Science based targets, real targets for real change

Published 1 June 2018 by Johan Holm
Stora Enso has embraced science-based targets as the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and honour the Paris Agreement.
In 2015, the world watched and celebrated as the Paris agreement was reached. This meant that 195 of the world’s governments committed to preventing climate change by limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. In effect, this accelerated the transition to a low carbon economy not only at a governmental, but also at a company level.

For Stora Enso’s part, we have been forerunners in reporting on our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieved well ahead of time our previous target for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We have also been recognised for our work by several third-party organisations. Last year, we made a commitment to lower our GHG emissions by setting ambitious science-based targets. These targets will help us to truly combat global warming in an effective and structured way.

For companies to achieve a “science-based target,” it means that they must reduce GHG emissions in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below two degrees Celsius. Stora Enso was the first forest products company in the world to have an approved science-based target.

The target itself is third-party approved by the Science Based Target initiative consisting of four important organisational stakeholders – the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resource Institute, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the United Nations Global Compact. The initiative applies strict rules and target tools based on global industry data from the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Stora Enso’s commitment is split into three key areas. In operations, we are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions from our operations by 31 percent per tonne of pulp, paper and board by 2030 compared to our 2010 baseline levels. In regard to our suppliers, we commit to urging them to set their own greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by 2025, with the aim to adopt a science-based target by 2030. Finally, when it comes to our customers, we commit to providing training to educate 100 percent of our customer-facing staff about global warming and the advantages of setting a science-based target by 2020.

To fully deliver on these goals, we must work on several fronts to ensure that the commitment we have made comes into effect and has a lasting impact. We will need to further improve the energy efficiency work that is continuously ongoing via, for instance, Stora Enso’s Energy Fund. We will need to continue to work towards carbon neutrality to replace fossil fuels with biomass-based fuels. Also of key importance will be our sourcing of electricity with low or no fossil CO2 content. For our suppliers, we now start work on a long-term process which initially means to start sharing information about our target and, in a stepwise approach let them understand what is required of them being a supplier to us. For our customer-related target, the divisions will start training our sales force and other customer-facing staff.

Science-based targets make great sense for Stora Enso, it is our opportunity to walk the talk when it comes to sustainability in the best possible way. As our CEO has said, “a science-based target is a way to transform the Paris agreement down to companies so that they do their share.”


Johan Holm, blog author

Johan Holm

Johan Holm is the Head of Environmental Policies and Programs in Sustainability at Stora Enso. He has 22 years of experience in the forest industry and over 25 years as an environmental professional. Johan is currently heading the developments with regards to corporate carbon aspects in Stora Enso to facilitate the efforts combatting global warming. Johan holds an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Utah.