ForTheDoers Blog

Sustainability collaboration in exceptional circumstances

Ulla Rehell  |  25 March 2022, 10:34

As we have finalized Fortum’s sustainability reporting 2021, I find it important to reflect on the exceptional year and sustainability collaboration between Fortum and Uniper. Together, we reassessed the sustainability priorities of both companies by utilising the same methods. We share the majority of the material topics, but there are also some slight differences that stem from, for example, nature of our operations and the emphasis of public discussion in different countries.

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2021 was the first full year with Uniper consolidated as a subsidiary of Fortum. We now have the Group’s sustainability data for key performance indicators available in one information system. As Fortum Group, we are well-positioned to respond to increasing reporting responsibilities. These include for instance EU Taxonomy-related reporting and the reporting requirements coming with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

We are devastated and saddened by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Both Fortum and Uniper have communicated about business decisions made due to the geopolitical situation. The current developments have added a new variable to the equation of sustainability, affordability, and security of supply of power, which is independence. This is something we will have to consider across Europe as we move forward with the energy transition.

Looking at the dire situation, we all feel the need to help. The people in Ukraine need humanitarian aid. Fortum Group’s donation to the Red Cross is directed to support humanitarian relief actions in Ukraine and for refugees in the neighbouring countries.

Coal exit proceeds, climate targets cover the entire value chain

After the drop in 2020, energy consumption in our market areas increased in 2021 as economies recovered and societies learned to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. For securing the electricity supply, authorities ordered that reserve coal power be taken into use in Germany. This together with the recovered economy and increased fossil-based power generation in Europe and Russia resulted in an increase in our direct Scope 1 emissions.

However, our climate targets remain. Our target is to be carbon neutral in our European generation already in 2035 and in our operations globally in 2050 at the latest, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We also developed a new target for the reduction of indirect Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which play a significant role in our total greenhouse gas emissions. I think this is an important step forward in our climate work.

Our coal exit is proceeding well. Within less than one year, we have been able to announce the accelerated coal phase-out of six of our coal-fired power plants in Germany and the UK compared to the original timetable. By 2030, Fortum will phase out or exit about 8 GW of coal-fired power generation. The energy transition and the transition to carbon neutrality rely on clean power and gas, such as hydrogen.

We will also strengthen and grow in CO2-free power generation. Our target is to build 1.5–2 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2025. During the year, we announced our first joint wind power project of 380 MW in Finland together with Uniper. During the first quarter of 2022 Fortum won the right to build two solar projects in India with total capacity of 800 MW.

Biodiversity is among our sustainability priorities. For the year 2021, we set our first Group-level target for biodiversity and increased our internal communication on the subject. The biodiversity target was achieved and we carried out 13 major voluntary measures that improve the living conditions of species and strengthen populations. During 2022, our target is to develop a science-based strategy to measure and enhance the biodiversity impacts of the Group’s operations and new developments.

Supporting physical and mental wellbeing

I’m glad to say that there haven’t been any pandemic-related interruptions in our energy production or challenges in maintaining operational safety. We continued to focus on supporting both the physical and mental wellbeing of people in these exceptional conditions. Special emphasis was put on supporting the teams and managers in remote and virtual work. The implementation of a Hybrid Work Model consisted of training and coaching more than 800 managers and employees.

Together with Uniper, we also initiated the alignment of several key safety processes. Fortum launched new Safety Ground Rules to help keep safety on everyone’s agenda at all times and to improve Fortum’s safety performance.

Diversity and inclusion are key to our long-term success as a company in all our markets. The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group and United Nations Women showed that there are improvement areas. However, we have also made progress. Fortum was the best among the Finnish listed companies in the European Women on Boards (EWoB) Gender Diversity Index, ranking at 22/668. Fortum also had the biggest improvement in gender diversity in top management positions among the Finnish companies. This is something to be proud of.

Fortum’s sustainability report is available on our website.

Ulla Rehell, Vice President, Sustainability

Ulla Rehell

Vice President, Sustainability
Tel: +358 50 383 9426
ulla [dot] rehell [at] fortum [dot] com

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