Naturgy redoubles its efforts in ESG and sets environmental objectives for 2020
Naturgy plans to reduce the CO2 intensity of its electricity generation by 22%. 34% of its generation capacity will be of renewable origin. Last year, the company became one of the main investors in renewables, in Spain, with more than $1.12 billion (€1 billion) invested. With regard to biodiversity, 257 initiatives were developed, reaching an environmentally restored surface area of over 2,600 ha.
Naturgy is immersed in a transformation process to adapt its business to a more sustainable model. For this reason, the group has redoubled its efforts in the area of the environment, social action, and good corporate governance (ESG) over the last two years. In addition, the company has set new targets in this environmental area for 2022 to reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by at least 21% compared to 2017. The company also wants to reduce the CO2 intensity in electricity generation by 22% and to ensure that 34% of generation capacity is from renewable sources.
To achieve this goal, Naturgy is working on a set of measures that are in line with the global objective of slowing the increase in the planet’s temperature to 1.5 degrees. The company will take specific actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen environmental and climate change governance, promote renewable gas and the circular economy, and protect biodiversity and the development of natural capital.
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The company already has a new Global Environmental Policy and Plan in place
The new Global Environmental policy and Plan includes lines of action for 2022 and whose base year for calculating all objectives is 2017, in order to reflect the evolution linked to Strategic Plan 18-22. Thus, the main objectives of this sustainable roadmap to 2022 are focused on:
– Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 21% in 2022 compared to 2017.
– To reduce specific CO2 emissions from electricity generation by 22%.
– Achieving a percentage of renewable power in the electricity generation mix of over 34% by 2022.
– To reduce water consumption by 20% in 2022.
– To reduce total waste production (hazardous + non-hazardous) by 70%.
– To double the percentage of recycled and recovered waste by 2022.
– To carry out at least 300 biodiversity initiatives per year.
Naturgy’s Chairman, Francisco Reynés, explained that “this new environmental strategy is based on the premise of the Strategic Plan which considers the energy transition to be an opportunity, where the company wants to be part of it and be an active agent with determination and where it can contribute its expertise and global vision.”
Goals already achieved by Naturgy
In 2019 alone, the company reduced its CO2 emissions by 16%, reduced water use in its activities by 25%, generated 66% less waste, and revalued or recycled 57% of the waste produced, among other achievements. Although some of these improvements exceed the objectives of the Environmental Plan, this does not mean that they have been met since the reference year is 2022.
The important boost in clean technologies should be highlighted. Last year, the company became one of the main investors in renewables, with an investment effort of more than $1.12 billion (€1 billion), and increased the weight of these energies to 27% in its energy mix, up to 4,500 MW, where the strong deployment developed in Spain through the implementation of 667 wind megawatts and 250 MW of solar energy, as well as the projects being developed in Chile and Australia, stand out. Naturgy was also the first company to request the closure of all its coal plants.
With regard to biodiversity, 257 initiatives were developed, reaching an environmentally restored surface area of over 2,600 ha, 60% of which correspond to protected areas or habitats of protected species.
For all these reasons, last year the CDP index gave Naturgy the highest rating (A List), being the only Spanish energy company and one of the five utilities worldwide to achieve this.
These efforts continue to bear fruit, such that this year the company is one of the finalists for the first time in its history in the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE Awards), granted by the European Commission and which are the most important in the sector.
Another positive aspect of 2019 is the balance between emissions made and those avoided
CO2 emissions avoided in 2019 represented a total of 151 MtCO2, most of which (92%) is due to the use of natural gas as a substitute for other more emitting fossil fuels. For the first time, in 2019, avoided emissions exceeded the group’s total emissions, considering both direct and indirect emissions. Thus, the climate balance was 104% in favor of avoided emissions, which reflects Naturgy’s progress and contribution towards a decarbonised economy.
With regard to climate change, last week Naturgy published its Carbon Footprint Report for the year 2019. This report has been published continuously since 2010, this year being the eleventh edition.
In an environment of growing interest in this type of information, added to the first level relevance that climate change has in the international agenda, the Carbon Footprint Report is a very valuable information that Naturgy offers to all its stakeholders, especially investors and analysts.
The report complies with the highest standard of information on climate change, as dictated by the Financial Stability Board, the international body of the financial markets. The content of the report is verified by an accredited independent third party, thus following the transparency criteria set by the group.
The transformation that the company is undertaking, together with its Strategic Plan, has a special emphasis on the decarbonization of its businesses. The reflection of this transformation in the group’s internal policies, in the key indicators of climate change, in the objectives for reducing emissions or in the evolution of the emissions inventory, take on special importance thanks to this report.
Innovation: development of biomethane
On the other hand, Naturgy continues to make progress in the development of biomethane as an exponent of native, carbon-neutral, renewable, circular and energizing fuel for the rural economy, which also resolves the impacts generated by the waste from which it is generated. Naturgy launched two innovation projects in renewable gas last year and for the first time in the country injected biomethane into the gas distribution network.
This new environmental strategy also has its impact on the customer. Naturgy considers climate change to be a global environmental challenge and is committed to offering its customers eco-efficient and less CO2-intensive energy products and services to help mitigate climate change and contribute to the energy transition. An example of this is the product Neutral Gas, through which Naturgy offers its customers a natural gas supply service compensated by neutralizing their CO2 emissions.
This effort by the company was made possible by the fact that a total of $612 million (€546 million) was allocated to environmental protection during the year, the highest figure ever achieved in the company’s history, helping to drive the energy transition, increase the eco-efficiency of operations and activate biodiversity protection initiatives.
The company set up a Sustainability Committee
Reynés explained that in this way “the company is making significant progress in ESG matters to generate long-term sustainable value for all our stakeholders and to strengthen our company, which is always respectful of the environment. We will continue to strengthen our commitment to health and safety, as well as our Corporate Responsibility Policy.”
In this regard, the company has also created a Sustainability Committee, responsible for overseeing and supervising the company’s role in the energy transition, as well as strengthening the Board’s commitment in this area. This Committee joins the Nominating, Compensation and Corporate Governance Committee and the Audit and Control Committee.
With the setting up of this new Committee, Naturgy reinforces the work it has already been carrying out in the field of sustainability, with the aim of maintaining its leadership as a responsible, reliable, integral, transparent company committed to its stakeholders. The company is already a reference in sustainability matters and has been reinforced in recent years in the main international indexes, such as the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability or the FTSE4Good, as well as in the references of Vigeo, Sustainalytics and Oekom.
The Sustainability Committee will have, among other functions, the periodic analysis of indicators in the environmental, health and safety and social responsibility fields, of the expectations of the Company’s various stakeholders and the preparation of reports and proposals for action, within its scope, for the consideration of the Board of Directors.
(Featured image by Free-Photos via Pixabay)
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First published in La Nueva Cronica, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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