The pandemic has taught us a greater awareness of the world around us, a fresh appreciation of the natural environment and the importance of wellbeing. Throughout this last year, businesses of all kinds have demonstrated how adaptable and agile they can be when faced with an emergency. The climate emergency is every bit as urgent, and we need to be just as agile and adaptable to deal with it. Carbon is the root of the planet’s emergency and we must be prepared to take radical and swift action. The good news is that the kind of steps that are needed are as beneficial for people, and for the bottom line, as they are for the planet.
At Kingspan, we’ve experienced this in our own operations, with every step we have taken towards becoming a more sustainable business. Over the past nine years our global team have worked tirelessly to deliver our Net Zero Energy* goal across our entire global estate by 2020. In that time, we have also reduced the carbon intensity of our operations by 35% and we generate 29 GWh of renewable energy on our own sites, cutting our operational costs as well as carbon. But the benefits go much deeper than this. We know that our sustainability commitments are a source of great pride and motivation for employees and new candidates frequently cite our sustainability commitments as a key reason why they want to come and work with us.
At the end of 2019 we launched our Planet Passionate 10-year sustainability programme, with twelve new challenging targets. We have just launched our first Planet Passionate annual report, outlining the extent of our decarbonisation programme, which targets a reduction in manufacturing carbon (CO2e)emissions to as close to zero as technically possible, together with halving carbon intensity in our primary supply chain.
In the first year of Planet Passionate, we reduced emissions from operations by 5.2%, a significant first step towards our net zero carbon manufacturing goal. In turn this will lower the embodied carbon of our products, and therefore the whole life carbon of buildings they feature in. Insulation products sold by Kingspan in 2020 alone will save an estimated 164m tonne of CO2e over their lifetime.
The Commitment to net zero drives radical thinking around product innovation and business practices, which in turn creates value to the business. We firmly believe that decarbonisation is one of the biggest challenges of the next two decades, and that every business needs to put this front and centre. The industry has the technology to rise to this challenge and the business case to implement it is compelling. We can help the planet to survive, and we can thrive in the process, so why wait?
*Net Zero Energy definition - We aim to achieve net zero energy by the end of 2020. We have defined net zero energy as meaning: the non-renewable energy use associated with our manufacturing sites will be minimised through a combination of energy efficiency measures, on-site renewable energy generation and the purchase of certified renewable energy from the grid. Our remaining non-renewable energy use will be offset by the purchase of renewable energy certificates.