The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has approved SIG’s emission reduction targets, placing SIG in an elite group of global companies committed to tackling climate change
The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between the United Nations Global Compact and environmental organisations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Resources Institute (WRI). All of them are united by the goal to help governments, companies and civil organisations in the fight against climate change. The initiative aims to keep global warming at a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels, building on climate science and the so-called Paris Agreement of 2015.
To achieve this, the SBTi is helping companies determine how much they should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by. The initiative, which could become a standard business practice by 2020, gives an independent assessment of these targets. And, if they prove to be in line with the required level defined by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the SBTi officially approves them.
How to define a target
SIG’s approved targets to cut carbon are ambitious so how were they defined? Based on its experience with product lifecycle assessments and its corporate emissions reporting, SIG developed a complete inventory. That goes for all relevant greenhouse gas emissions within its value chain. An initial estimate of total greenhouse gas emissions was published in the company’s Corporate Responsibility Report 2016. Since then the inventory has been refined and recalculated, and the result is a common baseline to which all reduction targets relate. Read more about SIG’s carbon footprint goals to understand how SIG wants to cut carbon.
When analysing company emissions, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol considers three different categories: scope 1, 2 and 3. Scope 1 emissions are directly connected to a company, such as emissions from burning fossil fuels in operations or vehicles. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions connected to electricity production.
The biggest and most diverse category is scope 3. This covers a wide range of areas. From business travel, employee commuting, purchased goods and capital goods, to processing, use of sold products, to the end-of-life treatment of sold products. The emissions in this category are typically far larger than emissions related to scope 1 and 2. This is why it’s regarded as the high-potential group for reductions and is often closely scrutinised.
Which targets to commit
With its 2016 baseline, SIG brought some well-researched but bold numbers to the table. The company committed to reducing its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. And by 60% for 2040. SIG also pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions per litre packed by 25% by 2030. The latter proposal includes the areas contributing the most emissions. This includes purchased goods and services, use of sold products and end-of-life treatment.
According to Dr Christian Bauer, SIG’s manager of environmental affairs and product-related sustainability:
“This is a key milestone to develop a sound and proper metrics for our environmental footprint, which we can also use as a core reference to set in context all carbon benefits we create outside of our value chain – be it the growing forests where we source or the proven carbon advantage we deliver with our sustainable packaging solution.”
This activity is embedded in SIG’s WAY BEYOND GOOD approach, which aims to ensure the company contributes more to society and the environment than it takes out in its bid to become net positive.
“By setting a science-based target, SIG is getting ahead in the transition to the new low-carbon economy and doing their part to tackle climate change,” says Alexander Liedke, WWF Germany’s Sustainable Business & Markets Manager and member of the SBTi steering committee.
“As a packaging company, they play a key role in global supply chains. They can support their customers with their own carbon reduction targets – something major purchasers are increasingly prioritising. We congratulate SIG on being a sustainability leader in their industry.”