IP receives SBTi approval for its carbon reduction target

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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International Paper announced Friday, Dec. 3, its 35% greenhouse gas reduction target has been approved by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

The IP press release continued by stating that the targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from International Paper’s operations (scopes 1 and 2) are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Additionally, IP’s target for the emissions from its value chain (scope 3) meet the SBTi’s criteria for ambitious value chain goals, meaning they are in line with current best practice.

The approval formally recognizes International Paper as a leader in the low-carbon transition and makes the company one of the first North American organizations in the paper and packaging industry with approved targets, joining over 1,000 others across industries and around the world.

“As a global leader in the forest products industry, International Paper is uniquely positioned to drive significant progress in the low-carbon circular economy,” IP Chairman and CEO Mark Sutton said. “We are committed to leading our industry towards a more sustainable future.”

Officials noted in the release that in 2020, International Paper released its Vision 2030 goals, which demonstrate its commitment to building a better future for people, the planet and the company. 

“Through the goals, one of the world’s leading producers of renewable fiber-based packaging and pulp announced plans to advance its contributions to the circular, low-carbon economy while building on its commitments to its people and communities,” officials stated.

The company has committed to achieving the following goals by 2030:

  • healthy and abundant forests: lead forest stewardship efforts globally
  • thriving people and communities: promote employee well-being by providing safe, caring and inclusive workplaces and strengthen the resilience of local communities
  • sustainable operations: improve the company’s climate impact and advance water stewardship
  • renewable solutions: accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy through innovative fiber-based products

Each goal includes one to three specific, measurable targets, enabling the company to track its progress throughout the decade. The targets include commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% from 2019 levels, to reduce water usage by 25% and to create innovative products that are 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.

“The SBTi approval means we’ve aligned our own sustainability ambitions with the Paris agreement and demonstrates International Paper’s commitment to building a better future for people, the planet and our company,” Sutton said.

The Science Based Targets initiative helps companies establish science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform business operations to fit the future low-carbon economy. Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are considered to be “science based” if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement — to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, World Wide Fund for Nature and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.