31/08/2021 – Environment / Carbon Emissions / Net Zero / Sustainability / Birla Carbon / India
Birla Carbon announces aspiration of Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050
Birla Carbon – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbon black and a flagship company of Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group – has committed to reducing its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
The announcement is seen as a natural progression in Birla Carbon's leadership in the area of Sustainability and circularity. Birla Carbon recently announced the availability of Sustainable Carbonaceous Materials (SCM) through the launch of its Continua™ brand.
Birla Carbon's net zero announcement aligns with The Paris Agreement, signed as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate-change mitigation, adaptation and finance. It also aligns with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Tire Industry Project SDG Roadmap, aimed at addressing health and environmental impacts associated with the life-cycle impact of tires towards a sustainable future.
Over 160 years of “extraordinary innovation”
Birla Carbon provides innovative sustainable carbon black solutions that enhance the performance of paints and coatings, inks and toners, plastics, adhesives, sealants, textile fibres, mechanical rubber goods, and tires. The company's footprint extends across 12 countries with 16 manufacturing facilities and two state-of-the-art technology centres in Marietta (USA) and Taloja (India), providing industry-leading innovation.
Within the Aditya Birla Group, Birla Carbon is collaborating with sister companies to develop decarbonisation initiatives through the Aditya Birla Science and Technology Center.
“Over 160 years of extraordinary innovation in the carbon black industry, coupled with decades of focus on achieving Sustainability, makes this net zero goal not just aspirational, but achievable,” asserted the company in a statement.
Creating a league of partnerships with leading sustainability solution providers, Birla Carbon is exploring new and advanced technologies that will be used to achieve its goal. Birla Carbon will also reference the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi). Over the next 12 months, Birla Carbon said it would commit to evaluate and release interim targets that are in alignment with the SBTi.
Stepping up to the challenge
Sharing his thoughts on this announcement, Dr Santrupt B. Misra, Group Director at Carbon Black, and Director of Chemicals and Director of Group HR at Aditya Birla Group, stressed that: “Climate change is the biggest challenge we face today as a human race, and the burden of it will be carried by our future generations – unless we choose differently. By setting its aspiration to be Net-Zero by 2050, Birla Carbon is making its choice with the rest of the industries that have chosen to step up to the challenge.”
“Sustainability has always been a key driver and a symbol of our success,” he continued. “We will focus on Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE), combined with sustainable materials for our customers, and many more solutions to make our aspiration a reality in the years to come.
“Birla Carbon is rooted in its purpose: to 'Share the Strength', and we hope that our peers – and the industry at large – recognise our efforts and partner with us,” he added. “I wish the entire leadership team the very best as they begin this journey.”
“Towards a net-zero world”
Speaking at the announcement, John Loudermilk, CEO of Birla Carbon, emphasised that all businesses have a responsibility to drive improvements for the global environment. “However, only by working hand-in-hand with our customers, suppliers, and partners through the supply chain can we truly build a greener and brighter future,” he stressed, further adding: “By the nature of our business, we at Birla Carbon have our own carbon stewardship responsibility and we are choosing to lead through bold commitment and industry-first initiatives for a more sustainable tomorrow. Our aim is to constantly innovate and evolve our capabilities through our purpose, 'Share the Strength', to have a positive impact on the ecosystem and society at large.”
Commenting on the announcement, Joe Gaynor, Chief Sustainability Officer at Birla Carbon, said that as a responsible industry leader, Birla Carbon is fully committed to help mitigate the effects of climate change. “For us, it was never a question of if, but when. We already laid the foundation for this commitment, some of which can be seen through our sustainability and circularity efforts over recent years,” he said.
“The launch of Continua™ 8000, a Sustainable Carbonaceous Material, opened our doors to the possibility of a net zero world. We are confident we will achieve this goal along with our customers,” he added.
‘Research, Reduce, Replace, Repurpose’
Birla Carbon will focus on all three scopes in the measurement, reduction, and offsetting of carbon emissions. A majority of its carbon footprint reduction is expected to come from Scope 1 and 2 based on its direct and indirect emission reduction initiatives. A smaller portion of its reduction will come from scope 3 based on the operations of upstream and downstream industries in the value chain.
Birla Carbon's goal of net zero carbon emission by 2050 will be achieved by focusing on four over-arching segments. These 4R segments are:
• Research: to discover new ways for the capture and conversion of carbons. A significant part of Birla Carbon's net zero target will come from future technologies that will capture and convert carbon dioxide into valuable carbon products. Birla Carbon will focus on the investment and development of such technologies and assets.
• Reduce: the dependence on traditional processes in manufacturing. Emphasis on process efficiencies that will convert carbon to carbon black. In addition, Birla Carbon will continue to prioritise energy efficiencies throughout its operations. To date, 80 per cent of its manufacturing facilities are housing co-generation facilities for conversion of waste gases to energy for export to the electrical grid.
• Replace: with alternative energy and feedstock. Some Birla Carbon locations have introduced renewable energy sources to power parts of their facilities. The focus moving forward will be on adding renewable energy solutions towards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Birla Carbon is also pursuing the development of new process technologies that will shift a portion of its production to include alternate feedstocks derived from biomass as a key contributor to net zero.
• Repurpose: carbon solutions for sustainability through circularity. Through its Continua™ brand, Birla Carbon will lead sustainability and circularity programmes at scale, enabling our customers to develop the next generation of sustainable products. For example, Birla Carbon recently announced the availability of low-carbon footprint Sustainable Carbonaceous Materials (SCM) through the launch of its brand Continua™, a game-changer for the industry.
• Birla Carbon is in the process of mapping its existing and future technologies.
The next steps will be the development of partnerships with customers and suppliers, engage experts, and create long-term associations and programmes, including its collaboration within Aditya Birla Group, to achieve the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.