Bayer's global goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 but in Finland this ambitious goal was reached at top speed already for 2021. Bayer Finland reduced its emissions by a remarkable 89 percent in three years, and the emissions that could not be eliminated due to the nature of the operations will be fully offset.
The ambitious goal of climate neutrality was achieved at great speed in the operative functions* of Bayer Finland. All in all, Bayer Finland reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 89 percent between 2018 and 2021, from 15,600 tons to 1,800 tons (CO2e). A reduction of 13,800 tons in three years is equal to the annual carbon footprint of about 1,500 people in Finland.
“Companies have a significant role in reducing emissions. Unless we stave off climate change together in all sectors of society, the conditions on the planet will deteriorate for both individuals and corporations,” says Kati Nyman, Head of Communications and Public and Government Affairs at Bayer Nordic. She continues:
“We at Bayer want our growth to be both ecologically and economically sustainable. Economic success also provides us with an opportunity to innovate and reform our operations to become even more sustainable. At the same time as we have reduced our emissions, we have made significant investments in developing our operations and ensuring reliable deliveries, and also been one of the biggest corporate tax payers in Finland.”
The majority of Bayer's carbon dioxide emissions are generated at its Supply Center in Turku, and this facility has succeeded in reducing its emissions significantly by transferring to renewable energy. Since the start of 2020, Bayer has required a certificate from all its energy suppliers, verifying that the electricity and heat used by the Supply Center is generated using only renewable energy forms. The steam for the production facility is produced at Turku Energia's wood chip plant that was built in Bayer's industrial area, and the plant is utilized by other companies in the area as well. Even though the transfer to renewable energy has considerably reduced the emissions at the Turku site, further efforts to improve the energy efficiency of the facility are under way.
“We are investing 250 million euros in developing and expanding our production facility in Turku. Once the construction is complete in 2025, the extension to the facility will naturally be carbon neutral and energy efficient,” says Tomi Penttilä, Head of Bayer's Supply Center in Turku.
One factor contributing to the reduction in emissions has been a decrease in business travel. Covid-19 led to a digital leap also at Bayer, and the virtual tools that were implemented make it possible to keep business travel at low levels after the pandemic as well.
Finnish forest owners compensated through carbon offsetting
Even though Bayer Finland has managed to significantly reduce its emissions during the last three years, it has not been possible to fully eliminate all emissions due to production reasons. Therefore, Bayer has decided to offset the remaining carbon footprint in collaboration with NGS Finland. Since the majority of the emissions generated via the operations of the pharmaceutical company have been eliminated, only about 11 percent of the starting level, i.e. the amount of emissions in 2018, needs to be offset for the year 2021.
85 percent of the offset is achieved by postponing the felling of forests that have reached their regeneration felling age of about 60 to 80 years. In practice, this will be done by paying a compensation to private citizens who own forests in Finland to postpone the felling. As more of the forests grow for a longer time, a larger percentage of the trees grow into saw timber wood that retains carbon for a long time in the products and building materials produced from it. The remaining 15 percent of the offset is made by planting trees. Bayer's offsetting program has helped conserve about 60 hectares during the last few years, and about 6 hectares of new forest has been planted in Finland. In total, the conserved and forested areas correspond to nearly 95 football fields in size.
As part of Bayer Finland's environmental sustainability program, Bayer has also acquired a forested area of about 10 hectares in Turku to inspire and engage the personnel in climate acts and spend time in the forest. The possibilities for recreational activities in the area are developed further in 2022.
“Our goal is to continue to be a pioneer in sustainable growth. We strive to further reduce our emissions and also encourage our personnel to consider the environment in all activities,” says Penttilä.
*Emissions from the operative functions of Bayer Finland include Scope 1 and 2 emissions in their entirety and for Scope 3 the indirect emissions generated through business travel, waste management, and energy generation.
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