WesCEF’s recognises that in the manufacture of its essential products relied upon by society, it has a role to play in addressing climate change and reducing its carbon footprint for current and future generations.
As the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the Wesfarmers group, WesCEF currently emits approximately 900,000 tonnes a year of scope 1 emissions predominately from its chemicals businesses.
As a result, WesCEF has set a target of net zero emissions by 2050 which it aims to achieve through investment in research and technology, energy and transport efficiency as well as process optimisation.
To ensure Climate Change is co-ordinated and managed across WesCEF’s eight businesses, its first Climate Change Policy was introduced this year along with the formation of a dedicated Climate Opportunities team to lead the organisation’s development of a roadmap to achieve WesCEF’s emissions reduction target.
Wide consultation with key internal and external stakeholders will inform the roadmap, and when complete the roadmap will guide WesCEF’s focus on abatement efforts.
At present no known cost effective technologies exist for WesCEF to attain net zero emissions while maintaining Wesfarmers’ objective of providing a satisfactory return to shareholders. However WesCEF also recognises that there is considerable investment and innovation with respect to climate change and it expects rapid technology development in the coming years. As a result the road map will be a living document that will evolve as technology develops.
A range of climate change initiatives are also either underway or being investigated as part of the roadmap which include:
- Becoming a founding member of the Australian Energy Transition Initiative. The Initiative, which involves other industrial giants as well as banks, superannuation companies and not-for-profit organisations, aims to develop pathways and actions that can accelerate emissions reductions across whole supply chains.
- Sponsoring CSIRO research into Carbon Capture and Utilisation options.
- Continuing to improve the abatement catalysts in our nitric acid plants to limit nitrous oxide emissions. Abatement catalysts are technology that converts greenhouse gases into passive, inactive gases that are safer for the environment.
WesCEF has always been an early adopter of emissions reduction technology. The installation of catalysts in its nitric acid plants from 2011 has resulted in a significant reduction in emissions. In FY20, 700,000 tonnes of emissions were avoided due to this technology.
To further understand its complete carbon footprint, WesCEF is further expanding its reporting around scope 3 emissions as part of its corporate planning process.