i For us, sustainability means thinking in terms of decades in our efforts to address key topics and also acting in the interests of the generations to come. Our corporate decisions aim to create specific benefits for people, to protect the planet and its resources and to generate added value for all of our stakeholders.
Sustainability approach and managementSustainability as the core of our corporate responsibility
We want to achieve our corporate success on a sustainable basis. For us, this means consistently following our understanding of sustainability and organisationally enshrining the topic of sustainability in the Group and in the Board of Management.
Our understanding of sustainability
We are convinced that sustainable success can only be achieved if we make positive contributions from an economic as well as ecological and social point of view (environmental, social and governance; ESG for short). We consider it a matter of course that we accept this responsibility. This is because we do not believe sustainability to be a mandatory exercise, but an integral part of our strategic orientation, both internally and externally, which is firmly anchored in our corporate culture. We want to set trends and, not only strengthen the awareness of sustainability at EWE with our commitment, but also in the industry and in society.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short) of the United Nations (UN) apply as guidelines for our sustainable orientation. In addition, we are committed to the principles of the UN Global Compact and are guided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the German National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (Nationaler Aktionsplan Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte) and the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization. We also support the Paris Climate Agreement and have had our CO2 reduction targets confirmed by the independent Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
Our sustainability organisation
Our CEO is primarily responsible for the topic of sustainability. Material decisions are coordinated and decided by the entire Board of Management as required. The interface between the CEO and the Group is sustainability management, which is part of the Group’s central function ‘Corporate Development’. It is responsible for strategy work and the further development of sustainability topics. An important element of the strategy work is the materiality analysis, which forms the basis for the key non-financial issues at EWE. In addition to developing the sustainability approach, Corporate Development acts as a driving force, organises, manages and accompanies internal projects and initiatives that equally affect all three topics of the environment, social involvement and corporate governance (ESG).
In addition, sustainability management is in constant contact with the other Group central functions (GCF). Topics such as external reporting, risk management, controlling and stakeholder management – which are to be considered under sustainability aspects – fall under the responsibility of the GCF.
The specialist teams are responsible for the content and control of the specialist topics of environment, integrity, employees as well as customers and social involvement. In the individual specialist teams, specialist team-related or cross-thematic meetings are held with the support of Sustainability Management, in which topics such as diversity, occupational safety or climate change mitigation are discussed. In this way, EWE ensures that management approaches, goals and measures are developed together with the specialist managers in order to meet EWE's responsibility in terms of sustainability.
Our ESG risk management
We also understand sustainability risks or ESG risks to mean risks in the areas of the environment, social involvement and governance. Here, we not only consider the negative effects on our business activities (outside-in), but also the negative effects of our business activities on the ESG areas (inside-out). The identification, evaluation and control of ESG risks has been integrated into the regular risk management process. A systematic comparison with the materiality analysis results is intended to ensure completeness. If they are of sufficient materiality, ESG risks are communicated to the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board as part of risk reporting.
The area Environment includes, but is not limited to, risks associated with climate change. We recognise that, as a result of climate change, climatic influences will change and extreme weather events will occur more frequently. Physical climate risks such as floods, droughts, water scarcity or sea levels rising are therefore becoming increasingly relevant. This also applies to transitory climate risks that result from changing political, legal, technological and market-related framework conditions and are associated with the transition to a low-carbon society. The physical climate risks are regularly identified and evaluated within the framework of a climate risk analysis. This is a scenario analysis based on the scientifically recognised RCP climate scenarios.
The area of social involvement includes, but is not limited to, risks related to our employees, our customers and the supply chain. Relevant topics in this regard include occupational safety, data protection and cybersecurity, ensuring security of supply and the protection of human rights. The area of Governance includes, but is not limited to, compliance-related risks. This includes, for example, anti-corruption and compliance with antitrust regulations.
Our most important non-financial topics
The sustainability team identifies the material non-financial issues for EWE and its stakeholders at regular intervals and derives measures therefrom. EWE is currently active in these areas:
For us, entrepreneurial activity is synonymous with integrity and honest, lawful business operations. We are keenly aware that integrity is the material requirement for our commercial success and plays a part in reducing legal and economic risks. Compliant conduct is therefore an essential foundation for the entire EWE Group that forms the basis for the trust and satisfaction of our customers and partners.
The increase in digitalisation means that data protection, information security and cybersecurity are playing an increasingly important role. EWE places great value on ensuring that personal data is handled carefully and not misused and on preventing the unauthorised access of company data. This is a crucial requirement for developing data-based business models and operating a secure, reliable and effective energy supply system.
An equally important component of our corporate responsibility is the preservation of human rights. In our business activities, we implement the applicable laws and respect internationally recognised human rights standards. In the course of our business activities, we strive to prevent any potential human rights violations.
Protecting the environment and climate change mitigation are of equally great importance for society and the economy. As an energy service provider, EWE bears a particular responsibility in this area and, together with other energy suppliers, is faced with the major task of facilitating the energy revolution with a reliable energy supply system and fulfilling the service obligation at the same time. In December 2020, this responsibility prompted the company to adopt the target of becoming climate neutral by 2035. Protecting the climate and the environment and conserving resources is already part of everyday practice.
Energy efficiency and renewable energies are the key to climate neutrality for us. We are systematically expanding the proportion of our electricity generation from renewable energy sources so that we can help bring about the energy revolution effectively and further reduce the energy sector’s carbon footprint. EWE is also striving to continuously reduce its internal energy consumption, minimise other adverse effects on the environment, and promote biodiversity. In this way, EWE combines its economic success with its responsibility for protecting the environment and the climate.
We have incorporated our renewable energy activities in Alterric GmbH, a joint venture of EWE and the Aloys Wobben Foundation. Alterric promotes climate-friendly energy prduction through wind energy and biogas plants.
EWE’s long-term success as a company depends on the passion, commitment, skill sets and health of our employees. As a result, it is particularly important to prioritise fair and attractive working conditions, maintain a HR strategy that meets the needs of today and provide many opportunities for further training.
In addition, EWE has set high standards to promote the health of its employees and provide them with a working environment conducive to their health and well-being. We also expect our business partners to comply with these standards.
We value responsive and fair cooperation and have laid down this requirement in our Code of Conduct, which our companies are committed to, as are our employees.
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Customers and social involvement
EWE considers its infrastructure to be the backbone of its future business. In addition to the security of supply of electricity and gas to our customers, this includes expanding the broadband network, which will enable digital participation for the people in the region.
The energy revolution and the necessary expansion of renewable energies present EWE with the challenge of integrating decentralised and volatile energy production facilities into the network. The infrastructural service obligation is also becoming more comprehensive and challenging as a result of sectors being linked and the growing demand for broadband.
EWE is working continuously to upgrade its infrastructure and make it more efficient in order to create a secure, reliable, climate-friendly and intelligent energy supply system. Through climate-friendly and innovative products and services, customers will be empowered to use renewable energies efficiently and produce them themselves. EWE also assumes regional responsibility in a variety of ways – in particular through the EWE Foundation’s commitments, our sponsoring activities and the EWE school mobile.