Paper packaging giant DS Smith commits to net zero at Kemsley Paper Mill site, near Sittingbourne, by 2050

Packaging company giant DS Smith has announced ambitious new climate targets at its site at Kemsley Paper Mill, near Sittingbourne.

The firm, a leading provider of sustainable paper-based packaging and Europe's largest cardboard and paper recycler, has vowed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% per tonne by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

Giant rolls of paper inside the Kemsley Paper Mill - the largest paper mill in the UK
Giant rolls of paper inside the Kemsley Paper Mill - the largest paper mill in the UK

The Kemsley site is the largest paper mill in the UK and has a production capacity of around 820,000 tonnes per year. It already produces the first recycled lightweight paper manufactured in the UK.

Company chiefs says its targets are in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and confirmed it has joined the UN's Race to Zero - a global campaign to rally support to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The company says it will adopt a number of engineering solutions, including using local biomass and biogas, and renewable electricity like wind and solar.

Miles Roberts, group chief executive of DS Smith, said: “It is widely recognised that heavy manufacturing is one of the most challenging sectors to de-carbonise, but we are committed to playing our part by taking action to net zero with a clear plan and roadmap.

"We make sustainable packaging that is fibre-based and fully recyclable and believe that through combined leadership in the circular economy and climate action, we are uniquely positioned to have a real impact in helping to reduce the rise in global temperatures.

DS Smith has committed to achieving net zero by 2050 at the latest
DS Smith has committed to achieving net zero by 2050 at the latest

“We’ve already made good progress in reducing our carbon as part of our long-term sustainability focus, but we know we need to do much more. That’s why today we are not only setting ambitious climate targets for ourselves; but strengthening our commitment to delivering more circular solutions for our customers and wider society. I am incredibly proud of all of our people for making this happen.”

In 2017, DS Smith announced its target to reduce carbon emissions per tonne of product by 30% by 2030 compared to 2015. As part of a coordinated effort across its over 250 sites globally, it has achieved a 23% reduction by the end of 2020, placing it well ahead of its plans.

Andrew Griffith, the government's Net Zero Business Champion, added: “It is great to see a company with an ambitious 2030 target and commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050. DS Smith is making great progress against its previous carbon reduction targets, tackling the challenges associated with de-carbonising the paper and packaging sector. Business plays a key role in driving the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy, with over 40 of the FTSE100 now signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero, I hope this announcement inspires other companies in the sector to take action.”

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