The British Coatings Federation (BCF) has launched its Net Zero Roadmap, outlining how the UK coatings sector, including printing inks, will reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, with a 38% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions projected by 2030.
The roadmap also illustrates how the industry - which contributes £4bn a year to the UK economy and employs 14,000 people - will play a major role in enabling the UK to achieve its national legislated Net Zero target.
The roadmap lays out how the BCF and its members aim to reach Net Zero, with projected reductions in scope 1 and 2 emissions of 53% by 2035 and 69% by 2040 as waypoints to measure progress against. It goes on to detail four things that need to happen if the overall target is to be met: increased energy efficiency, including greater use of renewable energy and the development of low-carbon hydrogen;
improved resource efficiency, such as the development of new products and technologies including greater uptake of biobased raw materials; the development of carbon capture, utilisation and storage networks; and intensive supply chain collaboration and engagement, seeking to reduce scope 3 emissions.
Some of these will require actions from Government and seven recommendations are included at the end of the report. Among them are the need for a secure environment for businesses to invest in sustainable infrastructure, clarity and certainty of energy policy in the longer term, and support for SMEs in their journey to reach Net Zero.
The roadmap sets out practical steps that the BCF’s members can start taking now to reduce their carbon emissions and highlights key actions manufacturers can take at every stage of the value chain to reach Net Zero.
Sharon Harte, president of the BCF, said: “The UK paints, coatings, printing inks and wallcoverings sector has always adapted to changing conditions. Now the next great challenge is to tackle climate change and reach Net Zero as soon as possible, and by mid-century at the latest. This roadmap is a demonstration of our commitment to that cause and will act as a guide to support our members on their individual Net Zero journeys.
“As part of our journey, it is important to recognise the key role our sector has in in the transition to a more sustainable future: providing products that prolong the life of goods, vehicles and infrastructure; and protecting and enabling renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels. Our industry will therefore play a major role in enabling the UK to achieve its Net Zero target. We, of course, have our own emissions and those are the focus of this roadmap.”
The roadmap, which builds on the BCF’s 2021 commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050, outlines how the coatings sector intends to tackle its own emissions (scope 1) and those it creates indirectly (scope 2 and scope 3). It also estimates that the largest proportion of carbon emissions, 98%, are linked to members’ supply chains (scope 3) and therefore more difficult to manage. However, as a sign of how important they recognise dealing with upstream and downstream emissions is, BCF is holding a seminar on scope 3 emissions with suppliers on the day of this roadmap’s official launch.
The roadmap makes clear that, while any emissions that cannot be eliminated must be balanced by finding ways to absorb an equivalent amount, the sector’s Net Zero strategy must minimise the use of carbon offsets, reserving the practice for unavoidable emissions only.
BCF CEO Tom Bowtell said: “This is an important document for us as it is the first time the sector has collectively worked together to quantify the scale of the challenge. However, it is just the start of a long journey, and a lot more work will be required across the sector to make Net Zero a reality. Many of our members are already well on the way to reaching their Net Zero target, while others might be grappling with the complexities of getting started. It is our role as the sector’s trade body to show leadership, support members through this process and help those who need more assistance make the necessary progress.”