The transition to a net-zero economy is one of the greatest challenges of our time. This challenge touches all aspects of society, as sustainable economic development, social progress and climate issues are interlinked. At the same time, this transition, with the energy system at its core, paves the way into a sustainable future – for citizens as well as for businesses.
We are tirelessly working towards fossil freedom and have written extensively about our journey, milestones, and proof points. The decarbonisation of our assets and customers and the build-out at scale of new fossil-free electricity and distribution sources are the greatest contributions we can make to the energy transition. They form the basis of our commitment to be net-zero in 2040.
Not only do we need to secure the financial sustainability that allows us to invest in the large-scale, high-paced transformation, but we also recognise that our transformation should benefit society, local communities, and biodiversity as well.
This is very closely linked to the concept of a "just transition". Though it has different meanings to different stakeholders, at Vattenfall we see a just transition as a transition from a fossil-based to a fossil-free society which:
- is based on social dialogue with affected stakeholders
- seeks to minimise adverse impacts
- seeks to create benefits for impacted stakeholders
- restores or avoids degrading ecosystems
The concept of a just transition is important because the path to a fossil-free society will inevitably have impacts on both society and individuals, affecting local communities, consumers, and employees throughout the value chain. It is important to acknowledge that these impacts will require trade-offs, and in some cases it will not be possible to resolve the trade-offs favourably for all involved stakeholders.
This is why keeping people at the centre of the transition is so important, as it will help us continue to identify and understand these trade-offs, and thereby to engage with the affected stakeholders to try to minimise the negatives and maximise the positives to the extent possible.
While we pride ourselves on acting responsibly throughout the value chain and have a wealth of policies, processes, goals and targets to support this, striving for a just transition means certain areas will require additional focus.
In this context, we have ambitions specifically to address transition-related issues. These ambitions aim to facilitate locally-adapted opportunities for affected stakeholders to benefit and actively contribute to the transition wherever possible. Our ambitions initially focus on areas over which we have direct influence and are described here:
|Proactively engaging with stakeholders to address interests and concerns related to our operations.
|Through early and ongoing dialogue with local stakeholders, we seek to create additional value by understanding community needs using our projects to address them, while simultaneously ensuring that concerns about negative impacts are heard and minimised.
|Openly engaging with communities beyond the development and construction phase.
|Engage throughout the lifecycle of the project, particularly during operations, maintenance, and end-of-life, to identify adaptation options to potential concerns and benefits of local communities.
|Creating benefits for communities in which we operate.
|Seek to support local communities, for example through community-based initiatives and engaging local workforce and businesses.
Pay tax in the geographies where our money is earned.
|Empowering customers to actively participate in the transition by enabling informed, sustainable energy consumption.
|Offering tools to advise and increase awareness around energy consumption.
Offering smart energy consumption advice and solutions.
|Expanding access to the transition by offering a variety of decarbonisation options.
|Offering fossil-free commodities and decarbonisation solutions.
|Collect in a socially responsible way, through our own collection process or through our collection partners.
|Communicate transparently on billing process, consequences and tariff changes to ensure no surprises.
Only work together with socially responsible collection agencies.
|Offer solutions in our collection process to customers who are willing to pay but struggle, to prevent energy debt from becoming problematic.
|Offer solutions to customers who want to pay but are struggling.
Collaborate with municipalities, social organisations and other stakeholders to more systematically address problematic debt when possible.
|Providing fair work so employees are safe, secure, and earn adequate wages.
|Ensure that our employees earn a living wage and contractors as well, and strive to ensure a living wage is paid in our supply chain.
|Enabling employees to grow with the developments of the transition by investing in our people.
|Provide adequate support to our workers affected by the transition and enable personal development options by e.g. reskilling, upskilling, and redeployment.
|Conducting social dialogue and co-determination processes to build consensus on our way forward.
|Conduct social dialogue with management, unions, workers councils to build consensus on employment-related topics of the transition.
|Ensuring that we partner, acquire, and divest responsibly.
|Screening and engaging counterparties on social and environmental topics.