We are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 for the operations we control directly. This will be achieved by decreasing our emissions and compensating for any we cannot reduce in the short-term. We are dedicating 80% of our efforts to reduce our GHG emissions and 20% to GHG compensation programs.
Our carbon neutrality goal encompasses:
Our scope 1 emissions, caused by gas and fuel consumed as an energy source at UCB sites and by UCB’s car fleet.
Our scope 2 emissions, caused by electricity consumed as an energy source at UCB sites.
Part of our scope 3 emissions, including fuel and energy-related emissions caused by activities performed at UCB sites, by the distribution and usage of UCB products, or by business travel and employee commuting.
Our strategy is to:
Optimize energy consumption by making our operations more energy efficient.
Reduce GHG emissions by increasing the usage of energy generated from renewable sources (on a percent basis).
Compensate for any GHG we cannot reduce in the short-term (applying the 80/20 principle).
Mobilize behavior change among employees through internal awareness campaigns about energy consumption and carbon emissions.
In support of our engagement towards the Science Based Targets initiative, we extended the scope of our reporting and further strengthened our commitment to cover our entire value chain by reaching out to our suppliers and contract manufacturing organizations, requesting our partners to also define ambitious climate targets. Our aim is to engage 60% of our external partners on an emission basis to set ambitious GHG reduction targets by 2025. So far, we have engaged with 300 suppliers on CO2 reduction ambitions to embark them on our journey.
By partnering with EcoVadis and the Pharma Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI), we have so far assessed 100 suppliers on their sustainability performance, ensuring they comply with the level of expectations set out in the Suppliers Code of Conduct we developed and shared in 2020. We will continue to engage with additional stakeholders in 2021, as part of our ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable value chain overall.
Becoming more energy efficient
In 2020, we implemented various energy saving initiatives at our sites in Bulle (Switzerland) and Braine-l’Alleud (Belgium). These led to a recurrent energy saving of 20 984 Gigajoules, which is nearly 3% of UCB’s scope 1 and scope 2 on-site energy usage. These achievements add to the previous reductions of our energy consumption achieved through the divestiture of the sites in Seymour (U.S.) and Shannon (Ireland) in 2015 and 2016, as well as the divestiture of our site in Monheim (Germany) in 2019.
Scope 1 CO2 emissions due to our car fleet were reduced by 29% compared with 2019 whilst business air travel associated with scope 3 CO2 emissions generated just 5 909 tons of CO2 emissions, a decrease of 87% compared with 2019. This is mostly explained by the dramatic reduction in business travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, emissions caused by fuel and energy-related activities and to our Global Supply Chain were reduced by 46% and 13% respectively (compared to 2015 benchmark).
Using renewable energy
In recent years, UCB has focused on sourcing the electricity needed to run our sites and facilities from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass. The percentage of electricity we source from renewable sources globally increased to 95% in 2020, compared to 59% in our benchmark year 2015.
UCB has installed solar panels at our sites in Bulle (Switzerland), Braine-l’Alleud (Belgium), and Brussels (Belgium). These generated 3 042 Gigajoules of electricity in 2020 (0.4% of UCB’s global on-site energy consumption).
We have also started to gradually replace the use of natural gas with gas generated from renewable sources, such as biomethane generated from waste. In 2020, 20% of the natural gas consumed at our manufacturing sites in Braine-l’Alleud and Bulle was replaced by biomethane, reducing CO2 emissions by 3 959 tons.
Compensating for our emissions
While our main focus remains reducing our GHG emissions, we also need to compensate for the emissions that we cannot reduce in the short-term. To this end, UCB has partnered with CO2 Logic and WeForest on re-forestation and environmental protection projects since 2017.
In 2020, we continued with reforestation efforts at the Virunga Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Desa’a Forest in Northern Ethiopia, despite challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and local political instability. Our ambition is to restore an area of 22 000 ha by 2030.
On top of the sequestration of CO2, such projects also create long-term employment opportunities for local populations, helping them to improve their living conditions in the process.