CO2 roadmap

Net zero by 2040 is happening.

Facing the challenges

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Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. A major effort is underway to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5°C, which would require the world to reach zero net CO2 emissions between 2030 and 2050. To become fossil free within one generation, Vattenfall needs to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions throughout the entire value chain – and it’s happening. We are working together with customers, partners, authorities, and cities to achieve this. The goal is net zero emissions by 2040 for our own operations, those of our suppliers and our customers. We are committed to reducing our emissions in line with the 1.5°C target and have been certified by the Science Based Targets initiative in September 2021. We call this our CO2 roadmap.

CO2 emissions intensity

CO2 intensity: Grams of CO2 equivalents per kilowatt hour (gCO2e/kWh).

CO2 intensity in the context of electricity and heat production describes how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted when producing one kilowatt hour of electricity or heat.

CO2 roadmap

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. A great deal of effort is put into limiting the global warming further to 1.5 degrees. Meeting this goal means greenhouse gas emissions need to be roughly halved by 2030 and to achieve net zero by the second half of the century.*

Vattenfall is committed to following the 1.5 degree trajectory from the Science Based Targets initiative. The graph shows a forecast of how we will reduce scope 1+2 emissions intensity over time in line with the 1.5 degree trajectory. From our 2017 base year, we plan to reduce our emissions intensity by over 40% by 2025 and by over 75% by 2030. We will be net zero** in our full value chain by 2040.

All remaining emissions will be neutralised via negative emissions.

*The IPCC sixth assessment report

**Vattenfall follows the Science Based Targets initiative requirements for the power sector when referring to net zero. Effectively, this means:

  • Reducing scope 1+2 CO2e intensity to 9 g/kWh (over 90% reduction)
  • Reducing all scope 3 emissions by 90% or more
  • Neutralising the remaining emissions with carbon removals

Reducing our own business emissions

Vattenfall’s CO2 roadmap is guided by our science-based targets. In September 2021, Vattenfall’s new 2030 emission reduction targets were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, SBTi, providing external validation that these are in line with requirements to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C according to climate science. These targets follow the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and only track emission reduction initiatives, they do not include the impact of divestments.

Fossil fuels are not a long-term option for a society that wants to achieve net zero, nor for the Vattenfall of the future. As part of our CO2 roadmap, Vattenfall has decided to completely phase out coal by 2030. In the Netherlands this was achieved already in 2020 with the decommissioning of Hemweg 8, while in Germany, major steps were taken with the decommissioning of the combined heat and power plant Reuter C and the early closure of the combined heat and power plant Moorburg. These initiatives helped Vattenfall reduce emissions by nearly nine million tons compared to base year emissions in 2017. The remaining elements of the coal phase out are scheduled to be completed in the second half of the 2020s at the Moabit site and in the late 2020s at the Reuter West site, both in Berlin.

In the Nordic region, Vattenfall’s business already today has low emissions with practically 100 percent of the electricity production based on hydro power and nuclear production. We aim to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels for our heat production in the Nordic region by 2025. The phase out of peat in the Carpe Futurum project in Uppsala was a major step in this direction.

These initiatives, alongside the rapid build-out of fossil-free energy sources, will enable us to meet our 1.5°-aligned targets in 2030 and set the stage for achieving net zero in 2040.

Reducing our supplier emissions

Our strategy of enabling fossil free living within one generation has a full value-chain perspective. This means that we do not only have to work purposefully to reduce our own footprint, but also the footprint of our suppliers and customers. As an important step towards a fossil free future, Vattenfall has set a corporate reduction target of 50% until 2030 on supply chain emissions from goods and services, covering all supplier tiers. We work towards the target through dialogues with suppliers and making climate-smart decisions when we procure. For example we include climate metrics and awarding schemes in selected tenders, we investigate alternative solutions with lower footprint and optimise our resource use, and we push for electrification of production processes to both reduce our own supply chain emissions and a wider decarbonisation of society.

Children playing with a Carrera track

We want to make it easier for customers to make climate-smart decisions so that they can be free from fossil fuels within one generation.

Reducing our customer emissions

Vattenfall's natural gas customers also account for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The heating transition away from fossil gas in our continental markets is one of our key strategic focus areas. We are working to make it easy and affordable for customers to adopt climate-smarter living habits. This means that we are continuously developing our portfolio of alternative and decentralised energy solutions like biogas, heat pumps, solar panels and batteries, so that they can be free from fossil fuels within one generation.

Vattenfall’s plan to reduce scope 3 customer emissions to 2030 has also been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, SBTi, as being in line with what is required to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees according to climate science. Until 2040 our portfolio will be net-zero and fossil free by 2045.

Helping customers achieve their climate targets

We are committed to reducing our climate impact across the entire value chain, with a particular focus on helping our customers and partners lower their emissions and achieve their climate targets. We have expanded our product offering to household and business customers to enable them to lower their footprint and/or produce energy themselves. Examples include low-CO2 heat and electricity, e-vehicle charging solutions, solar panels, heat pumps, smart thermostats and homes, and more. We strive to provide transparency on the climate footprint of our products through life cycle assessments and Environmental Product Declarations. We are also cooperating with energy intensive businesses to reduce CO2 emissions through the electrification of industrial processes.

We believe that Sweden can be a pioneer in this area given that its electricity is comparatively cheap and virtually fossil free. Electrification has the potential to provide up to nine million tonnes per year of potential CO2 savings in Sweden’s steel, cement and refinery industries. There is also the potential to produce renewable fuels in refineries to save six million tonnes per year in the transport sector. We also support the electrification of the transport sector by taking a leading role in developing the charging infrastructure. This is key to phasing out fossil fuels and reaching the national targets for CO2 reductions in all our markets.

The combination of CHP, renewable heat and heat storage create opportunities for flexible heat and power generation with low CO2 emissions. In our partnerships with the cities of Uppsala, Berlin and Amsterdam, we are working on plans to develop a path to climate neutrality while ensuring we still deliver on our customers’ expectations of the supply of affordable electricity and heat.

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See also

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Solutions and innovations that bring us closer to fossil-free living within one generation

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We have an important role in the transition to a circular economy.

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Vattenfall is investing in a greater share of renewable generation.