Naturgy redoubles its efforts in ESG and sets environmental targets to reduce its CO2 emissions by 21% by 2022

  • The company plans to reduce the CO2 intensity of its power generation by 22% and ensure that 34% of its generation capacity will be from renewable sources.
  • The company has implemented a series of measures in line with the global objective of slowing the increase in the planet’s temperature to 1.5 degrees.
  • Naturgy has already made significant progress in 2019, reducing its CO2 emissions by 16%, reducing water use in its activities by 25%, generating 66% less waste and recovering or recycling 57% of the waste produced, among other achievements.
  • This effort made by Naturgy has been possible thanks to the fact that during 2019 it allocated a total of 546 million euros to environmental protection.
  • The company creates a Sustainability Committee responsible for monitoring and supervising the company’s role in the energy transition.

Naturgy is immersed in a transformation process to adapt its business to a more sustainable model. Therefore, the group has redoubled its efforts towards the environment, social action and good corporate governance (ESG) over the last two years and has set new targets in the environmental area to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 21% by 2022 compared to 2017, to reduce CO2 intensity in power generation by 22% and to ensure that 34% of generation capacity is from renewable sources.

To achieve this, the company is working on a set of measures that are in line with the global objective of halting the increase in the planet’s temperature to 1.5 degrees and with 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.

The company already has a new Global Environmental Policy and Plan in place, which 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% by 2022, compared to 2017.
  • Reducing specific CO2 emissions from power generation by 22% .
  • Achieving a percentage of renewable power in the power generation mix of over 34% by 2022.
  • Decreasing water consumption by 20% by 2022.
  • Reducing total waste production (hazardous + non-hazardous) by 70% .
  • Doubling the percentage of recycled and recovered waste by 2022 .
  • Conducting 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. The company wants to be part of the energy transition and be an active, determined agent, contributing its expertise and global vision.”

Milestones already achieved

In 2019 alone, the company reduced its CO2 emissions by 16%, reduced water use in its activities by 25%, generated 66% less waste and recovered or recycled 57% of the waste produced, among other achievements. Although some of these improvements exceed the objectives of the Environment Plan, this does not mean that they have been met, because the reference year is 2022.

It is important to highlight the significant boost in clean technologies. Last year, the company became one of the main investors in renewables, with an investment effort of more than 1 billion euros, and increased the weight of these energies to 27% of its energy mix, up to 4,500 MW. A notable aspect of this was the strong deployment carried out in Spain through the implementation of 667 MW of wind energy and 250 MW of solar energy, as well as the projects being carried out in Chile and Australia. Naturgy was also the first company to request the closure of all its coal plants.

With regard to biodiversity, 257 initiatives were carried out, reaching an environmentally restored surface of over 2,600 hectares, 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), meaning it was the only Spanish energy company and one of only five utilities companies in the world to achieve this.

These efforts continue to bear fruit, as this year, for the first time in its history, the company is one of the finalists in the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE Awards), awarded by the European Commission and which are the most significant in the sector.

Another positive aspect of 2019 is the balance between the emissions produced and those avoided. The avoided CO2 emissions in 2019 amounted to a total of 151 MtCO2, of which the majority (92%) is due to the use of natural gas as a substitute for other more polluting fossil fuels. In 2019, avoided emissions exceeded the total emissions of the group for the first time, taking into account both direct and indirect emissions. Thus, the climate balance is 104% in favour of avoided emissions, which reflects Naturgy’s progress and contribution towards a decarbonised economy.

With regard to climate change, Naturgy published its Carbon Footprint Report for the 2019, last week. This report has been published every year since 2010, this year being the 11th edition.

In an environment of growing interest in this type of information, added to the primary position climate change has taken up in the international agenda, the Carbon Footprint Report is a very valuable source of information that Naturgy offers to all its stakeholders, especially investors and analysts.

The report meets the highest standard of reporting on climate change, as set by the Financial Stability Board, the international financial markets body.

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, places a special emphasis on the decarbonisation of its businesses. The reflection of this transformation in the group’s internal policies, the key indicators of climate change, the objectives for the reduction of emissions, and the evolution of the inventory of emissions, take on special importance thanks to this report.

The Group’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory is noteworthy and provides information on both the direct emissions produced in our facilities and the indirect emissions generated outside the scope of our facilities, downstream or upstream of our activities.

Innovation: development of biomethane

Meanwhile, Naturgy continues to make progress in the development of biomethane as an exponent of native, carbon-neutral, renewable, circular and dynamic 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 Spain, injected biomethane into the gas distribution network.

This new environmental strategy has also had an impact on customers. Naturgy considers climate change a global environmental challenge and is committed to offering its customers eco-efficient and less CO2-intensive energy products and services to contribute to mitigating climate change and the energy transition. An example of this is the product Neutral Gas, through which Naturgy offers its customers a natural gas supply service offset by neutralising their CO2emissions.

This effort made by the company was possible thanks to the fact that during 2019, a total of 546 million euros was allocated to environmental protection, the highest figure ever achieved in the company’s history, which contributed to driving the energy transition, increasing the eco-efficiency of operations and activating initiatives to protect biodiversity.

Good Corporate Governance

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, while always remaining respectful of the environment. We will continue to strengthen our commitment to health and safety, and our Corporate Responsibility Policy.

In this respect, the company has also set up a Sustainability Committee, which is responsible for monitoring and supervising the company’s role in the energy transition and for strengthening the Board’s commitment in this area. This Committee is in addition to the Appointments, Remuneration and Corporate Governance Committee and the Audit and Control Committee.

The directors of this new Committee are: Helena Herrero (Chairman), Lucy Chadwick, Isabel Estapé, Claudi Santiago and José Antonio Torre de Silva

With the implementation of this new Committee, Naturgy reinforces the work it has already been carrying out in the area 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 benchmark in sustainability and has progressed in the main international indexes in recent years, such as the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability or the FTSE4Good, as well as in the rankings by Vigeo, Sustainalytics and Oekom.

The Sustainability Committee functions will include regular analysis of environmental, health and safety, and social responsibility indicators, and the expectations of the Company’s different stakeholders, as well as preparing reports and proposals for action, within its scope, for the consideration of the Board of Directors.