Net Zero emissions by 2050

Today we announce a series of ambitious climate targets. This includes a science-based target which requires at least a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions per tonne of product by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, and a commitment to reach Net Zero* emissions by 2050.

These targets will be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative** as being in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. To further underline our ambition and commitment, we are also announcing our membership of the UN’s Race to Zero.

Andrew Griffith MP, former business advisor to the PM and current UK Net Zero Business Champion

I’m delighted DS Smith has joined the UN’s Race to Zero. 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 decarbonising 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.

— Andrew Griffith MP, former business advisor to the PM and current UK Net Zero Business Champion

In 2017, we announced our target to reduce carbon emissions per tonne of product by 30% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline. As part of a coordinated effort across our 250 sites globally, we have achieved a 23% reduction by the end of 2020, placing us well ahead of our plans.

It is widely recognized that heavy manufacturing is one of the hardest 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.

Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive at DS Smith

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.

— Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive at DS Smith

How did we achieve this?


By Investing in groundbreaking technology, including waste-to-energy solutions, state-of-the-art combined heat and power facilities:

  • Powering steam generation at Kemsley paper mill in the UK by the neighbouring Wheelabrator waste-to-energy facility, removing around 8,000 tonnes of carbon per year. Learn more here.
  • Implementing the next generation of supply chain technology to accurately track vehicle movement and measure CO2 emissions. Learn more here.


By upgrading our equipment from new boilers to LED lighting:

  • Installing a new aero-derivative gas turbine in our Lucca paper mill in Italy, removing around 4,000 tonnes of carbon per year. Learn more here.
  • Installing a new biomass dry line at Viana paper mill in Portugal, saving around 3,100 tonnes of carbon per year.
  • Rolling out LED lighting throughout our sites, saving around 14,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum.


By increasing the use of renewable fuel sources, such as biogas and biomass:

  • Switching to green electricity produced from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and hydroelectric in Croatia, saved around 27,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Learn more here.
  • Replacing diesel with LNG powered vehicles to transport our goods across Europe. Learn more here.
  • Turning steam from our paper mill into heating for our offices, replacing fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions by 50 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Learn more here.


By improving our energy usage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Partnering with World Kinect Energy Services to better manage energy consumption for our Recycling, Paper and Packaging sites across 26 European countries. Learn more here.
  • Utilising a state-of-the-art biomass boiler that uses residual low-grade timber waste to generate energy for our packaging plant in Värnamo in Sweden, saving around 2,200 tonnes of CO2e.
  • Generating electrical power from Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants at Blunham and Fordham packaging plants in the UK, whilst also harnessing the waste heat for the process, increasing overall efficiency.
  • Maintaining ISO 50001 certification at 100% of our in-scope sites and driving energy efficiency.
Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a Strategic Partner of DS Smith

We look forward to exploring how our Strategic Partnership with DS Smith can help accelerate the company’s progress towards achieving the climate targets announced today, in parallel with its circular economy commitments. The switch to renewable energy can only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55%, while the remaining 45% of emissions come from how we make and use products — so the transition to a circular economy is vital in order to tackle climate change, as well as other global challenges.

— Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a Strategic Partner of DS Smith

In addition to our climate action commitment, we recently announced our £100m R&D and innovation package to accelerate our work in the circular economy. The new investment underpins our new circular economy led sustainability strategy, Now and Next, which pledges to manufacture 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2023 and to take a billion pieces of problem plastics off supermarket shelves by 2025.

*The term Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and taken out of the atmosphere. 

**The Science Based Targets initiative engages and supports companies in defining how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.