CO2 roadmap

Net zero by 2040 is happening.

Facing the challenges

The Science Based Targets logo

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 reduce 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 being put into limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Meeting this goal means greenhouse gas emissions need to be halved by 2030 and 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 emissions intensity over time in line with the 1.5 degree trajectory. From our 2017 base year, we will have reduced our emissions intensity by 43% by 2025 and by 77% by 2030. We will be net zero in our full value chain by 2040.

All remaining emissions neutralized via negative emissions.

Reducing our own business emissions

Fossil fuels are not a long-term option for a society that wants to achieve climate neutrality, nor for the Vattenfall of the future. Lignite and hard coal do not longer fit in to our strategy. By divesting our lignite operations in 2016, we have reduced our annual CO2 emissions from 84 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes in 2017. These figures have decreased further to approximately 19 million tonnes in 2019 with the sale of the heat business in Hamburg, the decommissioning of Hemweg 8 in the Netherlands and Reuter C in Berlin in 2019. Vattenfall has decided to completely phase out coal in its heat portfolio in Germany by 2030 and in the Netherlands this was achieved already in 2020. In 2020 we lowered our emissions from around 19 million tonnes to approximately 12 million tonnes. The early closure of Moorburg contributed significantly. During 2021 we further decreased our emissions to around 10 million tonnes.

In the Nordic region, Vattenfall’s business already today has low emissions with practically 100 percent of the electricity production based on renewable hydro power and low-emitting nuclear production. We aim to become totally climate neutral in the Nordic region by 2025, including its heat business.

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.

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 optimize 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.

Reducing our customer emissions

Vattenfall's fossil 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 decentralised energy solutions like heat pumps, solar panels and batteries. We are making it easier for customers to make informed, economically beneficial, and climate-smart decisions for their heating needs, 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.

Two children playing with toy cars

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.

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 a 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 and still deliver on our customers’ expectations of the supply of affordable electricity and heat.

Why district heating is good news for all of us

This year we invited people with different backgrounds to share their views on some of the big topics from our Annual and sustainability report 2021.

Related content

Industrial plant

We are forming partnerships in different fields and industries to reach climate goals.

An electric car at a charging station in a garage

We are committed to electrifying society as a way to help turn the tide on climate change.

See also

An engineer  at Vattenfall

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

Construction of Kentish Flats wind farm at sunset

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

View of pipes and a chimney at Idbäcksverket power plant

Vattenfall is investing in a greater share of renewable generation.