We recognise that climate change is a real threat to society, which will affect everyone on the planet, for example through floods, droughts and rising sea levels. The need for concerted action is clear. Climate change is a risk affecting our business and we are committed to taking action on this important issue.
We take a holistic value-chain approach to understanding and managing our climate change risks and impacts, based on carbon lifecycle modelling, and prioritise our efforts to address the biggest risks and opportunities. RB is committed to making more with less; continually reducing the emissions of our operations and our brands across their lifecycle, while also growing the business. Led by our Sustainability team and colleagues across the business, our strategy for managing climate change risks and opportunities includes taking action across the footprint of our products, such as implementing energy efficient production processes, investing in purchased and on-site renewable energy, and advancing our sustainable innovation programme.
In 2017, in recognition of Science Based Target setting and recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), we reviewed our current climate change strategy and targets in line with various scenarios. During 2018, we will continue this work and plan to publish more details of the outcomes and our new long-term climate change goals during the course of this year. We have committed to setting Science Based Targets and have signed up to RE100, with the goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity across our operations by 2030.
Stewardship of our climate change strategy is the responsibility of RB’s Board of Directors and our Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability, Ethics and Compliance Committee (CRSECC), a sub-committee of the Board, is responsible for overseeing its implementation, progress and performance against our 2020 targets. Further details can be found below and in our 2017 Sustainability Report.
Our 2020 Goal: 1/3 less carbon footprint per dose of product.
Determining our total carbon footprint entails a robust and comprehensive calculation of GHG emissions throughout the lifecycle of our products – from the sourcing of raw materials to the way they are manufactured, used and disposed of.
Our carbon footprint shows that the vast majority of our lifecycle emissions (77%) is at the point of consumer use – and this is followed by the emissions in our raw and packaging materials (16%). In 2017, our total carbon footprint decreased by 2% compared to 2016 due to changes in our product portfolio. We are continually seeking opportunities to drive product innovation, understand how we can positively influence consumer behaviour and develop partnerships to reduce our carbon footprint at the point of use.
However, our carbon footprint is also likely to increase with sales of product such as bar soap which is both carbon and water intensive as it uses a relatively large amount of energy (e.g. carbon) to heat water as well as having a high water impact at point of use. While an example of improved hygiene and associated health benefits from hand and body washing, this benefit is delivered with negative lifecycle impacts.
Our 2020 goals:
Since 2012, we have made great progress in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of our facilities. Some initiatives conducted include:
RB’s Trees for Change programme launched in 2006 because we believe it is important to actively mitigate our company’s impact on climate change. Over their lifetime the trees we have planted will help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that would otherwise have remained there contributing to global warming.
Our goal was to plant enough trees to take in the same amount of carbon dioxide as our manufacturing operations will generate from 2006 to 2017, effectively making our manufacturing operations carbon neutral. Since 2006 we have planted and maintained over 8 million native trees. This programme has supplemented our ambitious carbon reduction target – to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.
We have managed this programme in-house rather than using an external offsetting company, which means we’re responsible for making sure enough trees survive and grow, including replacing the ones that don’t make it to offset our manufacturing emissions.
Our intention has always been to be a good neighbour and an environmentally-responsible company. After 10 years, we felt it was the right time to review the program. We understand that land use priorities are changing within British Colombia. As a result, in 2015, we paused the programme pending a thorough assessment. As part of this, we engaged with a wide variety of local stakeholders to understand how RB’s Trees for Change programme could continue to make a positive contribution to the local community.
Based on the feedback from the community, we have decided to continue to maintain the 9,062 hectares of trees and land already planted as part of the programme, but discontinue efforts to purchase any additional land. RB will continue to be a responsible neighbour, maintaining the land it owns and keeping the properties safe and secure, using local suppliers.
We are very proud of the programme to date and what we have achieved. At this time, we do not plan on implementing another Trees for Change programme. Instead we will focus our efforts on reducing our direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through manufacturing efficiencies and the installation of renewable technologies.
Our methodology for estimating the carbon sequestered by the trees planted through our programme is aligned with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Good Practice Guidance for Land Use and Land-Use Change & Forestry Projects and is independently assured: