CEO and CSO Letter
At Owens Corning, our sustainability aspirations are a direct expression of our purpose: our people and products make the world a better place. In 2020, as people faced multiple crises and challenges across the spectrum of social, environmental, and economic matters everywhere in the world, our commitments to helping people thrive took on additional importance. The connections between human health and well-being and the environment have seldom been clearer.
Nearly two decades ago, Owens Corning began its sustainability journey. Over the years, our goals have evolved well beyond environmental sustainability. We have set ambitious goals for 2030 that drive toward our aspiration to be a net-positive company. To do this, the positive impacts of our people and products — our handprint — must exceed the footprint of our operations. We’re committed to doubling our products’ handprint and halving our environmental footprint, while also working to eliminate injuries and lifestyle-induced diseases, to advance inclusion and diversity, and to make a positive difference in the communities where we work and live.
Like our global communities, Owens Corning faced unprecedented challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic required flexibility, innovation, and resolve in our operations and interactions – with our colleagues, our customers, and our suppliers. The urgent need to address racial and social inequities intensified a critical conversation we’ve been having about inclusion and diversity at work and beyond. Both these developments led to adjustments in our approach to effective outreach and volunteerism.
Our long-term goals helped us navigate these challenges. Our operations and products have been deemed essential across the U.S. and other global locations during the pandemic, and our employees were able to continue their efforts to achieve our aspirations. Our focus on personal well-being and employees caring for each other, which has guided us for years, was a critical factor in successfully managing through the circumstances of 2020.
This, our fifteenth annual sustainability report, documents our results as we work toward achieving our goals. As 2020 was the target year for our previous ten-year goals, we are pleased to report our progress in these pages.
We are particularly proud of our progress on climate action. We have reduced absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 60% since our peak year, despite adding several material acquisitions along the way. We are committed to further cut these emissions in half with our Science Based Target of -50% for 2030, in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s pathway to limit global warming to 1.5° C maximum above pre-industrial levels. This will result in 2030 absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions being 75% below our peak.
Concurrently, we are committed to a 30% reduction up and down our value chain (Scope 3). We are proud to be among the companies heeding the call for greater urgency and impact, continuing to use the latest climate science in setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and measuring and reporting our progress in the science-led decarbonization of our company. As we, and other great companies around the world, look to imagine a decarbonized future, we are energized by all levers yet to be pulled on the path to carbon neutrality, and look forward to a global consensus definition of carbon neutrality for companies (currently under development).
In addition to detailing the results from our previous ten-year goals, this report includes discussion of our progress against our 2030 goals, which measure improvements compared to the baseline year of 2018. Some of these represent the next milestone in a journey that began years ago — like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our march to zero injuries — but there are new ones as well that will guide our work to expand our product handprint, and to expand our social handprint. All our sustainability aspirations push us to do what the world needs us to do, based on the scientific consensus, to make the world better place.
As we reflect on our journey and our impact, there are many things to be proud of, and even more ahead to challenge and excite us. What began with a focus on footprint reduction quickly expanded to designing and manufacturing products with differentiated sustainability attributes. Since then, we have collaborated with customers and suppliers for even greater impact, and expanded our scope to include safety, wellness, community engagement, inclusion and diversity, and most recently, embodied carbon and circular economy.
We are proud of the way our 19,000 colleagues around the world have worked together to fulfill our commitments to our stakeholders. In this report, we are pleased to share examples of their dedication and commitment, as well as our data and results. The external recognition we have received for our sustainability commitments and results — including earning the #1 spot on the 100 Corporate Best Citizens list from 3BL Media for the second year in a row, Industry Leader from DJSI for the 8th year, and CDP A List for both Climate and Water — is an indication that we are on the right path. Such accolades are an honor and acknowledge the work we’ve done, but they also spur us to do more. As we look ahead, we know that we must go beyond today’s goals and results. We must commit our energy and resources to shaping the future — to making the world a better place for the generations that follow.
We invite you to learn more about our work, our results, and our aspirations through this report and our website. We’ve benefitted from active collaboration and support from many of our stakeholders. The future that we are committed to building goes well beyond our company, and we are grateful that so many people have chosen to join us in this work.