Carbon emissions in own operations
We’re committed to halving our carbon emissions by 2030, so we’re constantly striving to improve our energy efficiency and conversion to renewable electricity. In 2021, we reduced carbon emissions in our operations by 3% (relative) versus 2020, mainly through conversion to renewable electricity and footprint optimization. This means we’ve achieved a reduction of 21% compared with the 2018 baseline – bringing us closer to our 2025 interim ambition of 25%.
By 2030, we aim to have shifted to 100% renewable electricity at all our locations. We’ve been installing solar panels at multiple sites and purchasing renewable electricity with certificates of origin. Our current total share of renewable electricity use is 45% globally, approaching our 2025 interim target of 50%. In total, 44 of our locations now use 100% renewable electricity, with 23 sites using solar panels as a supplementary source of energy. We plan to increase this number in the near future.
100% renewable electricity in Europe in 2022
Our ambition to transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is progressing well, with our operations in Europe having fully switched over by January 2022.
Converting to renewable electricity is key to our overall ambition of halving carbon emissions in our own operations by 2030.
We first announced our ambition in 2020, with several European countries among the first to achieve the 100% milestone, including the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Germany and Sweden. We’ve since added more countries to the list, notably France, Poland, Russia and Italy.
Reaching 100% renewable electricity in Europe brings our total share to 45%, close to meeting our 2025 interim global target of 50%.
We’re aiming to cut our energy use by 30% by 2030 (baseline 2018). Initiatives such as using LED lighting systems, replacing chillers, optimizing compressed air systems and shutdown management have contributed greatly to this already.
So far, we’ve reduced energy per ton of production by 1% (relative) versus our 2018 levels. In 2021, our overall relative energy use remained at 1.83 TJ per ton of production, compared with 2020. However, due to the centralization of electricity procurement, part of the stores organization was elevated above the materiality threshold and was therefore included in our energy reporting as of 2021. This resulted in an increase of 3.5%, leading to the reported 1.89 TJ per ton of production. Structural energy efficiency improvements were offset by adverse effects (including product mix and inefficiencies due to raw material shortages), resulting in a 0.5% net increase. We also installed thermal oxidizers to reduce VOC emissions, as well as solvent recovery units to reduce our waste. Although these improvement projects led to an increase in energy use, they positively impacted our VOC emissions reduction and waste circularity (see Waste management).
Driving energy efficiency and using more renewable electricity across all our sites globally will have a significant impact on reducing our carbon emissions from our own operations – and will ultimately help to mitigate climate change.
Volatile organic compounds
The production of paints and coatings means we have emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is included in our cradle-to-grave carbon footprint. We achieved a 6% (relative) improvement versus 2020 in VOC emissions per ton of product in our own operations, and a total of 41% (relative) versus the 2018 baseline.
Volatile organic compounds.
The total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused during a defined period of a product’s lifecycle. It is expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents CO2(e) emitted. 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.