Scientists endorse Ørsted’s long-term decarbonisation targets

Ørsted becomes first energy firm to have long-term goal validated as in line with limiting global warming to 1.5C

Ørsted aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2040
Ørsted aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2040

Scientists have validated Ørsted’s targets for reaching net-zero emissions across its full value chain by 2040 as being consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The Danish renewables developer is the first energy company to have long-term decarbonisation targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a panel of independent scientists.

Swedish utility Vattenfall and turbine manufacturers Vestas and Siemens Gamesa have all had short-term decarbonisation targets through to 2030 approved by the SBTi, but Ørsted is the first to have a long-term goal for 2040 validated, an SBTi spokeswoman noted.

The SBTi today (28 October) launched a new standard setting criteria for what a net-zero target consistent with the 1.5C scenario looks like, including a cap of 5-10% on the amount of residual emissions that companies can offset through carbon removal projects.

It has also validated the targets of seven companies including Ørsted, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and cement producer Holcim, and aims to begin validating more companies from January 2022.

Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the SBTi, said: “Companies are currently self-defining net-zero targets without credible and independent assessment of their ambition and integrity.

“For the first time, the SBTi net-zero standard offers companies robust certification to demonstrate to consumers, investors and regulators that their net-zero targets are reducing emissions at the pace and scale required to keep global warming to 1.5°C.”

Long-term plan

Ørsted aims to:

  • Reduce its scope 1 (occurring from sources controlled or owned by Ørsted) and scope 2 (occurring from generation of power purchased by Ørsted) emissions by at least 98% by 2025, compared to a 2006 baseline;
  • Reach net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040;
  • Halve its scope 3 (occurring from Ørsted’s entire value chain, including suppliers) emissions by 2032 from a 2018 baseline.

Ørsted claims it is on track to meet its scope 1 and 2 emissions targets as it phases out coal and builds out green energy.

It is gradually reducing its natural gas sourcing portfolio and has launched a supply chain decarbonisation programme, engaging with suppliers to reduce emissions from the goods and services it sources to meet its scope 3 targets, the company added.

The Danish firm has also committed to neutralising any residual emissions that it is unable to cut by 2040 through certified carbon removal projects.

More than two-thirds of the global economy now aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the SBTi. However despite this trend, pathways to meet net-zero emissions have been translated in varying and inconsistent ways.

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