Making progress towards net-zero emissions

Springer Nature Group
By: Molly Hawes, Thu Oct 5 2023

Author: Molly Hawes

Senior Climate Action and Engagement Manager

Today, Springer Nature Group is publishing a supplement to our sustainable business report. In the supplement, we provide a new, expanded dataset covering our value chain emissions, as well as details of our emissions reductions targets, which have now been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Taken together, these details start to map out our route to net zero in 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Springer Nature Group has been carbon neutral for its offices, warehouses, fleet and flights since 2020. Since then, we have gradually ramped up our carbon analysis behind the scenes, using this information to inform focus areas for emissions reduction for our buildings. For example, almost all of our sites are powered by renewable electricity - with carbon offsets applied against the small portion where this hasn't been possible up to now. More recently, we’ve been calculating our scope 3 footprint for the years 2019 to 2022, and used this inventory to develop science based carbon reduction targets to reach net zero by 2040. 

Our targets lay out a roadmap for ambitious near-term emissions reductions as well, in line with the scientific consensus that rapid emissions reductions are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. As a publisher of world-class climate research, following the science is second nature at Springer Nature Group. 

Below we outline our targets, which you can explore in more detail  on the SBTI dashboard, or in our supplement.

By 2032, relative to a 2019 baseline year, our target is to: 

  • Decrease emissions from our buildings and fleet by 54.6%. Decrease value chain emissions by 32.5%. 

By 2040 relative to a 2019 baseline year, our target is to:

  • Reduce emissions from all scopes1 by 90%. 

We believe setting targets is only part of the journey to net zero. In our Sustainable Business Report we provide details of several ways in which we are reducing our environmental footprint, including short term actions for 2025 delivery, a case study on minimising logistics emissions, and data about our procurement of renewable electricity. 

In this supplement we also share further actions we are taking across our value chain. Tackling supply chain emissions will be a vital part of our net-zero journey and we are already working with some of our priority suppliers on this. 

We plan to continue to offset scope 1, 2 and some of our scope 3 emissions (including flights and leased buildings) as part of our ongoing commitment to remaining carbon neutral, and because we want to provide ongoing support to communities planting biodiverse forests with tangible socioeconomic benefits. We recognise that becoming net zero requires ambitious emissions reductions of 90% by 2040, not counting offsetting. Offsetting can be applied to residual emissions. 

Our work to date has been complex and involved a cross-business coalition of colleagues. We’re deeply grateful to all of our colleagues that have supported us along the way: from procurement to production, facilities to finance. We’re proud to present our progress and share insights with our peers to help others progress too. Working together is key to realising our climate ambitions.

1The 2040 targets cover (1) scope 1 and 2 combined and (2) scope 3.


Author: Molly Hawes

Senior Climate Action and Engagement Manager

Molly started her career at Springer Nature Group, working at the flagship journal Nature as well as Nature Climate Change and Scientific Reports. This was followed by a 2-year stint at open-access publisher Frontiers, where she managed teams and a portfolio of sustainability journals. In 2021, she came back to Springer Nature to progress the company’s approach to carbon emissions reductions. This has included developing science-based emissions reductions targets, raising the profile of environmental sustainability across the company, and contributing to sustainability reporting. Molly holds a certificate in Sustainable Business Leadership from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

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