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July 2020

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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.

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

News

CORSIA: UN agrees to airlines’ Covid-19 pleas on offsetting scheme

The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has agreed to change some facets its global carbon offsetting scheme, after airlines requested more leeway to weather the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The changes will be a balm to airlines, whose profits have tumbled in recent months, but a disappointment to many green groups

The changes will be a balm to airlines, whose profits have tumbled in recent months, but a disappointment to many green groups

ICAO was initially set to use the 2019-20 financial year as the offsetting baseline for the updated CORSIA scheme – a system designed to cap net emissions from the global aviation sector through carbon offsetting.

But recent months have seen airlines propose the 2019 calendar year as the baseline, in light of the fact that the amount of passenger flights operating since the start of 2020 has plummeted significantly due to Covid-19-related travel restrictions. Businesses across the aviation sector had warned that if any 2020 figures were added to the benchmark, airlines would not account for the full scope of their emissions and the future costs of offsetting would increase.

Late on Tuesday (30 June), the ICAO confirmed that it would adapt CORSIA’s baseline in line with these concerns, following its annual general assembly in Montreal.

The Council’s president Salvatore Sciacchitano said in a statement that the decision was the “most reasonable available given our current and very extraordinary circumstances”. The statement went on to argue that “significantly unexpected traffic and emissions results being experienced this year… will disrespect the originally-agreed intention and objectives of ICAO’s 193 Member States”.

While the announcement will come as a welcome balm to airlines, in the same week that the likes of Qantas and EasyJet announced sweeping job cuts, European policymakers had been urging ICAO not to make the changes.

MEPs from across the political spectrum sent a letter to ICAO in late May, arguing that the body should wait for the scheduled CORSIA review in 2022 before making adjustments. The MEPs warned that “CORSIA is already extremely far from being in line with the Paris Agreement and climate neutrality objective”, adding that changes now would “seriously undermine the environmental integrity of the scheme”.

ICAO said that, to complement the adjusted baseline, which will serve as a short-term measure, it is “considering the need and means to facilitate the green and resilient recovery for sustainable aviation from a longer-term perspective”. The body hinted that new measures will focus on emission reductions as well as offsetting, but through innovative technologies rather than capping demand or promoting degrowth.

Aviation was, pre-pandemic, responsible for around 3% of global emissions. While this proportion may seem small, the sector is widely considered hard-to-abate and is one of the fastest-growing in the world in terms of emissions; recent research revealed that flights will generate around 43 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by 2050 – more than 4% of the world’s entire remaining carbon budget – as the sector grows. 

Potential paths for decarbonising aviation in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory have proven contentious. The UK Sustainable Aviation Coalition recently published a roadmap for the net-zero transition, for example. The plan drew criticism for centring heavily on developing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), deprioritising electric aircraft and insisting that the UK’s aviation sector can grow by 70% over the next three decades without breaching climate targets – which the Committee on Climate Change has rubbished

Sarah George

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