Essity B 263 (+0.1 SEK) on 17-May-2022 15:49

Key action areas for Essity's journey to net zero

We have eight key actions areas:

Sustainable innovations

Our leading hygiene and health solutions constitute the core of our business. Together with partners, we use our experience and resources to accelerate innovation to ensure that our portfolio satisfies customer and consumer demands while contributing to a circular society and net zero future.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. Its effects are far-reaching and global. It is also one of the greatest risks to our business. Everyone needs to act now. We have always worked with sustainability at the core of our business, knowing that what´s good for the people and planet is also good for our business. As one of the world’s leading hygiene and health companies, we have the scale and the reach to take action and contribute to collective action.

We develop products and solutions that require less material and that use low-carbon materials in their production. Our key strategies focus on reusable products and designing to reduce consumption.

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New collaboration models to accelerate innovation

Essity Ventures is a strategic initiative within Essity to lead the change toward more sustainable and digitally advanced health and hygiene solutions. We actively seek partners with sustainable innovations to speed up the journey toward a circular society, creating solutions for new life after use, as well as new business models.

Using less material

We are working continuously to develop smarter designs and superior materials to reduce climate impact throughout the product lifecycle. Thinner products for Incontinence, Baby and Feminine Care help reduce the use of resources while delivering the same or even better performance. Compressed tissue paper and coreless toilet paper rolls are other examples of product innovation leading to less transport resources and waste.

Introducing more reusable products

We are developing new sustainable products by introducing reusable products in our assortment. Examples include menstrual cups, washable period pants and TENA washable absorbent underwear, providing users with more environmentally friendly options.

Looking toward 2050, we will develop ways of scaling up and commercializing these solutions. We are working to find materials and innovations that can meet our high demands on high quality products and at the same time contribute to lower environmental impact and improved circularity.

Our calls for action to policymakers

We need policymakers to support the green transition by:

  • Developing a regulatory framework wich enables sustainable innovations, not limiting incentives to short-term solutions.

  • Considering different recycling possibilities for different materials and products.

  • Developing incentives to stretch the boundaries for circularity.

Low-carbon raw materials

Raw material accounts for a fifth of Essity's emissions. On the journey to net zero, we work to identify and shift to low-carbon materials. At the same time, we act to mitigate deforestation and increase biodiversity.

The largest share of the emissions from sourced raw materials is derived from the fresh fiber, plastics and pulp that we use for our products and packaging. We work closely together with our suppliers to reduce the footprint of sourced materials. This includes encouraging adoption of targets according to SBTi, increase the use of renewable energy and promoting sustainable innovations related to sourced raw materials and packaging. We invest in machinery that enables processing alternative raw material with a lower carbon footprint.

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Increasing renewable and alternative materials

In our efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we are increasing the share of recycled and renewable materials as well as introducing alternative materials. Renewable materials include responsibly sourced fresh fibers, recycled fibers and alternative fibers such as wheat straw. We are also increasing the share of renewable or recycled plastics in our packaging.

An important milestone was the investment of approximately EUR 11m in our Hondouville mill in France, allowing it to extract 98% of paper fibers contained in food and beverage cartons. 

Fighting deforestation and forest degradation

Ensuring the health of the world’s forests will play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally. To ensure that all woodbased fresh fiber used in an Essity product or packaging comes from responsible forestry, we only source certified fiber in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These schemes give special attention to protecting the function of forests as net removers of CO2 from the atmosphere. We invest in concrete projects to strengthen sustainable forest management and prevent deforestation. To act against global deforestation, we take part in global forums, such as the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Forest Positive Coalition of Action.

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Our calls for action to policymakers

We need policymakers to support the green transition by:

  • Applying life cycle assessments, standards and harmonized labeling to stimulate demand for low-carbon options.

  • Recognizing certification systems, such as FSC and PEFC, in policy development to secure a credible chain of custody for renewable materials.

  • Promoting well-functioning markets for secondary raw materials.

Fossil fuel free production

Going fossil free in an industry that is traditionally energy intensive is one of our most important and challenging tasks in becoming net zero emitters by 2050. To achieve this, we are committed to redefining the standards of the industry and investing in breakthrough technology.

Investing in decarbonization

A transition to renewable fuels requires alternatives that are not available at scale today. The most interesting alternatives for Essity in the near future include hydrogen, geothermal steam, sustainable biomass and synthetic biogas.

We have already made significant progress with a biomass-powered plant in Lilla Edet, Sweden. In our site in Kawerau, New Zealand, we have invested in the world’s first tissue machine running a fully geothermal steam drying process. Through reduction in pulp consumption, reduced waste and eliminating the use of natural gas for power, the improvements in Kawerau will contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions of 23%.

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Supporting the expansion of renewable electricity

Today, all of our European production sites making Baby, Feminine and Inco products run on certified renewable electricity. This will be scaled up to more sites worldwide.

Fossil fuel free production

Biogas-powered plant
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"By completely replacing natural gas with biogas and shifting to certified renewable electricity, our Lilla Edet production facility in Sweden is reducing its fossil fuel CO2 emissions to zero during normal production. It is the world’s first largescale tissue facility with fossil CO2 emission-free production."

- Christian Carlsson, Site Manager Lilla Edet

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Resource efficiency

The global consumption of resources contributes to a growing scarcity of materials and an increase in emissions. At Essity, we have longstanding experience of working with resource efficiency.

Small streams make great rivers. By nurturing a culture of resource efficiency, we have successfully cut emissions from energy use by 15% between 2016 and 2021. When working toward 2050, we must leave no stone unturned and engage all employees on our journey to net zero.

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Investing in state-of-the-art technology

We cooperate with external stakeholders, such as machinery suppliers and expert organizations, to ensure continued leadership, energy efficiency in materials and continuous improvements. All new equipment is resource efficient by design and when we invest in rebuilds, we always include state-of-the-art technological solutions. 

Sharing best practices worldwide

Listening to and involving our employees in our daily improvement activities is key to our success in becoming more resource efficient. We leverage knowledge-sharing across the company through trainings and networks. Best practices are shared digitally in real-time to achieve energy excellence by learning from others.

Digitalization in manufacturing

Digitalization in manufacturing We are implementing digital solutions throughout our operations, including AI-powered prescriptive maintenance, smart sensors, advanced data analytics, robotization and automation to achieve resource efficiency. This enables efficient runnability and lower waste from our machines.

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Breakthrough technology

We believe that breakthrough technology is pivotal for decarbonization. By mobilizing internal teams and cooperating externally with research institutes and leading technology partners, Essity is taking responsibility for driving a sustainable net zero transition.

We build test labs and show proof-of-concept for ground-breaking ideas to accelerate the necessary transition of manufacturing. We have already shown that we can scale up breakthrough technology by developing the first integrated tissue mill in the world to start large-scale production of tissue from wheat straw.

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Zero production waste

Essity works actively to turn production waste into a valuable resource with the target to reach zero production waste by 2030.

Our production process generates waste in the form of ash, sludge, organic waste and plastic, particularly when recycled fiber is used as input goods. Our production sites work to reduce and find alternative solutions for waste. By reducing the amount waste sent to landfill and instead recycling waste or extracting energy from it, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2021, 64% of our production waste was recovered. 

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Converting waste into valuable resources

At Essity, we are working with specialists to convert the sludge and plastic rejects from our process into circular solutions such as fiber, energy, animal bedding and plastic packaging. Looking toward 2050, we will develop efficient ways to roll out these technologies on a larger scale.

Our calls for action to policymakers

We need policymakers to support the green transition by:

  • Supporting innovative tools that solve effective recovery of production waste.

  • Promoting well-functioning markets for secondary raw materials.

Clean transportation

Our 2050 ambition will require cleaner and leaner logistics network that delivers material from our suppliers to our plants, and our products to distribution centers around the world.

Today, sea freight represents the largest share of Essity’s inbound transportation, while outbound transportation mainly comprises of road and rail freight. Essity will utilize a range of strategies to advance progress toward the net zero ambition.

Focus on clean vehicle technology

We are shifting to more sustainable transport modes like short-sea, rail and intermodal. By demanding the highest emissions standards when sourcing freight and piloting alternative fuels, we are utilizing the latest technology available in the market. We are making a stepwise transition to battery electric vehicles for road freight and alternative fossil-free fuels for sea freight and road transportation.

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Collaboration to reduce emissions

We actively connect with green logistics programs, the logistics industry, governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as benchmarking and auditing organizations.

We participate in local projects and partnerships with customers and suppliers to jointly reduce emissions from transportation. One key initiative trialing new technologies with suppliers, such as CNG-trucks* for shuttles and electric trucks for last-mile shipments.

*CNG, compressed natural gas, is a fuel gas that has significantly less direct emissions than petrol or diesel.

Our calls for action to policymakers

We need policymakers to support the green transition by:

  • Working with the transport sector to ensure vehicle emissions standards that are compatible with climate neutrality targets.

  • Promoting fuel efficiency and the shift to low and zero emission transport modes.

Less waste after use

Emissions from the disposal of products account for around one fourth of our total greenhouse gas footprint. We take action to reduce waste after use through our packaging commitments and by innovating recycling processes to create new life after use.

The greenhouse gas footprint from the waste after use is primarily driven by emissions from the incineration of plastic after use and products being sent to landfill. In addition to designing reusable products or products made from renewable and recycled materials, Essity focuses on improving recyclability and investing in circularity after use.

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Improving recyclability

We have committed to making 100% of our packaging technically recyclable by 2025. This means that we are improving packaging design to reduce the use of materials and facilitating recycling using existing infrastructures. In 2021, 81% of our total packaging and 73% of our plastic packaging were recyclable. 

Investing in circularity after use

To reduce waste and create new uses for materials included in our products and packaging, we develop innovative solutions to reduce consumption as well as new business models for recycling. For example, to reduce waste, we offer compostable tissue products and the Tork PaperCircle recycling service has been expanded to ten markets. To address plastic recycling, Essity joined the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative in 2021, which uses a digital watermark to improve sorting and increase the recycling rate of plastic packaging in the EU.

Working together for systematic change

As part of our contribution to the transition to a circular society, Essity has been a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation since 2018. We are a signatory of the EMF New Plastic Economy, the purpose of which is to ensure that plastics never become waste.

Our commitment includes the following:

  • Take action to eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging.

  • Review reuse models where relevant.

  • Make 100% of plastic packaging recyclable by 2025.

  • Use 25% recycled plastics by 2025.

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Our calls for action to policymakers

We need policymakers to support the green transition by:

  • Promoting well-functioning collection and waste systems to contribute to increased recycling, composting or incineration.

  • Introducing harmonized labelling to help consumers dispose of products properly.

  • Facilitating collection of separate waste streams to promote circular services such as Tork PaperCircle.