Minimizing our footprint: Our “NET-ZERO CARBON” target
Mitigating climate change means decarbonizing our economies. The goal is simple: by 2050, we must not emit any more carbon than we absorb. We must be carbon neutral. Our net zero carbon ambition is also a very concrete manifestation of our purpose, Making the world a better home.
Saint-Gobain made this commitment on September 23, 2019 in New York, signing the UN Global Compact’s "Business Ambition for 1.5°C" pledge. As we make progress towards our 2050 goal, we strive to make each of these interim efforts more ambitious - with commitments to reduce carbon in more areas of the business, moving from incremental improvements to significant step changes, being also able to offset during this period the potential increase of our emissions due to growth.
To achieve carbon neutrality, we have published CO₂ roadmap. The roadmap incorporates the Group’s new commitments through to 2030 in terms of reducing not only its direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions, but also the emissions along its value chain. These new targets for 2030 have been validated by the Science-Based Targets (SBT) initiative1 which considers them aligned with the Group’s 2050 net-zero commitment:
- 33% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions in absolute terms compared to a 2017 baseline
- 16% reduction in scope 3 emissions compared to 2017
To meet its targets, Saint-Gobain will dedicate a targeted capital expenditure and R&D budget of around €100 million per year until 2030. This approach will be the basis for the decisions that the Group will take to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.Two internal carbon prices have also been introduced (€100/tonne of eq. CO₂ for investments, 200€/tonne for R&D projects) to encourage the use of low-carbon technologies.
KEY MILESTONES ON OUR CARBON NEUTRALITY JOURNEY
Today, Saint-Gobain pursues a range of methods to reduce our direct emissions on our sites (scope 1), indirect emissions mainly linked to the use of electricity (scope 2), and emissions upstream and downstream of our value chain (scope 3).
These methods include product design and new composition for materials, making industrial processes more energy efficient, moving our energy mix towards low-carbon and renewable sources, working with partners who supply raw material and those who transport our products to lower their emissions, and finally, investigating carbon capture and sequestration solutions for residual emissions.
On into the future, we adapt these methods to uncertainty - as new technologies, solutions and challenges emerge.
We use a scenario-based approach, looking at different technical options and the development of economic circumstances to be ready, by 2030, to make the decisive investment and development decisions to achieve our 2050 goals.
We see our goals in steps – the first being reductions in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025, and then further milestones for broader and even more ambitious reductions by 2030.
USING LESS CARBON-INTENSIVE DESIGNS & MATERIALS
Lighter products, less carbon-intensive raw materials, finding more sustainable substitutions for existing materials, influencing our partners and transport networks to be less carbon efficient
USING LESS ENERGY AND USING IT BETTER
Changing processes to use less energy
Better energy efficiency or reuse of energy
Working on our energy mix, to make it less carbon intensive,
Electrification of certain operations
Switching to renewable / decarbonized energy sources
INFLUENCING OUR NETWORK TO DECARBONIZE TOGETHER
Working with raw material suppliers
Working with transport networks
FINDING OPTIONS TO SEQUESTER THE CARBON WE EMIT
Supporting new and exciting technology that helps to remove C02 from the atmosphere, capturing it using advanced chemical reactions or natural solutions, storing it in everything from underground reservoirs to concrete and plastic building materials.
Reduction of 30% in absolute terms compared to actual emissions in 2017, and of 33% compared to 2017 emissions as adjusted for acquisitions made between 2017 and the date of the targets' approval.
A STRONG COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT OUR PATHWAY TO CARBON NEUTRALITY
The Group is rolling out measures to support its roadmap towards to carbon neutrality.
CSR objectives now represent a larger share of long-term management incentive criteria: their weighting is raised from 15% to 20%, with CO₂ objectives increasing from 5% to 10%.
In addition, two internal carbon prices are used and have been recently raised: €75 per ton for industrial investments and €150 per ton for R&D investment in breakthrough technology.
Finally, the Group will allocate a budget of around €100 million per year until 2030 to targeted capital expenditure and R&D investments in order to achieve its targets.
Maximizing our contribution:
Our commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 is rooted in a long history of reducing our environmental impact. Yet, it is inseparable from our ambition to provide customers with solutions to help them decarbonize as well and to reduce their own environmental footprint.
Besides its efforts to become carbon neutral in its operations, Saint-Gobain provides solutions to its customers and end-users to address the climate and environmental challenges that they face. In the construction industry, which accounts for around 40% of global CO₂ emissions, Saint-Gobain develops and markets solutions to improve the energy efficiency in buildings, and solutions with a reduced carbon footprint – such as for light construction – designed to replace traditional, more carbon-intensive heavy building materials.
The reduction of the carbon impact of our solutions is based on three major axes:
- An internal carbon price to accelerate the transition to low-carbon technologies
- Innovation and R&D programs to coordinate and expand efforts to improve manufacturing processes, reduce energy consumption and ensure the transition to the use of low-carbon energy;
- Controlling Scope 3 in order to identify the main emission factors and reduce the overall impact of products.
Saint-Gobain maximizes its impact by designing, producing and distributing materials and solutions that contribute to the decarbonization of the markets in which we operate.
Especially through the emissions avoided when using our products such as solutions for energy-efficiency in buildings and industries.
Saint-Gobain has decided to become the leader in light & sustainable construction markets by developing and manufacturing high-value construction solutions enabling a reduction of the global use of fossil fuels and thus of the related greenhouse gas emissions, especially through our insulation and glazing businesses.
~1,300 Mt avoided emissions for customers* = ~ 40x the Group carbon footprint (all 3 scopes)
* Solutions produced & sold in 1 year, with impact over entire product lifespan; independently verified. This assessment takes into account all regions of operation, knowing that there are different needs depending on the location.
The most recent international recommendations: GHG Protocol, World Resources Institute, etc. on the calculation of avoided emissions have been taken into account.
For further information, the updated methodology is available here: 2%20emissions%20avoided%20of%20Saint-Gobain%20solutions.pdf" target="_blank">part 1 and 2%20emissions%20avoided%20CO2%20of%20Saint-Gobain%20Solutions_0.pdf" target="_blank">part 2.
Other environmental impacts
Our ambition is to ensure the preservation of the environment and to offer our clients the greatest added value with minimal environmental impact. We have therefore set ourselves two objectives: zero environmental accidents and the maximum reduction of the impact of our activities on the environment through our actions on five major issues
- A policy of sustainable resource management by minimizing production residues, reuse, and the integration of a maximum of recycled content in our products,
- A reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from our industrial processes, infrastructure and transport through our industrial excellence programs (WCM), the involvement of all operators, the sharing of best practices, etc.
- Reducing water withdrawals to move towards "zero discharge" of industrial water, starting with water-stressed areas and ensuring that we do not compete with local populations' access to drinking water,
- Preserving, restoring, strengthening and enhancing the biodiversity of all our sites,
- Anticipating and dealing with risk factors related to environmental accidents and nuisances.
Our EHS charter and policy, as well as our water management and biodiversity policies, aim to limit the negative impact of our operations and products on the environment, while avoiding generating new negative impacts on other natural environments and/or other stakeholders.
Eventually, as our group is committed to the climate and aware that this issue requires the cooperation of governments, businesses and civil society, we support the recommendations of the Task Force on Financial Disclosure (TCFD) and we have adhered to the Science-Based Targets (SBT) since 2018. We are positioning ourselves as a gas pedal of the deployment of sustainable construction through our participation in the Green Building Councils (GBC), a network of stakeholders acting to create sustainable buildings that limit the sector's impact on the environment.
Towards a just transition
The transition to sustainable construction includes a social and inclusive dimension.
Maximizing the positive contribution by proposing solutions to accelerate a just transition to a decarbonized construction.
- Carbon emissions from building use account for about 28% of global emissions. Renovation plans that improve the energy efficiency of buildings have an undeniable positive effect on carbon emissions but also on the energy bill of end users. This is even more important for people who are vulnerable or in a situation of financial insecurity. The Build Change program launched in 2022 allows to identify and promote actions taken by countries in favor of social housing. The Saint-Gobain Foundation also supports employee initiatives to promote access to decent housing for excluded people.
- Increasing urbanization and population growth are leading to a growing need for housing. The development of cities, particularly in emerging countries, has also been accompanied by the growth of slums. Lightweight construction is a solution to meet the need for new housing because it is efficient and has less impact on the environment.
Minimizing Saint-Gobain's footprint and just transition
- The transformation of industrial processes towards carbon-free production (scope 1 and 2) does not entail any major change in the jobs or organization of the sites. The transition is accompanied by training and education programs on climate issues.
- The success of the Net Zero Carbon program and the achievement of carbon emission reduction targets require changes in product formulations to incorporate low-carbon impact raw materials, in particular the use of recycled materials. This requires the creation of new collection and processing networks for construction waste, with the emergence of new business models. In some countries, these new sectors are opportunities for job creation for fragile and excluded people. In France, for example, the social and solidarity economy is a player in glass and wood recycling. The Saint-Gobain Foundation supports work integration projects linked to the emergence of more circular ecosystems.
- 2,412 GWh of renewable energy consumption in 2020 (purchased electricity, electricity produced on site and biomass)
- 31.5% reduction in water discharges in 2020, in line with the objective of an 80% reduction between 2010 and 2025