One central theme of our sustainable corporate strategy is climate protection. And we have set ourselves an ambitious goal in this regard: We want to become climate neutral with respect to our own emissions across the whole company by 2035. We aim to already reduce the CO₂ emissions at EnBW by 50% by 2030, based on the reference year of 2018. The path to climate neutrality will require the rigorous phasing out of coal-fired generation. According to the Coal Phase-out Act approved by the German Bundestag in 2020, this process must be completed by 2038. EnBW had already phased out 40% of its particularly carbon-intensive electricity generation before this act was passed. A further 2.5 GW will be removed from operation by 2030 and the phase-out process will be fully completed by 2035. To this end, the fuel switch options will be examined. The fuel switch will take place in two stages: firstly from coal to more climate-friendly gas and then in the medium term to climate-neutral gas (biogas or hydrogen). Switching raw materials in this way will not only contribute to maintaining a reliable energy supply but will also help to preserve existing power plant sites.
As has been the case in its previous restructuring activities, EnBW will take the interests of all employees into account during the changes associated with the phasing out of coal. It is our aim to give our employees new perspectives by offering them alternative jobs in growth areas of the company and opportunities for furthering their personal development. We are facing up to the challenges associated with our sustainable corporate strategy using a human resources strategy that places the focus on people.
The main focus of our activities for protecting the climate and environment is the phasing out of electricity generation using fossil fuels.
Achieving economic success and acting responsibly are not conflicting principles that can only be reconciled with great difficulty. Rather, they can exist in a symbiotic relationship with one another. In the past few years, we have invested a huge amount in renewable energies and the expansion of the grids. As part of our EnBW 2025 strategy, we will grow beyond our core area of energy and transform ourselves into a sustainable infrastructure partner. We will expand our business fields renewable energies, electricity grids, e-mobility and broadband, and supplement our activities to include new areas such as the development and operation of entire city districts.
These business activities will require significant investment – a total of around €12 billion by 2025. We also expect to generate significantly higher earnings by 2025 with an adjusted EBITDA of €3.2 billion.
The third pillar depicts the social dimension of sustainability, in which the main focus is placed on people. Alongside quantitative parameters in human resources development, emphasis is being placed on the personal development of employees and maintaining their employability. For example, retraining and further qualification measures were implemented at an early stage in the area of conventional generation at EnBW, in which around 3,400 people are currently employed. Some employees who used to work in a conventional power plant are already applying their technical expertise to, for example, the operation of the company's offshore power plants. In addition, EnBW started a training program for migrants and refugees in 2016. 59 people are currently completing a technical apprenticeship. A record number of apprentices and students also began their first year of training at the company in 2021 and more than 1,000 young professionals are now currently working at EnBW.
Sustainability is frequently perceived as an abstract concept, but it also explicitly begins with every single person and their individual living and working environments. Our employees are the shapers of a sustainable future – both that of the company and also their own. And sustainability starts with what seem to be small steps. That is why we generate awareness for the responsibility employees have in their own personal working environment and motivate employees to get involved: This includes, for example, the goal of reducing paper consumption by up to 90% by 2025 and planning business trips based on considerations relating to carbon emissions, through to a sustainable procurement strategy and sustainable company restaurants.
Furthermore, the expansion of electromobility at EnBW is being accompanied by an offer extended to all 14,000 employees in selected companies in the EnBW Group to lease, at low rates, an electric vehicle, which they can charge at all EnBW sites.
Moreover, EnBW takes its social responsibility seriously in a diverse range of ways. For example, we provide funding and sponsorship to many organizations across Baden-Württemberg, with a focus on education, popular sports and supporting young people.
Our expanded sustainability agenda comprises a package of 25 new measures. Here, we introduce you to some of them.
EnBW has been rigorously pushing forward the expansion of electricity generation from renewable energy sources for many years. In the 2020 reporting year, we were able to successfully conclude some major and significant projects – and also start developing some others.
We completed one major project shortly after the start of 2020: After placing EnBW Hohe See – our first wind farm on the high seas, located 100 km from the German North Sea coast – into operation in the previous year, we were also able to connect its small neighbor EnBW Albatros to the grid. The joint total of 87 wind turbines with an installed capacity of around 640 MW at Germany’s largest wind farm have been generating electricity since then.
One project ends, another begins: EnBW and its British partner bp had their bid for two high-quality sites in the Irish Sea accepted in February 2021. We want to jointly construct two offshore wind farms with a total output of 3 GW on these sites by 2028. EnBW set another German record on land at the end of 2020: We were able to construct the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park with a capacity of 187 MWp. and place it partially into operation. It is the largest solar park of this type in Germany with around 465,000 solar modules on an area covering more than 160 hectares. And this is only the beginning: We are already planning to build two more power plants of this size in the region.
The Nezzy² pilot project for the development of a floating wind power plant points to the energy world of the future. The advantage of this design is that it will allow the construction of wind power plants in waters that are too deep for conventional turbines. A prototype on a scale of 1:10 has already braved storms and waves in the Bay of Greifswald. The next step is to test the full-scale design off the coast of China.
The expansion of electricity generation from renewable energy sources requires a huge amount of investment. We are committed to ensuring that this financing complies with strict sustainability criteria. We issued our first green bond in 2018 – mainly to finance EnBW Hohe See and Albatros. Others have since followed, with the latest being a green subordinated bond with a volume of €500 million in 2020. The total volume of these types of securities issued to date by EnBW is €2 billion. We will also utilize sustainable financing instruments in future for investments in our ambitious sustainability targets.
The EnBW subsidiary NetCom BW is the partner for local authorities, business and private customers when it comes to making connections.
There is usually no problem accessing a fast Internet connection in urban areas. But NetCom BW has also set its sights on rural regions with poorer infrastructure and lower populations. These areas should also be wellconnected. One thing has become abundantly clear, most recently during the coronavirus pandemic: The way we work and collaborate, live and learn has radically changed for the long term. We are taking account of these changes at NetCom BW and laying the foundations for the data world and living environment of tomorrow with our broadband infrastructure and services.
A fast connection to the global data network is a fundamental requirement for the success of a municipality.
Smart and climate neutral
The Energiewende has shifted the emphasis within the world of the grids: Electricity from the renewable energies of the sun and wind is being generated decentrally and fed in at the distribution grid level. This requires the expansion and restructuring of the grids to create “smart grids.” Smart grids allow us to better coordinate feed-ins and electricity flows to consumers. The EnBW subsidiary Netze BW is the largest distribution grid operator in Baden-Württemberg. Alongside all of the activities and investments required by the Energiewende, our subsidiary is following its own ambitious sustainability strategy. This is already bearing fruit: In 2021, Netze BW aims to become one of the first climate-neutral grid operators in Germany. Furthermore, the company is, for example, recultivating areas to create bee meadows and using bio-oil in its transformers.
An interview with Maria Knill, Head of HR Strategy & Transformation, on the social dimension of sustainability and its importance for how EnBW thinks and acts.
Mrs. Knill, how important is the social aspect within the sustainable corporate strategy of EnBW?
Maria Knill: Social sustainability is hugely important for our company both strategically and operationally. Therefore, this is not just a phrase that we use lightly, we truly mean it when we say: We place the main focus on people – both inside and outside of the company.
What does this mean with respect to the current transformation processes at EnBW?
Maria Knill: When you look at what this transformation means, it quickly becomes clear that our employees will play a central role. The change taking place at EnBW can only succeed if it is also consciously supported, shaped and ultimately implemented in practice by our employees. Our fields of activity will also change fundamentally as part of this transformation. A good example of this is the change to our generation strategy. Some jobs will be lost but new ones will be created at the same time. This is why, on the one hand, we are focusing on the further development of our employees to open up new perspectives and opportunities for them in and with the company. And because we want to grow further as a company, we are also looking, on the other hand, for qualified employees or are training them ourselves. We currently have more than 1,000 apprentices and students on dual study programs at the company. And we plan to take on just as many new young professionals in 2021 as in 2020. All of this will push forward the entire organization and also all of our employees.
Is the human resources strategy thus mainly focused on further training and growth?
Maria Knill: These aspects are only part of the strategy in my view. Alongside the professional development of our employees, the aim is to shape the future together with them. There are two essential questions that need to be answered in this context: What will we be doing tomorrow and the day after tomorrow? And how will we be doing it? The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated to us how quickly and fundamentally the framework conditions can change. At the same time, it has pushed forward the transformation process immensely. There will be no return to the status quo ante after the pandemic: We will work much more digitally and flexibly in future. We are preparing our employees for this and providing them with the required skills. In addition, we are creating structures and conditions in which they can organize their work according to their own individual needs. We have all recognized during the pandemic that this is possible, we can do it and it can bring added value.
This is all taking place within EnBW. You also mentioned people outside of the company …
Maria Knill: Naturally, we also keep other people in mind. EnBW is a large company, but it is not an island – and certainly not its own planet. We are part of society as a whole and want to be a good neighbor and partner. And we gladly accept responsibility as a strong and capable member of society. This is why we promote and support numerous charitable projects and initiatives – from the protection of the environment and nature, education and social integration through to youth and popular sports.
EnBW is the leading company for charging infrastructure in Germany. And its comprehensive charging network is still being expanded at a rapid pace even though EnBW already had a clear lead in the area of quick-charging infrastructure before the reporting year.
Almost every second new ultrafast charging station in Germany was placed into operation by EnBW. In addition, we followed a completely new strategy for some new locations in 2020 by focusing on city centers: Urban quick-charging parks have been opened in inner-city areas of Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and more are set to follow.
The EnBW charging network extends far beyond the boundaries of Baden-Württemberg: An EnBW ultrafast charging station can already be found today at every third motorway service station in Germany. Drivers of e-cars can charge their vehicles in the EnBW HyperNetwork at more than 100,000 charging points across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and the Netherlands at one uniform price.
All of EnBW’s activities relating to the charging infrastructure and mobility services have been bundled together in one autonomous subsidiary: The newly founded EnBW mobility+ AG & Co. KG started operations at the beginning of 2021.
Users of the EnBW mobility+ app can conveniently charge their vehicles at one uniform price both at home and abroad.
The path to sustainability will require profound change in all areas of work and life – both at EnBW and beyond. Many people are working towards this joint, ambitious goal in all kinds of different areas. Here, we introduce you to four of them.
I believe that change always offers us an opportunity to create something new. Transformation processes open up new business fields and models. Knowledge and skills don’t just become worthless overnight – quite the contrary. For example, we utilize the IT knowledge that our employees have acquired in various areas of EnBW and its companies in the very sensitive area of nuclear energy. The task of the Full Kritis Service as a provider of cyber security solutions is to improve information security for infrastructures, cities, local authorities and the economy. The fundamental transformation process in which we find ourselves requires us to become quicker and more agile. We are operating almost like a start-up within the Group and developing new solutions and projects to tackle new challenges.
At the very beginning of our journey towards achieving more sustainability in the EnBW company restaurants, we asked our colleagues to complete a voluntary survey. The high level of participation demonstrated how important the subject of “food” is. The results showed that we can forget about old clichés: Whether old or young, in a technical or office job – sustainable and healthy nutrition generates a great deal of interest from everybody. That’s why we believe our decision to use an increasing amount of regional and sustainably produced food in our kitchens is the right choice. These are criteria that are fully met by our absolute bestseller: lentils with spätzle, either vegetarian or served the traditional way with sausages.
Sustainability is a subject that is relevant to us all. And we can save resources on a daily basis with the aim of making our own small contribution to the climate target of EnBW. One building block on the way to achieving this goal was to set ourselves a bold target: We want to reduce paper consumption at EnBW by up to 90% by 2025. This requires both a change in attitude and also fundamental changes to many processes and habits. We are all reluctant to break with established and tried-and-tested processes. This is why we can’t simply take something away without being able to offer a good alternative. In our case, those are digital tools and digitalized processes as an alternative to paper-based processes. As dramatic as the coronavirus pandemic has been, it has pushed forward digitalization that much further: Everybody is working more flexibly and finding that they can do without printouts and manage with a lot less paper.
We are following our path towards economic, ecological and social sustainability together with our suppliers and partners.
As a supplier and partner, we work very closely at Schneider Electric with the EnBW subsidiary Netze BW. Due to this relationship, we are closely integrated into the corporate strategy at EnBW. It is a matter of course and totally normal for us to document and communicate our sustainability, for example from an ecological and social perspective, in an ongoing process and to operate using fully digital business processes. At the moment, we are developing a new generation of medium-voltage transformers in various pilot projects together that do not require the isolation gas sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which is harmful to the climate, but can function using the ambient air that we all breath.
EnBW is entering a new business field with the development and operation of forward-looking and sustainable districts, where the main priority will be placed on the ecological and communal aspects of social life.
- Space to live and work
- Trade and commerce in the neighborhood
- A place to live for all generations
- Social mix through subsidized housing
- Communal spaces and areas, as well as co-working spaces, as places for interacting together
- Green spaces and leisure centers for people
- Sport and shared leisure activities
- Electricity from the sun and wind
- Climate-friendly energy generation
- Modern supply and storage of energy
- Virtual power plants
- Smart grids
- Sharing services and mobility concepts
- Connection to public transport
- Minimum number of private cars
- Less car traffic in the district
- Intelligently networked infrastructures, e.g., for supply, waste disposal, energy and mobility
- Fiber-optics and public Wi-Fi