Earth Day 2022: Our Journey to Net-Zero

A landscape with several wind turbines in farm fields as the sun sets in the background.
Friday, April 22, 2022

Between 3.3 to 3.6 billion people—more than 40% of the world’s population—currently live in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change, according to the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report. The IPCC’s findings highlight the risks to humans and nature if global warming continues at its current pace and underscore the need for immediate action. While each day that passes presents an opportunity for companies around the world to demonstrate the steps taken in their net-zero journeys, this year’s Earth Day creates a critical forum in which organizations can highlight key milestones in their efforts around protecting our most important asset–our planet. 

Investing in Energy Responsibility & Emissions Reductions

Electricity is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with companies in the commercial and industrial sectors accounting for around half of the world’s end-of-use electricity. As an organization that embraces our corporate social responsibility, we have committed to be Net Zero by 2040. We are moving toward a strong net-zero carbon footprint status that will reflect greater energy efficiency and reliance on renewables. 

Plans are already underway for us to meet 75% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% by 2040. Working toward those goals, our recent emissions reduction efforts including wind and solar power usage not only made us the first metal packaging manufacturer to activate renewable electricity in 100% of its U.S. and Canadian beverage can plants but will also allow us to surpass 40% renewable electricity overall this year. In addition to utilizing alternative energy sources, we took steps to establish formal emissions reduction targets that have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Together, these efforts work to combat ozone depletion and support the Climate Action Pillar of our Twentyby30 sustainability program. 

Investing in Recycling & the Circular Economy

Another critical element in our net-zero carbon journey is product life cycle and recyclability. The more that valuable materials can be recaptured and recycled, the larger impact we can make in reducing emissions, energy consumption and waste—all factors that contribute to climate change. With this in mind, we continue to promote the sustainability benefits of aluminum as a permanent and infinitely reusable material, with 80% of all aluminum ever produced still available for use today. Additionally, it’s an easy to recycle mono-material—proven by the fact that consumers recycle aluminum beverage cans at a rate of 69% on average, globally—more than double the rate that they recycle plastic bottles.

To take these averages even further, the Optimum Circularity Pillar of our Twentyby30 program includes new U.S. target recycling rates of 70% by 2030, 80% by 2040 and 90% by 2050—along with recycling targets in other regions like Latin America and Europe exceeding 80% and 90%. Our team is spearheading these goals with initiatives worldwide that have already reached notable milestones. Our Crown Brazil team, for instance, recently received a special Divisional Environmental Award from our biennial Chairman’s Awards program for eliminating unusable waste and achieving zero waste to landfill at all seven of its manufacturing facilities.

As we continue our investments to become carbon neutral and protect our planet, we will share our progress and new projects through our website and sustainability reports. For the latest updates on our sustainability efforts, visit crowncork.com/sustainability.