ForTheDoers Blog

Reviewing Fortum’s lobbying practices is an important step towards greater transparency in climate advocacy

Merja Paavola 04 May 2021, 16:09 EEST

Fortum wants to be a forerunner in driving greater corporate transparency and accountability relating to climate change advocacy and to lobbying in general. Therefore, we have decided to commence a comprehensive review of our lobbying practices in Europe, Russia and India. The review also strives to answer the increasing expectations of the investor community regarding corporate climate actions and transparency in climate lobbying.

Businesspeople shaking hands

Lobbying is at the heart of Fortum’s public affairs work – it provides a way of advancing our ambitious climate targets in dialogue with policy makers and other stakeholders. As announced by our CEO Markus Rauramo at Fortum’s Annual General Meeting on 28 April, we have decided to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our lobbying activities and practices with a special focus on climate policy. As part of this assessment, we will clarify our lobbying practices and governance – increasing transparency in lobbying is an important principle for Fortum.

A key element of this work is also to assess how well the advocacy work of the key energy-related industry associations of which Fortum is a member in Europe, Russia and India is aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement.

The first review will be finalised during 2021. From 2022 onwards, it will be part of Fortum’s annual Sustainability reporting process. Looking forward to getting to this work with our team and stakeholders!

Investors are an important catalyst for increased transparency in climate lobbying

In parallel with our own will to increase transparency and accountability of our lobbying, we have recognised increasing expectations of the investor community and other external stakeholders for more transparent climate advocacy. They want to ensure that companies’ lobbying is aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Fortum is committed to the objectives of the Climate Action 100+ initiative, which has driven the development of the disclosure of corporate climate-related activities. This initiative brings together over 570 investors who engage companies to improve climate change governance, cut emissions and strengthen climate-related financial disclosure.

Furthermore, the regulatory requirements concerning corporate transparency are developing: the EU transparency and corporate accountability regulation and, for example, the upcoming Finnish transparency register are re-shaping companies’ lobbying practices.

Both direct lobbying and the industry associations’ positions under review

In brief, Fortum pursues transparent, solution-driven, constructive, pro-active, forward-looking and fact-based lobbying based on robust governance procedures. In practice, it means that we:

  • Have an active dialogue with legislative bodies in the EU and our operating countries and we systematically monitor stakeholder discussions and the topics discussed
  • Actively contribute to various public consultations at the EU level and the national level (you can find our position papers on our website)
  • Share our views and knowledge in other channels, such as Fortum’s ForTheDoers blog
  • Ensure that Fortum never uses third parties for lobbying on our behalf
  • Never make payments to political parties, organisations, or their representatives.

Direct lobbying, however, is only one part of how we advance our objectives in the fight against climate change. Fortum is involved in several industry associations and company coalitions for joint climate engagement lobbying. The key industry associations include, among others, Eurelectric, Euroheat and Power, IETA, Finnish Energy, Swedenergy and Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. These organisations work on a consensus principle and sometimes their position remains at a more general level than the individual company positions. Our annual review will enhance knowledge on how well the industry associations’ positions are aligned with the Paris Agreement.

At Fortum, we strive for the continuous development of our lobbying skills and practices with the aim to become a benchmark company in lobbying among energy industry players. We believe that the lobbying review is an important step forward and provides us with ingredients for further improvements. Yet, it is a learning process for us, too.

Merja Paavola

Vice President, Corporate Public Affairs
Tel: +358 50 396 1161
merja [dot] paavola [at] fortum [dot] com

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