RWE backing transparency: Company publishes its 20th sustainability report
Dr Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE AG: “Energy supply must be secure, at all times. That is what RWE stands for. That is our contribution, from a dependable partner, to the success of the energy transition. Our new claim ‘Powering. Reliable. Future.’ reflects our self-image, our role for the energy system and for society. In our report “Responsibility 2016″ published today we are providing comprehensive information and many facts about how we act and what we are planning. In a responsible and a transparent manner.”
RWE stands for transparency. For this reason, the Company has been reporting systematically since 1998 on all major factors in the economy, the environment and society in its Corporate Responsibility report. In 2015, RWE occupied slot 14 in the ranking of Germany’s sustainability reports among 150 participants (find out more at www.ranking-nachhaltigkeitsberichte.de).
The report is guided by the international standard of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI G4). The GRI guidelines have become established worldwide as best practice. They are being further developed in a cooperation between companies, investors, rating agencies, associations and scientists. In addition, RWE has major sections of the report scrutinized by the auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). RWE extensively reports on all three key fields of “Environment, Social, Governance” (ESG) in a total of 58 sub-items.
The central subject when it comes to ecological sustainability at RWE is the management of CO2 emissions in conventional power generation. These emissions will fall steadily in the future. In line with national and European climate targets, RWE has inter alia developed a lignite roadmap. By 2020, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 15% thanks to the security stand-by. By the start of the 2030s, 40-50% less carbon will be emitted, owing, among other things, to the end of the Inden opencast mine and the associated shutdown of the Weisweiler power plant; after 2030, there will be a further reduction in CO2 until depletion of the Hambach and Garzweiler opencast mines toward the middle of the century.
Another example of carbon reduction is in RWE’s activities in the Netherlands. The Amer 9 hardcoal-fired power station, after July 2017, will reach the specific emissions at the level of a combined-cycle gas turbine plant thanks to the use of biomass and heat extraction. The Eemshaven power plant, too, is to use up to 15% biomass.
One important concern for RWE remains the safe operation, but also the decommissioning, of nuclear-power stations. Other core tasks include high-quality recultivation and rehabilitation of opencast-mine surfaces no longer in use.
Companies like RWE are called upon by their stakeholders to enforce ethical standards in their supply chain with their purchasing policy. At an international level, however, there are hardly any binding definitions for environmental protection, human rights, industrial safety and the fight against corruption. Which is why RWE in 2012 already, together with other large hard-coal buyers, set up the ´Bettercoal´ initiative. A central database makes available the results and self-assessments of coal producers. Each audit and each self-assessment is followed by a binding improvement process that addresses any defects found. The names of the producers for which self-disclosure or an on-the-spot audit is available are regularly listed on the ´Bettercoal´ website – provided the mines agree to such publication. At the end of 2016, the ´Bettercoal´ database contained detailed self-assessments for 26 mines and the results of six on-the-spot audits and one repeat audit within the scope of the agreed improvement process.
Responsible governance and control of the Company is a cornerstone of RWE’s long-term success. The guiding principle is Germany’s Corporate Governance Code, launched in 2002, in its currently applicable version. The Company meets the Code’s recommendations in every respect. They are supplemented by RWE’s code of conduct, which is binding on all employees and is a firm component of all procurement processes. For all relevant subjects, like risk, compliance, industrial safety, environmental protection, etc., RWE has built up uniform management systems.
With its new corporate structure, RWE has laid the foundations for strengthening its financial clout and for making the Group more efficient and competitive. RWE’s business model and its alignment offer a range of opportunities, since conventional power generation will go on being needed in Europe for years to come. For this, the Company is very well equipped thanks to its broad-based and flexible power-plant portfolio. Using our know-how in trading, new business fields can be tapped. These include specialist offerings for industrial clients and municipal utilities.