A ROADMAP to being net zero by 2050 has formed a key part of Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers (WesCEF) three-phase decarbonisation journey, the details of which were released last Thursday.
The first phase commenced in late 2012 with the installation of abatement catalysts in several of its manufacturing plants.
This investment in technology delivered a reduction in CO2 emissions of 5.5 million tonnes, or approximately 40 per cent, by the end of 2020.
The second and third phases feature a Net Zero Roadmap, outlining how it will accelerate the decarbonisation of its existing operations and incorporate new technologies, like carbon capture utilisation and storage and green hydrogen, to reach net zero scope one and two emissions by 2050.
WesCEF managing Director Ian Hansen said the three-phase decarbonisation journey positioned the company on a credible pathway to reduce its own emissions, as well as emissions across its value chains.
"We have worked hard to identify both near and long-term transformational actions to address our climate challenges, and these actions are essential for preserving our long-term value and creating sustainable growth," Mr Hansen said.
He said the 2050 net zero target builds upon WesCEF's long-standing commitment to sustainability and strong history of emission abatement achievements.
"We are enormously proud of what we have accomplished from being a carbon aware business," he said.
"We want to leverage our track record of technical innovation, efficient design and operations, reputation for reliability and safety, along with our committed 1400-strong workforce, to continue to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."
WesCEF is currently in the second phase of its decarbonisation journey, for which it has set an interim emissions reduction target of 30pc by 2030.
The company is exploring a number of ways to achieve this, including upgrading existing abatement technologies as well as by adopting renewable energy for the portion of electricity they do not generate themselves.
Traditionally, businesses which operate plants continuously throughout the day and night are limited in sourcing renewable energy due to the fact wind and solar energy is only generated when it's windy or sunny.
However, there are an increasing number of options that make renewable energy more viable for businesses like WesCEF and those options include renewable power purchase agreements or long-duration electricity storage solutions.
"Another focus of this second phase is to establish the processes and partnerships, as well as explore and prove the technologies, that will be deployed in phase three and enable us to achieve our ultimate goal of net zero by 2050," Mr Hansen said.
The third phase of WesCEF's decarbonisation journey signals a reduction of emissions by a further 60pc by 2050 which would leave the company with about 10pc of its baseline emissions unabated, representing a 90pc reduction overall.
Carbon offsets would then be utilised for the remaining emissions if no technological solutions emerge.
WesCEF currently makes hydrogen as an input for its ammonia production and decarbonising hydrogen production is a critical enabler for the business to achieve its net zero target.
"It also offers exciting growth prospects for WesCEF since many of our customers are looking to transition to sustainable fuels," Mr Hansen said.
"The investigation, evaluation and potential piloting of carbon capture and utilisation and storage solutions for blue hydrogen, as well as electrolysis for green hydrogen in the second phase, lay the foundation for the organisation's important third phase.
"It is too early to tell which of these technologies will ultimately succeed, or if new solutions will emerge, but we are excited by the opportunities that they present."
Going forward, WesCEF's decarbonisation transformation would depend upon new and emerging technologies and collaboration with industry and researchers to identify, study and deploy low-emissions technologies.
Mr Hansen said he was optimistic the technologies to abate the majority of WesCEF's process emissions would become commercially viable.
"We're excited by the pace of innovation in this area and expect there to be additional growth opportunities as climate-friendly products and technologies emerge," he said.
"Advancing the decarbonisation of WesCEF is critical if we are to continue to deliver sustainable growth over the long term.
"Any new opportunities or investment will also have to align with our net zero targets."
The commitment to transparent reporting is not new to WesCEF with the company's CSBP chemicals business already disclosing its ammonium nitrate emissions intensity and progressively measuring and reporting its scope three emissions since 2009.
While that was an important and valuable first step, Mr Hansen admitted the company needed to do more to help its customers take account of emissions in procurement decisions.
"WesCEF will complete the measurement of its scope three emissions in 2022," he said.
"Full transparency of emissions across our value chains will enable us to work collaboratively with our customers and suppliers to deliver the decarbonisation outcomes we are all seeking."
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