The Lifetime Carbon Neutral commitment: Taking responsibility for past and future carbon emissions. VELUX-WWF partnership to capture the VELUX Group’s historical carbon emissions through forest conservation.
At a time when the planet is facing dual climate and nature crises, VELUX is raising the bar for corporate climate and nature action by taking responsibility of our past and future carbon emissions to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral. We will reduce our future carbon footprint in line with science (1.5˚ C pathway) and have partnered with WWF to capture our historical carbon footprint through forest conservation. This will help halt habitat loss and preserve biodiversity. We will capture approx. 5.6 million tonnes of CO2e (incl. a 25% buffer), which is the equivalent to VELUX Group’s historical CO2 emissions since our foundation in 1941 and up to our 100-year anniversary in 2041 (scope 1 and 2)
By partnering with WWF to develop five new forest projects, we are protecting and restoring forests in critical landscapes with some of the most carbon and biodiverse rich environments in the world. The projects will help combat climate change by sequestering CO2, and VELUX will become a carbon neutral company and halve our carbon emissions from our value chain by 2030. This approach integrates environmental and social indicators. WWF is managing the projects and ensuring local populations will benefit from our forest projects and that biodiversity and nature will be in focus. We hope to help drive climate action by inspiring other companies to take similar steps. To our knowledge, we are among the first companies in the world – and the first in the construction industry - to take responsibility for both past and future carbon emissions.
The partnership and commitment to capture our historical carbon footprint support several SDGs. Firstly, SDG 17, by encouraging partnerships and mobilising financial resources for developing countries; secondly, SDG 13, as we are stepping up to address climate change by setting ambitious carbon reduction targets, and at the same time capturing our historical carbon footprint; and thirdly, SDG 15, by protecting biodiversity hot-spots and mitigating biodiversity loss. The partnership aims to create a catalytic effect and inspire other companies to take similar action supporting the 2030 Agenda.
The Lifetime Carbon Neutral commitment was launched as part of the VELUX Group’s Sustainability Strategy 2030 – effectively starting 1st January 2021. We have set specific selection criteria for all of the expected forest projects to ensure they will deliver measurable results for biodiversity, communities and climate and that they are sustainable. Respect of human rights, support to and local involvement from communities and authorities, and the fact that the projects provide incentives for the local populations are a must. The forest projects in Uganda and Myanmar are in the process of being started up, and WWF is working closely with stakeholders on the ground. WWF will ensure that thorough Environmental and Social Safeguard measures are in place for the WWF landscape programmes that the projects are part of. The forest projects will continuously be reviewed, adjusted and refined to ensure that our promise – to capture the Group’s historical carbon footprint – is met and that they deliver the best possible benefits to the environment and biodiversity, and to local communities. All the forest projects will be validated and certified by third party auditors and registered with a recognised carbon standard, such as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) under Verra. Verra runs a publicly available and transparent registry of all projects under their standards. Here, all information, i.e. monitoring reports and progress on climate and other targets, such as community and biodiversity, is publicly available. The registry can be accessed via the Verra website https://registry.verra.org/ We do not disclose specific financial figures for our partnership due to sensitivity of commercial information reflected in contractual agreements.
Lessons from other WWF forest projects are that they create greater resilience in communities through improved knowledge, social anchoring and an ability to manage natural resources. Besides capturing carbon, the WWF forest projects provide alternative livelihoods for communities. Communities engage in profitable and sustainable activities, such as climate smart agriculture and agroforestry in order to improve the efficiency of agricultural production. Climate smart agricultural practices will contribute to improved food security as well as providing an alternative source of income to unsustainable forest harvesting. Our aim is to accelerate climate action, address nature loss, and to integrate this into our company long-term thinking, for the benefit of our business and society at large. ‘Lifetime Carbon Neutral’ is about ensuring that we protect the environment today and for future generations, because we believe that this will ultimately lead to greater prosperity for all.
Innovation: The VELUX-WWF partnership capturing historical carbon footprint through forest conservation is – as far as we know – the first of its kind. In addition, a method for calculating historical CO2 emissions, which did not previously exist, is now developed and is also verified by Carbon Trust (in accordance with Green House Gas criteria), and reviewed by WWF experts. The method is replicable and made readily available for other companies. The long-term partnership commitment and strong presence and involvement of local communities on the ground will help ensure sustainability of capacity build within sustainable forest management.
The method for calculating historical carbon emissions is made available to interested parties. Both VELUX and WWF have entered dialogues with companies interested in going above and beyond net-zero ambitions in their carbon- and biodiversity efforts and in knowing more about the approach to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral. In addition to the WWF partnership, we are transforming our entire business - from production to sourcing and logistics - and will operate as a carbon neutral company by 2030 (scope 1 and 2) and reduce the carbon footprint of our value chain by 50% (scope 3) in line with science. We will, inter alia, accelerate investments in energy efficiency at production sites, shift to renewable energy and purchase 100% renewable electricity. The Lifetime Carbon Neutral approach aims to accelerate broad corporate action to combat climate change. Both VELUX and WWF are convinced that this may lead to a significant positive impact, if scaled up and replicated by more companies.
COVID-19 has partly influenced the speed of delivery in terms of finalising agreements in Uganda and Myanmar; and if the pandemic drags out, this might lead to further minor delays. However, so far there is enough flexibility and robustness in the programme to counter the COVID-19 impact.
SDGS & Targets
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Deliverables & Timeline
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Five countries, three to be defined during the next years. So far forest projects in Uganda (northern part of the Albertine Rift – “the Galapagos of Africa”) and Myanmar (the Tanintharyi region) have been identified and scoped.