The UN climate conference - COP 27 – has started. Vattenfall will be represented by the Head of Sustainability, Annika Ramsköld, who is there to attend several high-level meetings. Vattenfall is also making new commitments to reduce the carbon footprint from cement and concrete.
The focus of the COP 27 climate conference is to have the ambitious goals and commitments set by the Member States converted into practical action. The meeting will this year be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6-18 November, and the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree target remains the guiding principle.
Annika Ramsköld, Head of Sustainability at Vattenfall, you're going to Egypt to attend COP 27. What will you be doing?
"I'll be there for the first half and participate in a number of seminars and panels, including the high-level meetings Caring for Climate, which is an initiative within the UN Global Compact, and the First Movers Coalition, FMC, which was initiated by the World Economic Forum and the US’s special envoy for the climate, John Kerry, with the aim of driving demand for climate-smart solutions. We are one of the co-founding companies in FMC and have previously committed to increasing our purchases of new technology and solutions that make a difference to the climate regarding fossil-free steel, air travel and truck transport. We have now also made commitments regarding a new area, cement and concrete."
What does the new cement and concrete commitment mean?
"In a similar way to the other areas, it involves setting requirements on subcontractors and our own procurement to use a greater proportion of fossil-free alternatives. Cement and concrete cause large emissions of carbon dioxide. By 2030, we will therefore replace 10 per cent of our annual needs with fossil-free cement and concrete in our foundations for wind turbines, power line pylons and other construction projects. It is more expensive, but for example for a wind turbine, the overall increase only relates to parts of the percentage of the total investment cost. With rising CO2 prices going forward, the difference will be even smaller. We have actually taken steps in this direction in the past, such as when we built a new dam in Swedish Lilla Edet hydro power plant, where we used a new technology so that we could reduce the proportion of concrete and thereby reduce CO2 emissions."
What is Vattenfall’s role at a conference like this?
"We're there to show that we're moving from words to action and working to achieve fossil-free value chains. I hope that we can inspire others who have not got as far as us to start to act, the same time be a beacon to other players who are still at the starting blocks. At last year’s meeting in Glasgow, it was clear that it's the companies that are leading the way in the energy transition. Among other things, I will be participating in several so-called Implementation Labs, and discussing with business leaders and ministers how the fossil-free value chains that need to be established will become a reality. At the same time, the transition has to take place in such a way that no one gets left behind. We want a just transition and we can't have a situation where vulnerable groups or countries are the ones who have to bear the cost for the transition. The UN’s Caring for Climate initiative which I mentioned has the purpose of highlighting this important issue."
Last year, the CEO, Anna Borg, met US President Joe Biden. Will you also meet him?
"Joe Biden has announced that he is coming to COP 27, which is very positive and gives important signals to other states. I won't be meeting him, but his envoy John Kerry will be at the First Movers Coalition Leaders Panel where I will also be participating."