GRI 102-16, GRI 102-17, GRI 102-19, GRI 102-20, GRI 102-26, GRI 102-32, GRI 102-33, GRI 206-1, GRI 307-1
For 50Hertz, business activity that is successful in the long term is achieved by acting in the best interests of the Company. This is reflected in the Company’s vision: "A successful energy transition – for a sustainable world" and in its strategy "From 60 to 100 by 2032 - New Energy for a Strong Economy", which was revised in 2020. 50Hertz is committed to advancing the energy transition and making a specific contribution to enabling stable electricity supply in 50Hertz’s grid area with 100% renewable energy by 2032. The three strategic pillars specify how 50Hertz can efficiently provide the required infrastructure as part of Elia Group and, in doing so, create added value for society and strengthen the position of its customers. The sometimes opposing objectives and interests of stakeholders are to be reconciled as much as possible with the objectives and interests of the Company. Maximum transparency, which is also embodied in this report, provides the basis for this.
Under the overall responsibility of the Chief Financial Officer, a sustainability concept was defined and a roadmap of measures designed for the continuous improvement of the sustainable influence of our Company on society and the steady expansion of sustainability reporting.
The importance of constantly expanding sustainability management is clear from its inclusion in the annual business plan valid for five years. As part of the sustainability strategy, objectives, indicators and measures are systematically developed, reviewed and integrated into the corporate strategy. A company-wide committee (CSR Board) at first (general managers) and second management level (department heads) oversees this development from the development of measures to reporting presided over by the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Human Resources Officer. The CSR Board meets twice a year to agree on targets and processes.
The relevant departments of the Company are responsible for implementing the individual measures and collecting key figures. The core CSR team meets every quarter for this purpose. Data controllers make performance indicators understandable and available to the whole Company on the central transparency management platform. Sustainability risks are discussed with the management and assessed in the quarterly risk analysis as well as at an annual risk conference. In addition, certified management systems, such as ISO 45001 in occupational health and safety and ISO 27001 in information security management as well as internal management systems based on recognised standards, including environmental management (according to ISO 14001) and early public participation (according to VDI 7000), are used in the core areas of CSR.
GRI 102-18, GRI 102-19, GRI 102-20
The operational management of the Eurogrid GmbH Group was delegated to the management of 50Hertz by way of a number of agreements.
In fiscal year 2020, 50Hertz’s management consisted of five members: Stefan Kapferer (Chief Executive Officer), Dr. Dirk Biermann (Chief Markets & System Operations Officer), Sylvia Borcherding (Chief Human Resources Officer), Dr. Frank Golletz (Chief Technical Officer) and Marco Nix (Chief Financial Officer). The Chief Digital Officer Michael von Roeder rounds off the extended management team.
The responsibilities and organisation of the sustainability management are firmly entrenched.
50Hertz always acts in accordance with the law. Its business activities are subject to numerous national and European regulations. The following laws, which have a significant influence on business activities for the integration of renewable energy and thus on the area of sustainability, should be highlighted in the reporting year:
The German Act on the Reduction and Termination of Coal-Fired Electricity Generation and Amending Further Acts ("Kohleausstiegsgesetz": German Coal Phase-out Act), the German Act to Develop and Promote Offshore Wind Energy ("Windenergie-auf-See-Gesetz" – "WindSeeG"), the German Planning Assurance Act to Ensure Proper Planning and Approval Procedures during the COVID-19 Pandemic ("Planungssicherstellungsgesetz" – "PlanSiG"), the Act to Amend the German Renewable Energy Act and Other Energy Regulations ("Gesetz zur Änderung des Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetzes und weiterer energierechtlicher Vorschriften" – "EEGuaÄndG") as well as the draft law to amend the German Federal Requirement Plan Act ("Bundesbedarfsplangesetz" – "BBPIG") and other provisions ("Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Änderung des Bundesbedarfsplangesetzes und anderer Vorschriften").
50Hertz always acts in accordance with the law. Its business activities are subject to numerous national and European regulations. The following main laws and European regulations provide the framework for our business activities:
• the EnWG (German Energy Industry Act)• the EEG (German Renewable Energy Sources Act)• the NEMoG (German Grid User Charge Modernisation Act)• the KWKG (German Combined Heat and Power Act)• the BImSchG (Federal Immission Control Act)• the BNatSchG (Federal Act for the Protection of Nature)• the German Digitisation of the Energy Transition Act• the EU Energy Efficiency Directive• the Fauna-Flora-Habitat (FFH) Directive• the EU Birds Directive.
50Hertz expresses its commitment to responsible corporate management in its sustainability mission statement and its Company Charter, which lays out its intention to comply with the ten principles of the UN Global Compact with regard to human rights, work standards, environmental protection, and the fight against corruption. Comprehensive company documentation is also available to our employees, containing all applicable directives, guidelines, work instructions, process manuals and company agreements, and is integrated into the company-wide intranet. In 2020, this company manual was completely revised, updated, made easier to understand and made more accessible. The Company Charter and guidelines set out what is meant by correct corporate conduct and make clear the fact that all employees comply with the law. These principles flow into organisational measures that are binding for the whole Company. No significant fines were imposed on 50Hertz in the reporting year in connection with general business activities, power line construction projects or operations. The reporting threshold for administrative offences was set at EUR 25,000.
GRI 102-16, GRI 415-1
Because legislative activities have a major impact on the business activities of 50Hertz, the company represents its positions transparently and publicly as part of the political process. This is the responsibility of the Communications and Politics department. This political communication is conducted responsibly and without donations to political parties. Ethical principles for political lobbying were set out. The guidelines on conduct in the political arena, which apply for the whole company and are agreed with the management, define these principles. They stipulate that 50Hertz makes no donations to politicians or parties, and when providing sponsorship ensures appropriate consideration and proper balance. Responsibility for contributions to party-affiliated foundations and associations is embedded centrally in the Communications and Politics department. In this way, together with specific training programmes, 50Hertz ensures that employees who are active in terms of social and energy policy are guided in their communications and their actions by clearly defined principles. Furthermore, 50Hertz is entered in the EU Transparency Register and is committed to its Code of Conduct. In 2020, 50Hertz did not make any contributions to politicians or political parties.
GRI 205-2, GRI 205-3
Guidelines on preventing corruption specify 50Hertz’s understanding of correct ethical conduct and that the Company does not tolerate corruption in any shape or form. These principles flow into organisational measures that are binding for the whole Company. The internal control systems (ICS) are developed on an ongoing basis and employees’ awareness of defined, relevant business areas is raised in the course of training sessions and appraisals, amongst other things. 50Hertz also regularly provides all employees in the Regulation, Tax and Procurement departments with training on anti-corruption and compliant behaviour. For example, since 2016, 27 procurement training sessions have been held across different sites for 332 employees from throughout the Company.
A comprehensive e-learning programme on corporate compliance as well as continuously accompanying communication are planned for 2021. The identification and analysis of relevant compliance risks as well as the revision of the existing code of ethics are expected to help effectively enhance and strengthen corporate compliance management. There were no incidents of corruption in the reporting period.
GRI 102-30, GRI 102-11
As part of its systematic risk management, 50Hertz regularly surveys and assesses the following risk areas:
50Hertz aims to avoid risks to the Company’s continued existence, to reduce risk positions as much as possible where feasible and to optimise the opportunity/risk profile. Risk guidelines set down how risks are systematically identified, recorded, assessed and monitored on a quarterly basis. A risk conference is held once a year in which all department heads (second management level), as risk owners, and the risk manager meet with the management to discuss the most significant risks and risk-related issues. At project management level, an integrated process was installed for the combined planning of schedule, budget and risk management. In the context of sustainability, various risks are allocated to the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) areas. These include risks relating to occupational health and safety, environmental damage as well as data security and transparency. An initiative was launched at the level of Elia Group, which enhances the management of ESG risks and will impact the risk management of 50Hertz. The plan in 2021 is to assess climate risks and to integrate these into the risk management of all companies of Elia Group, including 50Hertz, to an even greater extent.
GRI industry information on disaster/emergency planning and disaster management measures
As an operator of critical infrastructure, 50Hertz is required under the IT-SiG and the EnWG to ensure information security on systems necessary for maintaining security of supply. Information must be processed, stored and communicated such that the availability, confidentiality and integrity of the information and the critical systems are ensured to a sufficient and appropriate extent.
The information security management system pursuant to ISO 27001 "IT security catalogue in accordance with Sec. 11 (1a) EnWG" was recertified in 2020. This established security process ensures that information security risks are systematically identified and addressed. In the reporting year, no targeted cyber-attacks on 50Hertz were registered and no damage from information security incidents was recorded. In an independent audit for the evaluation and certification of data centres’ operational safety (based on DIN EN 56000), the tier 3 data centres of 50Hertz were reported to be "highly available".
As part of the data security management system (DSMS), the existing e-learning programme was updated and both internal and external employees were provided with information and training.
For 50Hertz, security goes beyond its corporate boundaries. Therefore, both internal and external stakeholders receive training in crisis management and communication in the form of regular crisis team exercises, among other things. As a result of this, not only existing structures, processes and reporting channels are evaluated and continuously improved, but the crisis team members and employees also receive intensive training on how to deal with unexpected events level-headedly under special stresses and quickly make appropriate decisions to manage crises. These and further measures aim to continuously and holistically increase the resilience of 50Hertz. In addition to the training concept for all members of the crisis team, this includes the examination of the object protection approaches and the further development of the Company’s general security.
In the reporting year, the transmission system operators 50Hertz and Energinet from Denmark as well as the operators of the coal-fired power plant KNG Rostock successfully performed a simulation of a power grid restart. Live testing was carried out of the fictional situation following a power outage in continental Europe with voltage supplied from Denmark. This was the first time a land and sea cable connection between two countries as well as offshore wind power were used under real conditions to restart a power plant. These kind of start-up attempts, also known as black start tests, are part of the grid restoration plans of transmission system operators, as their capability has to be tested regularly in their corresponding grid areas to guarantee the swiftest possible restoration of the electricity grid after a power outage.