In July 2018, LM Wind Power achieved what no company in the wind industry has achieved before: We are now a carbon neutral business! What does that mean for our company, our industry and our planet?
We’ve been on the sustainable business pathway since 2015 – a commitment to ‘walk the talk’ and live our company vision, ‘Together, we capture the wind to power a cleaner world’.
This commitment enjoys the unified support of everyone in our company, from our Chief Executive, to our colleagues producing blades in plants and offices around the world.
“CleanLM proved that greener business is leaner business, contributing to profitability and making the world a better place!” said Christopher Springham, Vice President, Global Communications and Sustainability. “We achieved carbon neutrality together – and with more than 10,000 passionate advocates to tell that story, we now have a chance to inspire real change in our industry and beyond.”
The big idea?
The main idea is that we should take responsibility and clean up the mess we make, to protect our planet. We should reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases and compensate for harm done.
As a wind energy company, it makes sense to design our products with their whole life cycle impact in mind. And it certainly makes sense to power our business with renewable energy. Thus, our CleanLM program was born in December 2016, when we pledged to take LM Wind Power Carbon Neutral in 2018. Now, we’ve achieved it!
By taking this step, we took the lead across the entire wind industry. Now, we will share how we did it and challenge other companies to follow our lead.
What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon neutrality is influenced by a global agreement on greenhouse gas reporting – the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. It refers to having a net zero carbon footprint, by balancing emissions with an equal amount of reductions and offsets.
Almost everything we do releases emissions: transportation, energy consumption and our industrial processes used to make blades. The carbon neutrality concept may be extended to include other greenhouse gases (GHG) measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalence (CO2e) — the impact a GHG has on the atmosphere expressed in the equivalent amount of CO2.
Carbon neutral is sometimes referred to as ‘climate neutral’ – the terms are interchangeable.
How did we achieve it?
Achieving carbon neutrality began with a close look at our sustainability data – How much electricity do we use? How much waste do we dispose of? How much do we travel? The list goes on.
At 41% of emissions in 2016, we soon realized that electricity usage across our company was the first area we needed to take on. We analyzed our energy use all over the world and planned to switch to 100% renewable energy, through a combination of energy generated ourselves and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
“We have identified savings on our energy bills through close scrutiny of our energy use in plants and facilities – and these savings more than cover the costs of the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets we bought to offset our remaining emissions,” said Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen, Senior Manager, Global Communications & Sustainability.
Lene continued: “We expect to achieve further savings through our switch to PPAs for renewable energy and as we buy electricity derived from wind energy, we create further demand for our products. Finally, our carbon offsets are acquired from projects which themselves foster the use of renewable energy while supporting local communities with further benefits such as education, or jobs.”
Carbon neutrality achieved – what next?
We won’t stop now. Carbon neutrality is the ongoing balance between the amount of carbon released in our business, with an equivalent amount we offset. Starting with a close look at our electricity usage revealed major savings on both costs and emissions.
Imagine what we could achieve if every LM Wind Power employee took on the challenge – What can I do to reduce the emissions from our activities and process? How can I reduce our impact on the planet?
Stay tuned for more stories from colleagues around the world who are doing just that!
How low can our emissions go?
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