Kingspan targets net zero carbon manufacturing by 2030

Left to right: Gene Murtagh, chief executive officer of Kingspan and Bianca Wong, global head of sustainability at Kingspan
Left to right: Gene Murtagh, chief executive officer of Kingspan and Bianca Wong, global head of sustainability at Kingspan

Kingspan has published its inaugural “Planet Passionate” Sustainability Report, which outlines the company’s decarbonisation programme to reduce carbon emissions in manufacturing to as close to zero as technically possible.

In the first year of its strategy, Kingspan met the goal it set in 2011 to achieve Net Zero Energy by 2020. Now, the primary focus is on absolute decarbonisation of both its own operations (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) and its suppliers (Scope 3 emissions).

In 2020, Kingspan reduced emissions from operations by 5.2%, a first step towards net zero carbon manufacturing by 2030. This will require transformation of its processes across its existing 166 manufacturing sites, while supporting newly acquired businesses to decarbonise as quickly as possible.

Kingspan has also committed to reduce the carbon intensity of its primary raw materials by 50% by 2030. This will reduce the embodied carbon in its products and further enhance the significant carbon savings that Kingspan products already deliver. Insulation products sold by Kingspan in 2020 will save an estimated 164 million tonnes of emissions over their lifetime.

The company has also issued the largest ever corporate Green Private Placement to raise €750 million in September 2020, and raised a further €50 million Green Loan to fund specific Planet Passionate initiatives.

Planet Passionate is made up of 12 ambitious targets, addressing the impact of Kingspan’s business operations and manufacturing on four key areas of energy, carbon, circularity and water.

Kingspan 2020 Planet Passionate highlights include:

  • Energy: 29 GWh of energy generated from renewable sources on its own sites in 2020, representing 4.9% of total energy use and a five-fold increase in on-site generation since 2012.
  • Carbon: 5.2% reduction in absolute Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions; conversion of 11% of annual replacement cars to zero emissions cars.
  • Circularity: 573 million plastic (PET) bottles recycled into insulation manufacturing processes – placing Kingspan on track to upcycling 1 billion PET bottles per annum by 2025; achievement of net zero waste to landfill by Kingspan’s Tate business in 2020.
  • Water: 21 million litres of Kingspan’s water usage is harvested from rainwater.

Gene Murtagh, chief executive officer of Kingspan, said: “Our Planet Passionate targets demand radical thinking and action. Our aim is to get as close to zero emissions in our manufacturing as technically possible by transforming our processes.

“Industry has a vital role to play in addressing the threat of climate change, and we are proud to have achieved a 5.2% reduction in our carbon emissions in the first year of this plan. Our target of halving the carbon intensity of primary raw materials used in our supply chain will also lower the embodied carbon in our products, and consequently the whole life carbon of buildings.”

Bianca Wong, global head of sustainability at Kingspan, added: “In 2011, Kingspan Group set an incredibly ambitious target for our global operations to achieve Net Zero Energy by 2020, and we have delivered this as a first major milestone in our Planet Passionate plan.

“This programme helped build essential knowledge, structures and commitment within the business, which are all critical to achieving the next phase of our decarbonisation journey by 2030.

Kingspan has joined over 1,200 companies worldwide in committing to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), setting verified targets in 2018.

Kingspan leadership on sustainability issues was also recognised in 2020 through its position on the Climate “A” List for a fourth year by CDP, the international not-for-profit that measures the environmental impact of thousands of companies around the world.

The company was also recognised by CDP as a Supplier Engagement Leader in 2020, placing it among the top 7% of the 8,400 companies assessed for supplier engagement on climate change.

Additionally, during 2020, Kingspan’s new LIFECycle product circularity framework was launched, which will be used to both evaluate and drive circularity in Kingspan’s products. Using LIFECycle, Kingspan is co-creating new concept products with suppliers with plans to launch pioneering circular insulation solutions in the near future.

This year’s Planet Passionate annual report also updates that an innovative chemical recycling solution has been proven at laboratory scale for end-of-life QuadCore insulated panels and PIR insulation boards, and announces plans to open two recycling hubs using this technology to facilitate take-back and reprocessing of site-waste and end-of-life products later in 2021.