Steelcase achieves carbon neutrality, sets new goals

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Jim Keane, president and CEO of Steelcase Courtesy Steelcase

Steelcase is setting 2030 carbon negative goals in line with the Paris Agreement after announcing Tuesday that the company already achieved carbon neutrality for its own operations.

In 2020, Steelcase reported the achievement of a greater than 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the previous 10 years.

The urgency of climate change inspired the company to expand on its existing renewable energy commitments with the purchase of carbon offsets. While Steelcase was able to reach carbon neutral (net zero) for its own operations by removing as much carbon as it emits, the company said it believes true climate action means reducing emissions in line with science. Steelcase is now setting a goal to become carbon negative by 2030 by “markedly” reducing emissions across its own operations.

“Steelcase is proud to lead our industry in addressing this critical global issue,” said Jim Keane, president and CEO of Steelcase. “We continue to see the destructive effects of climate change that touch the lives of people in communities around the world and are pleased to be taking immediate steps in the right direction.”

The new 2030 goals have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative and include the following actions:

  • Over the next decade, the company will focus on reducing emissions at a rate needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. By 2030, becoming carbon negative, also referred to as climate positive, means Steelcase would remove more carbon than it emits through a combination of absolute reductions and investing in renewable energy.
  • Additional actions are expected to include financing carbon offset initiatives and support for external emission reductions with social benefits.
  • To advance a low carbon economy, Steelcase set science-based targets aligned with a 1.5 degrees Celsius climate scenario. This means the company expects to reduce absolute emissions from its own operations by 50% by 2030 and cut indirect emissions from business travel and waste generated in operations. Since most of its emissions are considered indirect, or scope 3, emissions, Steelcase plans to engage with suppliers to help them set science-based targets by 2025. By cutting greenhouse gas emissions at this rate, the company is aligned with the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

Over the next decade, Steelcase plans to apply the following principles to execute its strategy:

  • Prioritizing the absolute reduction of emissions with a range of approaches, including:
    1. Investing in energy efficiency opportunities identified through a series of audits performed at its top emitting facilities
    2. Supplementing energy efficiency projects via direct renewable energy supply in key markets where available
    3. Exploring on-site renewable energy and reducing emissions associated with business travel, its supply chain, logistics and waste generated in operations
  • Advocating for climate and energy policy
  • Empowering employees and suppliers to champion the effort of transitioning to a low carbon economy

The company plans to publish its progress in future Steelcase Impact Reports. Reported emissions are expected to be verified by a third party starting this year.

More information about this initiative and other sustainability efforts at Steelcase can be found on the sustainability page on Steelcase’s website.

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