Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today and is creating risks and opportunities for businesses across all industries.
At Avient, we recognize that sustainable business practices can positively impact the issue of climate change. We are committed to doing our part in what must be a multi-faceted, global approach throughout supply chains and all stakeholders to successfully address the issue. While we remain focused on achieving our 2030 GHG and energy goals, we believe further actions and strong leadership are critical to addressing climate change and ensuring a stable and sustainable planet.
That is why, in support of the objectives of the Paris Agreement, we announced our ambition to achieve operational carbon neutrality by 2050 and aligned goals with our RE100 commitment.
We know the path to achieving carbon neutrality will not be easy. We have been working with internal and external stakeholders to understand how we can achieve our commitment to become carbon neutral in line with climate science. We understand that the path forward will present unique and complex challenges. It will require new ways of operating, new technologies, and innovation of more sustainable products. Some technologies needed are not yet available at scale, which limits our ability to take certain actions in the short term. However, by taking advantage of developments in longer-term carbon management and removal technologies and circularity, we are committed to enabling positive climate impacts across our value chain.
Supporting a broader climate transition will require continuous improvement through:
The transition to a carbon neutral world is a shared responsibility that requires innovation, collaboration, new partnerships, and the support of effective policymaking. We value the collaboration and partnership to drive change and are committed to engaging with our customers, suppliers, and other partners to encourage collective action and help promote the innovations needed to enable a sustainable future.
To drive progress toward carbon neutrality, Avient’s low carbon transition plan targets intermediate (2030) goals around Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) sources of greenhouse gas emissions. These targets are in line with prevailing climate science limits that keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius as detailed by the Paris Agreement and Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi). Furthermore, Avient has instituted an internal cost of carbon to encourage investments in low-carbon and carbon-free technologies. This increases the visibility of, and encourages accountability for, the impact of carbon emissions on the business. In 2022, we established the cost of carbon to better reflect the updated insights into the actual price of CO2 to society, and is within the ranges of the scenarios we use for assessing climate transition risks.
Avient’s approach to reducing our greenhouse gases and other emissions is focused on four main areas: increasing equipment and building energy efficiency, process transformation, expanding the use of renewable or low-carbon energy, and supporting technology breakthroughs by meeting our customer’s sustainable solution needs. The overall management strategy for our emission reduction program is led by Avient’s Planet Sub-Committee of the Sustainability Council. This committee is comprised of global operations and sourcing leaders and ensures continual progress towards our Sustainability Goals and operational efficiency goals. Execution of this strategy is achieved by our business segments working closely with our individual facilities, the EH&S team, and the Planet Sub-Committee.
Most of Avient’s Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions are attributable to the consumption of energy. Strategic plans at the facility and Business level include planned efforts to achieve sustainability and operational goals. In 2022, we were able to further optimize energy consumption through executing over 120 energy saving projects around the world. For detailed information on these projects, our energy and carbon performance, risks and opportunities presented by climate change, and associated governance systems, we invite you to read our most recent Climate Change Report submitted to CDP and third party verified.
Scope 3 emissions include upstream emissions from products and services we procure from suppliers, as well as downstream emissions from the transportation of our products and the emissions generated from the use and disposal of our sold products. While Avient has been estimating various categories of Scope 3 emissions for several years, in 2022 we embarked on a project to fully capture information related to all fifteen categories of these emissions. Understanding these emissions is important to Avient. We have found that Scope 3 emissions are many times greater than our combined Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Approximately 90% of our Scope 3 emissions come from purchased goods and services and downstream processing of sold products (55% and 24% respectively). This highlights how critical it is to collaborate with suppliers and customers across our value chain to reduce emissions.
Continuous improvement efforts led Avient to initiate a targeted assessment of 460 suppliers and our 20 largest customers to assess carbon emissions data availability and reduction plans. This assessment identified that less than 50% of suppliers and customers assessed have existing greenhouse gas commitments. This data is being utilized to define our capabilities to influence these stakeholders and initiate mutually beneficial partnerships. These partnerships will be leveraged to further improve the accuracy of our Scope 3 values along with our ability to take action and track progress toward future emissions reduction goals.