Managing energy and mitigating climate change
Novartis is committed to using resources efficiently and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which affect the global climate. We established targets on total GHG emissions for 2015 and 2020, which represent an absolute reduction of 15% by 2015 and of 20% by 2020, based on 2008 levels.
Novartis has a longstanding, comprehensive energy and climate program with a dual objective:
- Improve energy efficiency for all industrial and commercial operations and use renewable energy sources where available and feasible
- Develop carbon-offset projects and account achieved carbon sinks to compensate for operational GHG emissions
While our long-term goal is to lower GHG emissions through internal programs, we have taken additional measures to achieve our voluntary 2012 Kyoto Protocol targets, and 2015 and 2020 total GHG emission targets. Our approach includes voluntary carbon-offset options, such as the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), that enable companies or countries to compensate for exceeding emission limits through offsetting, particularly in developing countries or emerging markets.
We have created three carbon-offset projects:
- In Argentina, we are growing a forest of more than 3 million trees with the aim of 75% native species to sequester carbon and create sustainable wood products. The plantation, which received CDM registration in 2011, has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since 2008.
- We established a jatropha plantation and bio-fuel for a rural energy project in Mali, with a total of 12 000 hectares planned. The seeds of this shrub can be used to press oil, make bio-fuel for energy in rural areas and produce a natural fertilizer. In this smallholder agro-forestry project local farmers plant Jatropha together with their annual crop. The project achieved Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certification in 2012.
- In 2010, Novartis launched a reforestation initiative in Sichuan, China, involving 3 800 hectares and 9 million trees. The project will protect the land from soil erosion, landslides and flooding, provide labor and income (from wood and non-wood products) to local communities and a better habitat for endangered species including the giant panda, as well as sequester carbon. Plantation started in 2011 with more than 1 million trees.
Land use carbon-offset projects have been relatively uncommon, but they are attractive to Novartis as platforms to foster long-term economic growth for local populations, provide environmental and biodiversity benefits and help meet the company's overall CO2 reduction targets.