GRI 102-15, GRI 102-46, GRI 102-47, GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 201-2
The energy transition is one of the greatest challenges society is currently facing. As demonstrated by Elia Group’s mission statement, “For a successful energy transition in a sustainable world”, and 50Hertz’s new initiative entitled “100 percent by 2032”, we are making it clear that we are an active driver of the decarbonisation of society and industry. To this end, we are developing the grid, the system and the market of the future.
‘Through our new 50Hertz initiative “100 percent by 2032” and Elia Group’s sustainability initiatives, we are making an important contribution to achieving European, national and regional sustainability objectives. The successful placement of our first Green Bond in May 2020 reflects that investors trust the activities, projects and plans that we are undertaking in line with the current regulatory framework.’
ActNow, the Elia group sustainability programme, is linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). ActNow includes five dimensions: Climate Action; Environment and Circular Economy; Health & Safety; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Governance, Ethics &Compliance.
In 2015, the international community, represented by the United Nations, outlined 17 goals for sustainable development. In the lead-up to 2030 and as part of the 2030 Agenda, these global goals aim to reduce inequality, promote equal opportunity and initiate sustainable growth. A wide range of actors, from governments through to private companies, are expected to be involved in meeting these goals, analyse risks and opportunities and exploit sustainability potentials. Through its German Sustainability Strategy, the German Federal Government created the framework for the national implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
50Hertz’s aim of integrating an increasing amount of renewable energy into its grid has a very positive impact on SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy). 50Hertz also contributes to economic growth and employment across the different regions that its grid spans, so strengthening SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Through our activities in the field of innovation and our donations and sponsoring, we make positive contributions to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 4 (Quality Education). Overall, the business activity are a 100% positive contribution to the achievement of the SDGs.
50Hertz’s activities also cover SDG-related risks, including SDG 13 (Climate Action), 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). We carefully assess and strengthen the management of these risks. For example, we carry out extensive research about the impact of climate change and other risks which are connected to our business activities and those of our supply chain; we also review supplier commitments to topics such as environmental impact and circular economy.
During the reporting year, the Group’s ActNow programme was developed further. We reviewed our departments and processes in line with the SDGs and with a view to improving our performance in terms of sustainability. We also developed indicators related to different targets and published an implementation roadmap. We therefore set ourselves concrete objectives which we regularly review and steer.
While our ActNow programme supports a sustainable approach to business activities along our value chain, we want to go even further. Our initiative entitled 100 percent by 2032 aims to ensure that 100% of the energy demand in our grid area is covered by renewable energy by 2032. We will support suppliers of renewable energy to quickly implement their projects and industry to decarbonise its processes. We will therefore contribute to fighting climate change in an effective way and strengthen sustainable industrial sites.
Our Group-wide ActNow programme and 100 percent by 2032 initiative are allowing us to make an ambitious contribution to European, national and regional renewable energy and climate targets and to the decarbonisation of society.
Our Group-wide materiality matrix indicates our most important fields of action and priorities. It serves as a guide for the transparent reporting we carry out and is an important element for our strategic decision-making. The development and review of our materiality matrix is based on a systematic process, as part of which we involve external and internal stakeholders. We also regularly consult external studies (such as the Word Energy Issues Monitor or the World Energy Council) and analyses (such as the GRI Sector Supplement for Electric Utilities) as part of this process. Senior management, public authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), politicians, investors, the media, customers, suppliers and representatives from 50Hertz staff all participate in this process.
In 2020, Elia Group set about prioritising our risks and opportunities based on the Sustainable Development Goals. This first approach served as the basis for the development of the Group’s ActNow programme, through which the Group set itself concrete goals. An external organisation - S&P Trucost - supported the Group by identifying the most relevant SDGs: they considered both the opportunities (positive external effects on performance, development and reputation) and the risks (negative external effects of our activities or on our business activities) across the Group’s entire value chain. This approach covers both the impacts the Elia group has on the external environment (inside-out) and the impacts the external environment has on the Elia group (outside-in) and is also designated as ‘double materiality’.
The result of this process is the Group’s materiality matrix, which prioritises its reporting and management of ESG issues. The materiality matrix is used to determine the Group’s current and future priorities and focus points. It also serves as a guide for the determination of topics that the Group includes in its annual reporting. The matrix reflects the importance of different topics to its stakeholders.
The 50Hertz materiality matrix consists of three categories: ‘low’, ‘medium’ and ‘high’. The chart above includes the topics that have ‘medium’ and ‘high’ levels of materiality and highlights those topics that contribute directly to one or more of the SDGs.
The materiality of each topic is analysed as part of a regular cycle. In order to gain a thorough understanding of stakeholder views and keep pace with economic and social change, a survey of the most important external stakeholders is due to take place; this survey will include extensive interviews and workshops and is planned for the third quarter of 2022.