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Sustainability means securing the “futurability” of our business – interview with David Radermacher, Vice President for Sustainability & Climate of E.ON SE

There is no doubt that one of the most dynamically developing market segments in recent years has been that of ESG investments. Investments that take into account environmental, social and ethical corporate governance considerations have become indispensable players in investment markets.

The V4 ESG Conference organised by the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF) on 27 April will bring together global and local ESG leaders for a one-day virtual conference to explore the most pressing challenges and opportunities to developing world-class ESG investment approaches and standards.

CEENERGYNEWS spoke with David Radermacher, Vice President for Sustainability & Climate of E.ON SE and speaker of the V4 ESG Conference about how E.ON incorporated sustainability in its business operation and drives the change to meet our common long-term climate objectives.

E.ON published its new Sustainability Report in March measuring the progress the company has made in 2020. As Mr Radermacher explains the main purpose of the E.ON report is to be transparent towards stakeholders, therefore the report refers to the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental aspects, social aspects and also governance.

“We’re very well on track in many aspects,” starts Mr Radermacher adding that the report gives a very clear picture of E.ON’s ESG performance.

“I think our greatest achievement is the shift in priorities in our whole company: a very strong focus on delivering sustainable value to our customers and our stakeholders,” says E.ON’s Vice President of Sustainability and Climate.

“Referring to explicit targets, we have reduced our emissions by 10 per cent in the last year, which is very well in line with our overarching target to reduce our emissions in Scope 1 and 2 by 75 per cent until 2030.”

This year’s report is the first one that was published since the takeover of German energy company innogy has been completed by E.ON. The acquisition made E.ON one of the largest operators of energy networks and energy-related infrastructure in Europe with around 50 million customers and 75,000 employees in 15 countries.

The pandemic that was and remains a profound global crisis also presented E.ON with enormous challenges but Mr Radermacher highlights that even in the pandemic we cannot lose track of combatting global warming.

“We are more than ever focused on transitioning into a really sustainable energy future,” underlines Mr Radermacher.  “That’s why the most important result is really that we managed to reduce our emissions, and through our whole business activity we help our partners and customers to decarbonise,” he says.

“Together with our clients, we avoided nearly 100 million tons of CO2 in 2020.”

At the end of 2020, the E.ON Management Board set new ambitious climate targets, including becoming carbon-neutral by 2040. E.ON plans to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 and by 100 per cent by 2040 (both relative to 2019) and to reduce its Scope 3 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and by 100 per cent by 2050.

The ongoing decentralisation, digitalisation and decarbonisation of the energy world also require large investments. In August 2019 E.ON issued its first two Green Bond tranches of 750 million euros each and since then has been a frequent Green Bond issuer. As of year-end 2020, E.ON had issued 4,6 million euros in Green Bonds giving the chance for investors to participate in the (re-)financing of E.ON’s sustainable activities that are in line with its renewed Green Bond Framework.

“I’m proud of updating our Green Bond Framework, which is the first one in Europe to be fully in line with the EU taxonomy,” says Mr Radermacher. The Green Bond Reporting is also included in the Sustainability Report and contains information on the positive environmental impact of the projects.  

Although the progress is so far encouraging, there is still much to be accomplished. As Mr Radermacher says it’s obvious that we are not anywhere near the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“We have, most recently, committed ourselves to the Science-Based Targets Initiative and Business Ambition for 1.5°C,” he says. “This commitment proves how serious we are in doing our part to combat climate change.”

In setting its strategic course, E.ON also adopted a new Group People Strategy in 2020 setting the goal of becoming a leader in diversity and working towards the target of increasing the number of women in executive positions.

As Mr Radermacher says for E.ON, sustainability means securing the futurability of our business.

If you want to learn more about ESG and sustainability at EON join him and others on 27 April at the V4 ESG Conference.

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