Sustainable packaging business DS Smith has announced a series of ambitious climate targets, including a science-based target to achieve a 40 percent reduction of CO2 emissions per ton of product by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, and a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

These targets will be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. To further underline the company’s ambition and commitment, DS Smith also announced its membership in the UN’s Race to Zero. To achieve these targets, it will further adopt a number of engineering solutions, including using local biomass and biogas, and renewable electricity like wind and solar.

In 2017, DS Smith announced its target to reduce carbon emissions per ton of product by 30 percent by 2030, against a 2015 baseline. As part of a coordinated effort across its over 250 sites globally, it has achieved a 23 percent reduction by the end of 2020, placing it well ahead of its plans.

DS Smith has achieved this by investing in groundbreaking technology, including waste-to-energy solutions, state-of-the-art combined heat and power facilities, and equipment upgrades from new boilers and LED lighting. It has also increased its use of renewable fuel sources, such as biogas and biomass, and improved its energy usage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“It is widely recognized that heavy manufacturing is one of the most challenging sectors to de-carbonize, but we are committed to playing our part by taking action on the path to Net Zero with a clear plan and roadmap,” said Miles Roberts, chief group executive of DS Smith. We make sustainable packaging that is fiber-based and fully recyclable and believe that through combined leadership in the circular economy and climate action, we are uniquely positioned to have a real impact in helping to reduce the rise in global temperatures.”

“We’ve already made good progress in reducing our carbon as part of our long-term sustainability focus, but we know we need to do much more,” Roberts said. "That’s why today we are not only setting ambitious climate targets for ourselves; but strengthening our commitment to delivering more circular solutions for our customers and wider society. I am incredibly proud of all of our people for making this happen.”

Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a strategic partner of DS Smith, said, “We look forward to exploring how our Strategic Partnership with DS Smith can help accelerate the company’s progress towards achieving the climate targets announced today, in parallel with its circular economy commitments. The switch to renewable energy can only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent, while the remaining 45 percent of emissions come from how we make and use products—so the transition to a circular economy is vital in order to tackle climate change, as well as other global challenges.”

In addition to its climate action commitment, DS Smith recently announced its $140 million R&D and innovation package to accelerate its work in the circular economy. The new investment underpins DS Smith’s new circular economy led sustainability strategy, Now and Next, which pledges to manufacture 100 percent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2023 and to take a billion pieces of problem plastics off store shelves by 2025.