Scope 1 - own activities, Scope 2 - purchasing energy from third parties and Scope 3 - an activity by others in the value chain. Based on modelling of 2021 activity, total emissions of GHG on Scope 1, 2 and 3 upstream and downstream, is estimated to be more than 300.000 tCO2eq. This is equivalent to total emissions of an average city of 30.000 people.
Indicatively, GHG emissions over the Life Cycle of candles produced by Bolsius can divided in four main areas:
1. 20% Supply of raw materials necessary to produce candles
2. 11% Transformation of raw material and manufacturing of products
3. 6% Transportation of products
4. 63% Combustion of wax and wick during utilisation of candles
To limit global warming to well below 2°C and do the utmost to limit it to 1.5°C requires the world to become carbon neutral by 2050. This means that CO2 released into the atmosphere because of human activities must be balanced by human driven increase in CO2 capture, whether leveraging technical or nature based solutions.
Based on our latest GHG-assessment results we have reviewed our footprint and work on building a 10-year decarbonization roadmap. Reviewing our FY2022 emissions via the GHG protocol has enabled us to redefine our strategy, reduction targets and make our commitment to the planet public via the Science based target initiative. We strive to be able to validate our targets early 2024.
There is an identified environmental potential benefit associated with maximizing sourcing from plant-based fats. It is estimated that over the whole life cycle, natural waxes will be 65% to 90% less emissive compared to paraffin wax and can come from renewable sources, whilst oil reserves are limited.
However, this transformation process can require twice as much energy as processing traditional petroleum-based paraffin to become usable, therefore a candle ‘as produced’ from natural origins can have a bigger ‘cradle-to-gate’ footprint than a petroleum-based one. But a candle is meant to be burnt, and during the usage phase, plant-based products combustion releases mostly biogenic carbon that the plant captured during its growth, whilst petroleum-based wax will release fossil CO2 that was buried in the ground for a million years. This means that the plant ‘borrows’ the CO2 that is returned to the atmosphere at the time the candle is lit, while petroleum-based wax brings a net increase of GHG in the atmosphere.
To support strategic sustainable wax sourcing for the future, Bolsius is investing in and undertaking a Multi-criteria Life Cycle Assessment on the different raw materials. This will enable us to reduce our footprint. We take the following aspects into account in our decision-making process:
Crops used should not be associated with deforestation, or their overall contribution will become negative compared to petroleum-based products.
There must be consideration of the potential competition with human food.
Additional innovation is required to make their processing more efficient and improve performance in a number of areas where they can be technically challenged versus their fossil fuels alternatives.
Natural wax production for the volume of raw material we need would require 400km2 of land for the crops, raising biodiversity and competition of usage issues.
For more than 150 years, Bolsius has been a family-owned company and a leading global candle company. With around 1,200 employees, we produce and sell our products in over 50 countries. It is all about passionate teams, entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability. Is that your ambition too?