Smurfit Kappa continues to make significant progress on achieving its sustainability goals according to its 15th Sustainable Development Report (SDR). The report highlights the company’s progress towards its long-standing goal of driving change and supporting a greener planet through the three main pillars of Planet, People and Impactful Business. It shows that the company’s actions are delivering today, and together with its ongoing investments and continuous improvement, it is well positioned to deliver on its long-term ambition to have net zero emissions by 2050.
The company made significant progress in reducing its fossil CO2 emission intensity in 2021. The Group is one of the first in its industry to have announced targeting at least net zero emissions by 2050 and, compared to its baseline year 2005, it reduced its emissions intensity by 41.3% by the end of 2021. The reduction in 2021 versus 2020 was 6%, another significant step towards its net zero target.
During 2021, Smurfit Kappa delivered several landmark achievements highlighting its continued leadership in sustainability, such as:
- In March, became the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded 5 stars by ‘Support the Goals’ in recognition of the Group’s support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
- In September, launched its Green Finance Framework which was accompanied by a strong second party opinion with its product and circular business model being reported as a ‘significant contributor’ to UN SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’;
- In September, launched its inaugural green bond which was over-subscribed multiple times and secured the lowest ever coupon for a corporate issuer of its credit rating, along with strong participation from ‘dark green’ investors;
- In December, had its emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) as consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and well below 2°C. This validation is further evidence of its long-term ambition coupled with delivery today.
Tony Smurfit, Group CEO, said, “This report highlights our continued leadership in sustainability, and how it extends from our products and manufacturing into the local communities in which we operate. Our circular business model helps us to address many of the challenges our stakeholders face. With continued focus on sustainability and through close collaboration with our value chain partners, Smurfit Kappa can deliver an even greater social, economic and environmental impact.”
The company has published a significantly enhanced disclosure consistent with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations in its 2021 Annual Report, including a comprehensive top-down identification and process review of climate-related risks and opportunities and an evaluation of the potential impact on Smurfit Kappa assets from physical and transition risks under different climate scenarios. Highlights from the 2021 SDR include:
- Social projects received €4.9m during 2021;
- Reduction of 41.3% in fossil fuel emission intensity since 2005, or 6% year-on-year;
- SBTi approval of its emission reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement;
- Reduction in water consumption of 6.2% year-on-year;
- Decrease in waste to landfill intensity of 29.2% since 2013, or 7% year-on-year.
Smurfit Kappa says it continues to invest in sustainability to ensure continued delivery on its long-term goals. One such example from 2021 was an investment of €11.5m into a multi-fuel boiler at the Zülpich paper mill which provides a more sustainable fuel source for generating steam and electricity. The investment will remove 55,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from 2022 onwards, delivering a 25% reduction of CO2 emissions at the mill.
Commenting on the release of the report, Garrett Quinn, Chief Sustainability Officer, Smurfit Kappa, said, “Sustainability is at the heart of all we do and how we think across our business. The progress outlined in this report is testament to the dedication and commitment of everyone in our company, our increasingly circular business, the benefits of our investments and our end-to-end approach to sustainability. In Smurfit Kappa we focus on long-term ambition coupled with action and delivery today, which is evidenced throughout the 2021 SDR.”