Towards carbon neutrality

It is UCB’s ambition to render the operations we control directly carbon neutral by 2030. This ambition includes all of UCB’s scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, as well as, part of the scope 3 emissions, covering activities performed at UCB sites (e.g. product research, development and manufacturing), the distribution of UCB products, devices and packaging put on the market, UCB’s car fleet, business travel, employee commuting, etc.

Our actions will be based both on carbon reduction and carbon compensation mechanisms. As a guiding principle, 80% of our efforts will relate to the reduction of our GHG emissions, whilst 20% will be devoted to carbon compensation. As part of the Science Based Targets initiative, objectives for the scope 3 emissions, which are not yet included in the scope mentioned above will be set in 2018. These will mainly relate to our suppliers and contract manufacturing partners.

Engaging the value chain
Engaging the value chain (graphic)

We aim to reduce our carbon footprint through the entire value chain

Carbon reduction

We aim to reduce our GHG emissions by:

  • increasing the use of energy generated from renewable sources, on a percent basis;
  • improving the energy efficiency of our processes, installations and buildings; snf
  • changing our behavior where possible (e.g., smarter travelling).

In 2017, the percentage of consumed electricity that was generated from renewable sources increased to 92%.

Being an important stakeholder, Technical and Supply Operations (TSO) picked up the carbon reduction challenge at the beginning of 2017 by launching Green@TSO. This long-term initiative will challenge our manufacturing, supply chain, development, devices and packaging teams to find solutions to reduce carbon emissions by 35% by 2030. The project also aims to reduce water consumption by 20%, and waste generation by 25% by 2030.

During 2017, more than 350 TSO colleagues were involved in 40 workshops, generating 600 ideas, which so far resulted in 120 projects. For example, our manufacturing teams in Braine and Bulle have defined green roadmaps, which identify energy efficiency projects to be launched in the short term. The Supply Chain team identified four clusters (packaging, network-routing, carriers, loading efficiencies and intermodal transportation methods) around which efficiency improvement programs will be focused as of 2018.

Carbon compensation

Even though our main focus lies on reducing GHG emissions, we will need to compensate for the emissions we cannot reduce in the short term, in order to reach the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 for the activities we control directly. That’s why UCB, in 2017, partnered with sustainability organizations dedicated to re-forestation and environmental protection, that will coordinate our carbon compensation efforts.

With CO2Logic, we will support the EcoMakala project in the Virunga Park, located near Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over a period of 15 years, nearly 10 000 hectares (100km2 or 60% the surface of the Brussels) of woodland will be planted, resulting in a CO2 sequestration of nearly 300 000 tons of CO2.

Our partner will also provide the local population with energy efficient cook stoves and sustainably produced charcoal, during a period of 10 years. This will help to prevent the illegal harvesting of wood in the Virunga park currently used to prepare daily meals. Through this initiative, the emission of approximately 400 000 tons of CO2 will be avoided. The EcoMakala project is currently being certified by the Gold Standard in order to ensure robust project management and reliable monitoring and reporting.

Manufacturing of energy efficient cook stoves, DR Congo (photo)

Manufacturing of energy efficient cook stoves, DR Congo

Reforestation project near the National Virunga Park, DR Congo (photo)

Reforestation project near the National Virunga Park, DR Congo

Reforestation project near the National Virunga Park, DR Congo (photo)

Reforestation project near the National Virunga Park, DR Congo

With WeForest, about 12 000 hectares of degraded woodland in Ethiopia’s Tigray (Northern Ethiopia) will be restored over a period of 13 years. The Desa’a Forest project is currently being certified by the Plan Vivo standard and will result in the sequestration of nearly 200 000 tons of CO2 by 2030, and by more than 800 000 tons of CO2 by 2050, the total lifespan of the project.   

As well as the sequestration of CO2, which will help fight global warming, the projects will also provide employment to the population living in or near these areas and help improve their living conditions. In fact, the climate projects contribute to many of the UN SDGs.