Smurfit Kappa has claimed a 43.9% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2005 in its sixteenth annual Sustainable Development Report, apparently keeping the company on target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The report ranges between January and December 2022 and examines the company’s progress in capital investments, operational improvement, and collaborations with both customers and other key stakeholders. Last year’s achievements are said to have included the successful trial of hydrogen at its Saillat paper mill and the completion of a multi-fuel boiler at its Zülpich paper mill, a move thought to have cut its emissions by 25%.

The report also highlights the announcement of a €100 million investment into a decarbonisation project in Cali, Colombia, in what is apparently Smurfit Kappa’s largest decarbonisation project to date; and the commencement of a district heating project in Austria, which is expected to benefit 20,000 homes across three communities.

Progress has also been made in pursuit of its Better Planet 2050 sustainability targets, according to the company. It reports a 43.9% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2005, with 4% of that figure having been achieved in 2022. Furthermore, its reduction in water consumption has been placed at 2.1%.

Since 2013, its waste-to-landfill intensity is thought to have decreased by 24%, while its packaging solutions sold as Chain of Custody certified reached 94.3%. It also records €18.4 million social investments made since 2020, a 13.6% reduction in Total Recordable Injury Rate, and a 22% rise in management positions held by women since 2021, ending the year at 23.5%.

Smurfit Kappa also received two ‘Top Rated’ badges from Morningstar Sustainalytics in 2022 for both ‘regional’ and ‘industry’ out-performance – awards that are said to have improved ratings build on the improved CDP climate rating of A- achieved in 2022 and its MSCI AA rating.

“I am pleased that we have continued to deliver on our sustainability strategy not just because of what we achieved in 2022 but because of our planning and actions which extend beyond the short term,” said Group CEO Tony Smurfit. “Smurfit Kappa’s purpose to create, protect and care continues to drive the changes needed to nurture a greener and bluer planet.

“Some of the significant sustainability achievements detailed in our latest SDR have included collaborative projects with participants from across our value-chain, a truly open and progressive approach to solving the major challenges facing society.”

Garrett Quinn, chief sustainability officer at Smurfit Kappa, continued: “The value and importance of transparency in reporting on sustainability continue to grow. Earlier this month, Smurfit Kappa issued a report together with the Financial Times that found, whilst the corporate world has a lot of ambition and commitments, open, assured reporting and delivery is often lacking.

“For sixteen years, Smurfit Kappa has produced a comprehensive sustainability development report that has been third party assured since 2009. In a world increasingly concerned with greenwashing we hope this history of public, assured reporting, coupled with our continued delivery each year, gives all our stakeholders confidence in the Group’s sustainability strategy and delivery against its commitments.”

So far in 2023, Smurfit Kappa has invested €27 million into a new waste management and recovery facility at its Nervión paper mill, as well as collaborating with the HYFLEXPOWER consortium to complete the first stage of its research project on renewable energy, which saw the introduction of an integrated hydrogen gas turbine demonstrator.

Towards the end of last year, WWF released its ReSource: Plastic programme’s third annual public report, containing such findings as a 3,100 metric ton reduction of problematic plastics and a 35% increase in the utilisation of recycled content across all its featured members.