CMPC joining a global initiative against climate change

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CMPC joining a global initiative against climate change

15 Nov 2021

Increases in heat wave frequencies, concurrent global droughts, even more frequent forest fires, more intense torrential rains and floods, reductions in Arctic Sea ice and rising sea levels, along with their acidification and loss of oxygen through warming are just some of the expected impacts if the Earth warms by more than 1.5 ° C. The Business Ambition for 1.5 ° C campaign was created to limit the negative impacts of climate change on people.

A global coalition made up of UN agencies, together with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Economic Forum (WEF), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), among others, it aims to mobilize the private sector, through companies, unions and industries, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with specific goals based on science and commit to a future of net zero emissions by 2050. 

What is the campaign seeking to achieve? It is a call to action for companies to commit to setting science-based targets that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1. 5 ° C above pre-industrial levels. Some 14 companies have signed up in Chile and 70 in Latin America in total. CMPC is one of them.

The Chilean company joined this initiative because it believes that the forestry and paper sector has an important role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy: Forests have the potential to capture carbon from forests, they store carbon in products and forest products are based on renewable raw materials. In signing the agreement “Science-based net emission reduction targets”, CMPC commits to setting a science-based long-term goal to achieve net zero direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (value chain) by 2050, along with setting science-based milestones, in all relevant areas and in line with SBTi's criteria and recommendations.

The task is complex and long-term as CMPC is committed to ensuring that the net emissions of its entire value chain are zero by 2050. Action is already underway, including mandating that new electricity supply contracts must come from 100% renewable sources, equipment should be upgraded to more efficient alternatives where possible, fossil fuels should be replaced with biofuels or other green energy sources and waste to landfill minimized.

Nicolás Gordon, the company's Sustainability Manager, highlights some of the factors that will be central to achieving the goal: “Innovation will also play a central role in achieving the goal, seeking new alternatives and solutions not currently available. It is also important to highlight the role of new collaborative models, whether in the value chain, new strategic alliances, in our relationship with neighboring communities, and cooperating with academia”.

He adds that “we seek to do our part as the private sector, listening to science to guide our decisions and act based on internationally recognized standards. We understand that a planet under the most severe impacts of climate change is one with fewer opportunities, greater risks and inequality, and therefore this commitment is more of a responsibility. We will only succeed in capping the Earth’s warming to 1.5 ° C if we collaborate - between companies, sectors, states, organizations and other members of society, so we hope that being part of this initiative early will motivate other companies to do the same".

Race to zero

In addition, with this commitment, CMPC becomes part of Race to Zero, a global campaign that is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which brings together the main coalitions promoting Net-Zero and includes more than 120 countries. Together with them, more than 750 cities, 4,400 companies, 700 higher education institutions and 220 of the world's largest investors have joined this campaign that seeks to halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Reducing emissions to 2030, which is pushing Race to Zero, Gordon says is an “ambitious but not impossible goal. Already in 2019, we set the goal of reducing our direct greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 50% by 2030, to which we now add the ambition by 2050 to achieve a balance between emissions and captures, that is, zero net emissions. Today there are technological solutions that allow us to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we are working together with the main equipment suppliers in our industry. In addition, in recent years, renewable energy has gained a strong foothold in many countries, and Chile is no exception. On the other hand, in the transport sector, rapid progress has been made to develop batteries that perform as well as combustion engines. We are more prepared than ever to achieve the changes we need to achieve our goals”.

While optimistic, Gordon warns that some changes will be permanent and that the impacts of climate change will manifest themselves for several generations. “For example, the melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will continue, the same will happen, consequently, with the rise in sea level.”

What role can the forestry industry play?

The contribution of the forest industry to the climate emergency has three main levers. The first is the potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, mainly by producing energy from biomass/renewable sources and promoting the energy transition throughout its value chain. The second area is the ability to offer natural, large-scale, low-cost and proven solutions to remove carbon from the atmosphere, through its plantations and forests, and the storage of carbon in products derived from wood, especially those with a long life. Finally, the forestry industry promotes the circular bioeconomy. Through innovative solutions, it seeks to replace fossil-based goods and services with more sustainable alternatives from renewable raw materials.

One of the actions that CMPC is taking to reduce its emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases is an exhaustive “mapping” of its main sources of emissions and a diagnosis of the ways to reduce or avoid them. Based on this, it has prepared roadmaps, mainly composed of projects and operational improvements, which aim to help the company advance in a strategic and cost-effective manner towards its goals.

“Although climate change generates negative impacts, it also creates opportunities, and consequently it is relevant to be able to identify and evaluate what those risks and opportunities are so we can manage them. Undoubtedly changes will be required in the way we operate, but companies must use all their expertise and innovate to find new solutions that not only contribute to the achievement of the goals but also represent efficiencies and improvements to the current ways of operating ", concludes Gordon.

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