Boeing reaches net-zero carbon emissions from manufacturing and worksites

Boeing operations achieve net-zero in 2020 by expanding conservation and renewable energy

February 17, 2021 in Our Environment

Elk share the terrain with wind turbines at the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility in Washington State. The Puget Sound Energy facility generates electricity that helps power Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington.

Boeing photo

Boeing achieved net-zero at manufacturing and worksites in 2020 by expanding conservation and renewable energy use while tapping responsible offsets for the remaining greenhouse gas emissions.

“Accomplishing net-zero carbon emissions in our operations is a significant step toward making the world better for all the communities we serve,” said Chris Raymond, Boeing chief sustainability officer. “Boeing wants to be a positive example and partner in our industry and with other major industrial companies.”

Employees at Boeing are replicating hundreds of conservation best practices to reduce the amount of energy needed to build products. They are turning off equipment – from computer monitors to paint curing ovens and energy-intensive compressed air used for power tools – when not being used.

“Employees help us get to net-zero when together we resist wasting or making inefficient use of our resources such as energy,” said Crystal Frost, Boeing conservation and sustainable behaviors leader. “Conservation behaviors can have a ripple effect from one employee to another. That’s why it’s so important that we all take visible actions to ‘walk the conservation talk’ every single day.”

Since 2018, Boeing employees from six continents have marked Earth Day, by launching a friendly conservation competition called Battle of the Buildings. In its first year, the month-long competition resulted in a 1.6% reduction in energy use across the enterprise – and employees sustained those savings for the duration of the year, which saved $2.2 million.

New renewable energy procurements reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 10% in 2020 to significantly lower environmental impact. Boeing procures enough renewable electricity - solar, wind and hydropower - to power Boeing’s factories in Renton, Washington and Charleston, South Carolina, and a large data center in Arizona, as well as meet 97% of the electricity needs for Boeing’s Everett factory – the largest building in the world by floor area. Boeing sites in Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana operate partially on renewable electricity.

Boeing ranks 19th in its use of renewable energy on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500 Partner List.

Boeing is voluntarily offsetting its remaining 2020 operations emissions and business travel as part of its greater sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint. The company's offset portfolio includes global emissions reduction and removal ventures on five continents, including solar, wind, hydropower and forest carbon projects.

Boeing based its offset purchase on preliminary emission estimates for 2020 of 572,887 metric tons for the activities at work sites, such as using natural gas and fuel in test flights (also known as Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions), 649,159 metric tons from electricity purchases (also known as Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions), and 263,802 metric tons from business travel (a component of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions). These numbers will be updated and third-party validated for accuracy and transparency, with final results reported later this year.

Global Enterprise Sustainability leader Heather Sheffer, hiking in the Cascades with Sophie, is proud to work for a company that is making steady progress on climate change, including using offsets to get to net-zero.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Sheffer