In the fall 2021 Investor AB announced sharpened climate targets and joined the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero campaign ahead of COP26. Investor’s new targets are aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We talked to Viveka Hirdman-Ryrberg, Head of Corporate Communication and Sustainability at Investor, to hear what this means for Investor’s 24 portfolio companies. Several of them are also members of the Combient network.
“The main reason for this target change is because we see that we are in the midst of two major shifts on the global scale. It is the big technical shift – digitalization – and it is sustainability, not least the climate change. As the development is accelerating, we see a sense of urgency in fighting and mitigating climate change”, Viveka says. According to her, the old targets were aligned with the Paris agreement, but to the 2 degrees scenario. Now the targets are sharpened and aligned with the 1.5 degrees warming path. “We want to accelerate the work both within the companies but also within Investor’s own hometurf. It is about securing the long-term competitiveness of our companies”, Viveka emphasizes.
Investor – climate neutral by 2030
For Investor the new targets mean that they as a company will be climate neutral by 2030. To reach major impact through the portfolio of companies, Investor requires a reduction of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 70 percent by 2030 for the aggregated portfolio of companies, with 2016 as the base year. Investor also wants all the companies they have an ownership to set Scope 3 targets. Setting Scope 3 targets is not simple, as you have to work through the whole value chain. For many companies Scope 3 is where the major CO2 impact is, for example arising from when customers and clients use the products.
“These (Scope 3) targets may of course vary from one company to another, but we want them to also work on value chain emissions. For us at Investor AB, the portfolio companies’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions are Investor’s Scope 3 emissions”, Viveka says.
As most of Investor’s portfolio companies are global companies, also the energy supply varies a lot - and this impacts Scope 2 emission reduction capabilities. “If you look on a global scale, up here in the Nordics we have a lot of fossil free energy such as nuclear power and hydro power. In Asia that is not the case, where there is a lot of coal based energy. So of course this is a major challenge.” Many of the companies Investor is engaged in are in the forefront of climate action within their industries. Some have even more ambitious goals than what Investor is requesting.
Clear focus from the owner brings clarity and encourages sustainable innovation
The reactions to the new targets from the portfolio companies have mainly been positive. “We know from different dialogues with our stakeholders that they appreciate that we have a very clear focus and that we are very specific about what we are driving and that we have definite targets. So all-in-all a very positive reaction.” Viveka says and continues: “As an owner we want to signal the importance of accelerating the climate work as there are of course risks to deal with but also a lot of business opportunities.”
Investor encourages its companies to invest in innovation and develop products that make a positive contribution to the environment. Viveka says that there are many examples of this. “Just to pick a few, Husqvarna has developed lawn mowers that run on batteries instead of fossil fuels. We have Ericsson being a catalyst on the digital front, which is often key for driving automation. Epiroc is engaged in developing new ways of working in the mines by increased automation, often with a collaborative approach with other companies”, Viveka summarizes.