14 March 2017

Why Eneco set a science-based target

by Gerben Meijer, Sustainability Manager, Eneco Group

Achieving the climate targets set in Paris, by keeping the earth’s warming well below two degrees is a huge challenge. Since humans created this situation, presumably we should be able to get ourselves out of it too - although it’s clear that solutions won’t just happen on their own and that business has a major role to play.

That’s why as an energy company, Eneco Group decided to step up by ensuring that the  greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets both of our company and of our customers are in line with limiting the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees celsius. Our targets are also focused on keeping our supply chain footprint well within the limits of 2 degrees global warming. This means we can reassure our employees, our customers, our investors and policymakers that we are playing our part.

Country-leading target

We’re proud to be the first Dutch company to have its emissions reduction targets approved by  the Science Based Target initiative It’s been a massive undertaking to get here. The journey began with the audit of our  internal footprint in 2007 then of our supply chain footprint in 2012. We have also been a WWF Climate Savers participant for over six years and worked with WWF to develop our ambitious target based on climate science, in which we take our part of the responsibility for all the supply chains we are an active part of.

Setting science-based targets has helped drive Eneco Group forward and find answers to the question: ‘Are our efforts good enough?’ In the energy sector, that insight is crucial, considering the enormous challenge of energy transition. The Science Based Targets initiative provides an international, widely supported platform founded by the  World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the UN Global Compact.

Since 2007, we have been investing heavily in renewable energy and it has not just paid off in getting our target recognised by these NGOs. Fossil energy companies are making substantial changes to coal-fired and nuclear plants. Many are splitting up their companies into fossil fuels and renewables and stripping assets from fossil fuels. This shift away from fossil fuel will take time, but we felt it was important to move early on this. Setting science-based targets has also proved to be a good choice from an economic view as Eneco Group continues to perform well.

Innovation

Our journey still continues as we face major challenges ahead. The extensive use of natural gas is not just an issue for global warming, but also for the people in the province of Groningen - whose homes are affected by subsidence and tremors. A significant part of our supply chain footprint comes from using natural gas, for example,  to heat our customers’ homes. This makes it impossible to realise our ambition without our customers – which is why we have developed various products to try to help our customers reduce both costs and CO2 emissions. These include Toon® - a smart thermostat that helps consumers manage their energy consumption and makes it possible and easy to save. And Eneco WarmteWinner® -  a compact heat pump that extracts heat from ventilation air and converts it up to 60 ºC hot water for heating. It can be powered by Eneco HollandseWind® or solar energy from EnencoZonneHub. We believe our target, along with the innovations we are making to meet it mean as the huge changes take place in energy supply over the next few years, our future looks bright.