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Going for gold: Our journey to 100% renewable energy

SIG is the first in the industry to produce carton packs using 100% renewable energy worldwide, achieving a milestone on our responsibility roadmap two years early. Here we explore some of the challenges along the way...
SIG is the first in the industry to produce carton packs using 100% renewable energy worldwide, achieving a milestone on our responsibility roadmap two years early.
Here we explore some of the challenges along the way and explain how the solutions we’ve adopted support our commitment to go Way Beyond Good.
Three years ago, we set a target to source 100% renewable energy and Gold Standard CO2 offset for all non-renewable energy – electricity and gas – at production plants by 2020. We had agreements in place with energy providers to buy certified renewable electricity from the grid to power our production plants in Brazil and Europe. But this wasn’t a viable option for our plants in China and Thailand. When we explored the alternatives, we settled on a solution that would support our environmental goals – and have a positive social impact too. That solution was to purchase power through local renewable energy projects certified to the GoldPower® standard.
GoldPower® projects deliver measurable emissions reductions that are certified to strict standards and verified by a third party. The GoldPower® certification is supported by leading environmental organisation WWF and backed by Gold Standard, the internationally recognised benchmark for carbon mitigation projects. For SIG, a credible certification like this is critical to make sure the renewable energy we source has the positive impacts we expect. We take a similar approach to sourcing the raw materials that go into our packs, using certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™ trademark licence code: FSC™ C020428). GoldPower® renewable energy projects don’t just help us reduce our carbon footprint, they also deliver benefits for local communities, such as air or water quality improvements or job opportunities. For example, a project we support in Thailand extracts methane from wastewater to generate renewable electricity and also produces more than 5.7 million litres of treated water per day for local communities. This two-pronged, win−win approach is the perfect match for our Way Beyond Good ambition to put more into the environment and society than we take out.
In 2017, we completed the switch to 100% renewable electricity for production through a combination of green energy from the grid and GoldPower® renewable energy certificates. The next step was to find renewable alternatives for the remaining energy we use in production, which comes from fossil-based natural gas. This was even more challenging because the market for renewable biogas is not yet well established. With no viable option to source biogas directly for use in our plants, we looked for ways to source it indirectly. We turned once again to GoldPower®, seeking out suitable projects that use biogas to generate energy. We’re now supporting projects to construct and operate waste-to-energy systems that capture gas generated at landfill sites and use it to produce renewable energy in China, Thailand and Turkey.
Home to 15 million people, Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. It’s served by two landfill sites at Odayeri and Kömürcüoda. Together, they process around 14,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste – household rubbish – per day. These mounds of waste were deposited across the vast sites and left to decay, releasing landfill gas as they decomposed. Landfill gas doesn’t just smell bad, it’s also bad for the environment as it contains large amounts of methane which is a potent greenhouse gas. The projects we’re supporting are cutting greenhouse gas emissions by capturing this gas and turning it into energy at two new power plants. Power generated from the biogas is replacing electricity that would otherwise come from the largely fossil-based national grid. The new power plants bring social benefits too by supporting skills development and creating much-needed jobs in a country where the unemployment rate is over 12%. And local residents can also breathe easier with a reduction in bad odours.
We’re now sourcing enough renewable energy – electricity and gas – to produce all our packs at SIG production sites worldwide as of 1 January of 2018. This is a major milestone on our journey to go Way Beyond Good. The switch to renewable gas will save an estimated 28,600 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year. This will make an important contribution towards SIG’s science-based targets to cut Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 – and by 60% by 2040 – from the 2016 base-year. All other remaining greenhouse gas emissions from production sites, such as small amounts released in the printing process, are also being offset through GoldPower® certificates to completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from production. Read more about SIG’s commitment to go Way Beyond Good.
Post date
  • August 28, 2018