Note 5: Reducing carbon emissions

In order to achieve our ambition of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, we’re focusing on cutting our energy consumption by 30% and using 100% renewable electricity.

In 2020, we reduced our carbon emissions by 4% (relative), mainly through energy reduction, conversion to renewable electricity and footprint optimization. Compared with the 2018 baseline, we have achieved a reduction of 19%.

One of the key contributing factors to reducing carbon emissions is to lower energy consumption – we’re aiming to cut our energy use by 30% by 2030. As well as improving the energy efficiency of equipment and installations – including LED and compressed air systems – we’re also putting a strong focus on behavior, such as monitoring leading to actions.

Despite the reduction in volumes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re close to our yearly energy reduction target (3%), with an overall reduction in energy consumption of 2.7% (relative) in 2020.

The second contributing factor to halving our carbon emissions is converting to 100% renewable electricity. We’re therefore installing solar panels at a number of our locations and are actively looking to source renewable electricity. Currently, our total share of renewable electricity use is 40%, with 34 of our locations and 12 countries already using 100% renewable electricity.

By the end of 2020, 17 sites had solar panels as their own renewable electricity source. We’re aiming to increase this number significantly in the near future as part of a global program. We’re aware that the electricity generated by these solar panels will not be enough to cover our total electricity consumption needs, so we’ll also continue to purchase renewable electricity with certificates of origin.

Greenhouse gas emissions

in million tons

Greenhouse gas emissions (bar chart)

Total emissions made up of direct emissions from processes and combustion at our facilities and indirect emissions from purchased energy.

Energy use

in 1000 TJ

Energy use (bar chart)
People at a foodbank (photo)

Northern Illinois Foodbank was a recipient of our COVID-19 Matching Gifts program. It provided more than $85,000 to 15 non-profits in North America to help offset the impact of COVID-19 in the communities where our plants are located. Many of these organizations have seen a 50% increase in need for their services during the pandemic.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases include CO2, CO, CH4, N2O and HFCs, which have a global warming impact. We also include the impact of VOCs in our targets.