Kingspan embarks on radical overhaul to achieve net-zero carbon emissions

Insulation manufacturer plans to cut emissions to lowest possible level by 2030

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

Insulation and building materials group Kingspan is planning a major overhaul of its manufacturing processes in a bid to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Net-zero emissions means cutting absolute emissions across its operations to the lowest possible level while offsetting the remaining emissions with carbon-neutralising measures.

The Cavan-based company has pledged to achieve this within 10 years. “This will require the transformation of Kingspan’s processes across its existing 166 manufacturing sites while supporting newly-acquired businesses to decarbonise as quickly as possible,” the company said.

Progress

The company on Monday published its inaugural “Planet Passionate” sustainability report, reviewing the first year of progress in the 10-year strategy, which was launched in 2020.

The report contains 12 targets to address the impact of Kingspan’s business operations and manufacturing on four key areas: energy, carbon, circularity and water.

The company said it reduced emissions from operations by 5.2 per cent last year, which it described as a “first step towards net zero carbon manufacturing by 2030”.

It also generated 29 gigawatt hours of energy from renewables, harvested 21 million litres of water from rainwater and recycled 573 million plastic bottles into insulation manufacturing processes.

Kingspan has also committed by 2030 to reduce the carbon intensity of its primary raw materials by 50 per cent in a bid to reduce “the embodied carbon” in its products.

“Our Planet Passionate targets demand radical thinking and action. Our aim is to get as close to zero emissions in our manufacturing as technically possible by transforming our processes,” chief executive Gene Murtagh said.

“Industry has a vital role to play in addressing the threat of climate change, and we are proud to have achieved a 5.2 per cent reduction in our carbon emissions in the first year of this plan,” Mr Murtagh said.

“Our target of halving the carbon intensity of primary raw materials used in our supply chain will also lower the embodied carbon in our products, and consequently the whole life carbon of buildings,” he said.

Placement

Kingspan has taken a leading role in combatting climate change. Last year it received a climate “A” rating – for the fourth year in a row – from the Carbon Disclosure Project, the international not-for-profit that measures the environmental impact of thousands of companies.

It has also been at the forefront of green finance, issuing the largest ever corporate green private placement to raise €750 million in September 2020 which will be used to support its mission of accelerating a net-zero-emissions built environment with advanced insulation and building envelope solutions.

“In 2011,, Kingspan Group set an incredibly ambitious target for our global operations to achieve net zero energy by 2020, and we have delivered this as a first major milestone in our Planet Passionate plan,” Bianca Wong, global head of sustainability at Kingspan, said.