New 20-year partnership with WWF aims to help roof window specialist offset 100 years of carbon emissions through global reforestation and afforestation projects
Velux Group has promised to become a 'lifetime carbon neutral' firm by 2041, a commitment that will see it work with WWF to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it has emitted through operations and power since its founding in 1941.
The Danish roof window manufacturer today became the latest firm to commit to a carbon reduction programme that goes beyond net zero emissions, announcing sweeping plans to offset its historic carbon footprint - which it pins at around 5.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - by investing in forest and biodiversity projects developed for Velux by WWF.
The first two forest projects in the 20-year partnership will be in Uganda and Myanmar and focus on restoring and protecting degraded forests and conserving and boosting biodiversity in collaboration with local communities.
Velux chief executive David Briggs said the firm was launching the "innovative new commitment" in order to address the interlocking climate and nature crises, which he said required "extraordinary action".
"We will also dramatically reduce our future CO2 emissions and ask our suppliers to do the same," he said. "Hopefully other companies will be inspired to become 'lifetime carbon neutral' in order to create a sustainable future for all."
WWF International director general Marco Lambertini urged other companies to follow Velux's lead and adopt lifetime carbon neutral commitments.
"Embracing a commitment aligned with a 1.5C world while also protecting important forest landscapes and biodiversity - and the crucial services they provide to communities and the economy - is in line with a climate responsible and nature positive future that will serve as the foundation for achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals," he said. "Together, we hope to that other organisations will be inspired by the Velux Carbon Neutral and raise the bar for corporate climate and nature action globally."
Because no standard methodology exists to calculate a historic carbon footprint, Velux said it had developed a "unique" method to calculate its lifetime carbon emissions that is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard and applied to historical data. The methodology will be independently verified by consultancy Carbon Trust and reviewed by WWF, Velux said.
Velux' lifetime carbon neutral commitment is part of its new 2030 Sustainability Strategy, which also commits the company to reducing its operational and value chain carbon emissions in line with a 1.5 degree warming scenario recommended by the Paris Agreement.
To do this, the firm intends to boost investments in energy efficiency at its production sites, transition all its operations to renewable energy, and make changes to the way it specifies and purchases materials.
Today's commitment sees Velux joins a small but growing number of companies that have committed to achieving carbon reductions that go beyond net zero emissions over the decades to come. The trend was sparked earlier this year by Microsoft, which in January pledged to become 'net negative' by 2030 and to capture as much carbon dioxide from the air by mid-century as it has emitted since in its foundation in 1975.
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