Published 3 February 2017
Political tides may be changing, but the momentum set in motion by the Paris climate agreement and the commitment of the leading businesses is irreversible. Stora Enso sees combatting global warming both as a great opportunity and a responsibility. We will continue to play a leading role in helping to keep the global temperature rise well below the 2 degree threshold.
The first truly global climate agreement was approved at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, and entered into force in November 2016. For companies, the agreement represents a unique opportunity to turn risk into a competitive advantage by offering innovations and solutions that can help to tackle global warming. “The enabling environment that businesses need to succeed in climate actions is now in place like never before. We have entered into an era of a new business-as-usual,” says Edward Cameron, managing director of the global non-profit organisation BSR, and policy director of the We Mean Business coalition. Cameron feels that the Paris Agreement marked an unprecedented leap forward in terms of levels of ambition, participation, leadership and commitment.
BSR is among several well-known international organisations behind the We Mean Business coalition, which brings together companies keen to proactively promote low-carbon development. “We Mean Business is particularly now working to translate the Paris climate agreement back to businesses and investors, to help accelerate the transition to a thriving clean economy,” explains Cameron. Stora Enso is a member of BSR and the company has signed a pledge through the We Mean Business coalition to combat global warming by committing to a science-based emission reduction target.
Science-based targets for wider emission reductions
Setting science-based targets is widely seen as the new gold standard for corporate climate action. Aligning corporate ambitions with global climate goals enables rigorous actions that can reduce emissions across geographies, sectors and value chains.
“Most companies have legitimately begun their climate work by addressing emissions within their own core operations. But they increasingly need to understand that the bulk of emissions may be in their supply chain, or in the use of the goods and services they produce. Companies need to broaden their understanding of what are called ‘scope 3’ emissions. This will mean working with suppliers, customers and consumers to reduce the overall greenhouse gas footprint of their products and services,” Cameron explains.
High ambition levels at Stora Enso
As a renewable materials company Stora Enso has a solid base to build on in terms of creating a low-carbon economy. Trees in sustainably managed forests absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and together with wood-based products act as carbon sinks. In addition, fibre-based products help customers and society at large to reduce CO2 emissions by providing low-carbon alternatives to solutions based on non-renewable materials. “Stora Enso provides the types of products, services and innovations that can enable climate actions elsewhere,” Cameron adds.
“At Stora Enso we are well aware that combatting global warming requires long-term and collaborative efforts,” says EVP Sustainability Noel Morrin. “For over a decade we’ve been actively reducing the energy intensity of our operations and our dependency on fossil fuels. Today over 75% of the energy the group generates and uses already comes from carbon neutral sources.” Stora Enso is committed to reduce the company’s use of fossil fuels to as close to zero as is technically and economically feasible over the next ten years in addition to a science-based emission reduction target.
Impact through partnerships
However, climate leadership cannot be achieved alone. “Leading companies should also actively initiate both public and private partnerships and dialogues across and through different sectors to ensure faster results,” explains Cameron.
Stora Enso has already entered into fruitful public and private partnerships. In Uruguay, for example, the Montes del Plata pulp mill, which is 50%-owned by Stora Enso, contributes by producing 5% of Uruguay's electricity from biomass; while in Belgium Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge Mill is helping Volvo Car Gent cut CO2 emissions via a district heating connection. In the future the focus of Stora Enso’s climate work will continue to be expanded further to promote wider emission reductions through corporate dialogue and collaboration.
Article published 11 November 2016 and updated 3 February 2017.