Industry has traditionally relied on energy produced by burning finite fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. When burned, fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide (CO2) that builds up in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Scientists have advised that global CO2 emissions must be cut by 80% by 2050 to avert the worst impacts of climate change. To cut emissions, we must reduce energy use and find renewable, low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels.
We aim to reduce our total energy use by improving the efficiency of our operations and to use 100% renewable energy by 2020.
We purchase renewable electricity from the grid and invest in on-site renewable energy generation. Currently, 91% of the electricity we use and 30% of our total energy consumption globally is from renewable sources.
We also offer carbon offsets to our customers and employees. We have strong principles on the use of offsets, including on how they are calculated and on marketing claims associated with them.
Our sites around the world have introduced many initiatives to reduce energy use, cut emissions and change the way we do business.
• Since 1996 we have achieved an actual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 35% from baseline.
• Normalised total energy use is down by 43% since 1996
Putting our approach into practice in Europe
Cutting product carbon emissions
Over the past few years, we have reduced the average carbon footprint per square metre of carpet significantly by:
• Introducing our microtuft ranges, which contains up to 50% less oil-based yarn than other products
• Increasing the amount of recycled content used in our products, reducing the need for virgin materials
• Increasing sales of low-carbon products
• Switching to 100% renewable electricity to power our European manufacturing (see below)
• Improving energy efficiency at manufacturing sites. For example we:
- Installed fluorescent lights in the warehouse at Shelf, UK, controlled by motion sensors
- Use outside air to cool buildings at Craigavon, Northern Ireland
- Replaced one bulb from each two bulb fitting at Scherpenzeel, the Netherlands, with aluminium reflectors providing the same or better lighting.
We use 100% green electricity at our sites in Europe. All the electricity we purchase from the grid comes from certified renewable sources including wind farms, small-scale hydro and biomass.
Our sites have also invested in a number of on-site renewable energy generation initiatives. For example, solar panels installed on the roof of the Scherpenzeel factory generate 7,000 kWh per year, while motorized mirrors direct natural light into the building throughout the day and reduce the need for electric lighting by 75%.
Our approach to carbon offsetting
We see carbon offsets as the last step in our climate change strategy, after every effort has been made to improve energy efficiency and use alternative fuels where possible. Customers can offset emissions from the entire lifecycle of their carpet through our Cool Carpet programme.
The projects we invest in to reduce emissions in emerging markets - through our offset partners - are certified according to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).
3. Renewable energy
Our objective: Reducing our energy demands while substituting non-renewable sources with renewable ones like solar, wind, biomass or landfill gas.