The global roof window manufacturer The VELUX Group has raised the bar on what it means to commit to being carbon neutral. The Danish-founded company is not only dramatically reducing its future carbon dioxide emissions but has committed to an innovative way to capture the emissions the company has produced in its 80 years of existence.
This Lifetime Carbon Neutral approach is an exciting new way to not just tackle the unfolding climate crisis now and in the future, but to take responsibility for past contributions, too. The company estimates that over its eight decades of operation it has produced approx. 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (from 1941-2020). That’s equivalent to what a coal power plant releases in just 332 days. This carbon-neutral commitment has been developed in partnership with WWF International, with the VELUX aim to be Lifetime Carbon Neutral by the company's 100th anniversary in 2041.
"The latest IPCC report shows time is up, it is time to act now. If we are to succeed with reversing the trend, all actors in society have to do their part — not least businesses," Ingrid Reumert, Vice President, External Relations & Sustainability of the VELUX Group, told IFLScience. "At VELUX, we had to be ambitious in our plans if we wanted to make a meaningful impact and be true to our company’s DNA, thinking long-term and of the benefits of society. It’s not an easy task, we have a huge transformation of our business and the entire building sector ahead of us, by working together we can all achieve these goals."
The Lifetime Carbon Neutral commitment will see VELUX work together with the WWF to halt habitat loss, deforestation, and land degradation threatening the biodiversity of various ecosystems around the world. It will see VELUX investing in forest and biodiversity projects specifically developed for them, working with and benefiting local communities, who are best placed to safeguard natural resources. The first forest project is already in motion and will take place in Uganda.
The VELUX Group is also pushing for material reutilization and more recycling in its production and transport, with the aim to achieve zero waste in production. Since wood is a primary source of its windows, the company is determined to only use materials that do not negatively affect the environment and forest biodiversity. It already ensures sustainably sourced wood, with 99.6 percent of the wood used in VELUX roof windows in Europe in 2019 from certified sustainable forests.
The company has committed to being completely carbon neutral by the end of the decade. This means that by 2030, its products will take 50 percent less CO2 to manufacture. It also aims for 30 percent of its products to be automated and sensor-driven (to improve indoor climate) by the end of the decade and that its products and packaging contain zero plastic and are 100 percent recyclable.
"Our goal is to make our company 100% carbon neutral and halve our future carbon footprint in our value chain by 2030 aligned with the SBTi methodology," Reumert said. "We will achieve this through substantial changes of our entire energy use and specification of the products and materials we use to manufacture a roof window. We are already well underway and have accelerated our energy efficiency activities and are shifting to renewable energy across our factories and sites. Through the right power purchase agreements, leading to new additional power to the grid, we will already in 2023 use 100% renewable electricity."
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