The Paris Agreement is a game-changer when it comes to global industry’s efforts to combat global warming. Stora Enso aims to continue playing a leading role in these actions.
On 4 November the world witnessed history as the Paris Agreement’s entered into force. The agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of global warming by keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. According to Edward Cameron, managing director of the global non-profit organisation BSR and policy engagement lead for the We Mean Business coalition, the Paris Agreement represents an unprecedented leap forward in terms of levels of ambition, participation, leadership and commitment. “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,” he says.
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.
Science-based targets for wider emission reductions
As part of this work, BSR, Stora Enso and the Finnish Climate Leadership Council co-organized a collaborative networking event in Helsinki in October, focusing on for example science-based emission reduction targets, shifting to 100% renewable energy and combating deforestation.
“The new gold standard for companies who want to maintain their leading role is now to commit to ambitious emission reductions through science-based targets,” says Cameron. “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, meaning working with suppliers, customers and consumers to reduce the overall greenhouse gas footprint of their products and services,” he explains.
High ambition levels at Stora Enso
As a renewable materials company Stora Enso has a solid base to build on for 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 has 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
Climate leadership can’t be achieved alone. “Leading companies should actively initiate both public and private partnerships and dialogue across and through different sectors to ensure faster results,” Cameron reminds.