sustainability challenges that offer the greatest opportunity to deliver business value, increase resiliency across our value chains and enable people and societies to thrive,” Doyle said.

“Sustainability is one of the key drivers that highlights both megatrends in the market and significant innovation opportunities that are well aligned with our core business strategies,” DuPont’s chief technology and sustainability officer Alexa Dembek added.

SDG surge

With 2020 just weeks away, the window of time left for businesses, policymakers, academics, NGOs and the public to collaborate in order to achieve the 169 targets outlined in the SDG framework is growing ever smaller.

DuPont is one of many companies to have used to Global Goals as a sustainability framework, with this cohort of businesses having grown after research revealing that as much as $12trn and 380 million jobs could be generated by 2030 if the SDGs are placed at the heart of global economic strategies.

Other businesses to have unveiled SDG-aligned strategies in recent months include the likes of cement and building materials giant Cemex, coffee roaster Lincoln & York, alcoholic beverage firm Pernod Ricard and OVO Energy.  

Action by policymakers – in the UK at least – seems to have been slower.

The UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development’s (UKSSD) landmark report into the UK Government’s approach to the SDGs revealed that the nation was only performing well on 24% of targets considered relevant to the domestic delivery of the Goals, with Ministers having previously shown reluctance to launch a voluntary national review into progress. As part of the review, the Department for International Development (DFID) surveyed more than 380 external stakeholders to gather ideas for next steps. The results of this survey were published this week.

Sarah George



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