Stockholm (NordSIP) – According to the 2019 IRRI survey, asset managers and independent research providers considered Ørsted, Novo Nordisk, Stora Enso and Telia Company the companies that best managed and communicated the material sustainability and corporate governance issues facing their business.
Ørsted and Stora Enso were clearly the leading managers and communicators among the Nordics. Although its decision to go green is ten years in the making, for Ørsted the result of the IRRI survey highlights the clarity with which the energy company has articulated the importance of going green. “At Ørsted, we commit to reducing our carbon emissions in line with the scientific recommendation to limit global temperature increases to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” explains Ørsted’s CEO, Henrik Poulsen, in the company’s 2018 sustainability report.
The commitment is backed by investments in sustainability that clearly target the UN’s SDGs, particularly SDG7 – Affordable and clean energy, SDG8 – Decent work and economic growth and SDG13 – Climate action. “Our installed renewable capacity was 8.3 GW at the end of Q1 2019, which was 31% higher than by the end of Q1 2018,” explains Marianne Wiinholt, Ørsted’s CFO in the company’s ESG performance report for the first quarter of 2019. “The increase from Q1 2018 was due to the commission of Walney Extension and Borkum Riffgrund 2, and our new onshore wind farms in 2018. Our green share of generation increased from 68% to 80%.” The importance of SDG8 was not lost to Wiinholt. “Safety performance continued to improve in 2019,” she explained. “The 12 months rolling total recordable injury rate was reduced by 36% from 6.7 injuries per million hours worked in Q1 2018 to 4.3 injuries”
Asides from H&M, the only other company from last year that seems to have made the Nordic Cut this time was Stora Enso, a Finnish manufacturer of pulp, paper and other forest products. Stora Enso issued its first green bond in February this year. The bond proceeds were to be used to finance the acquisition of forest assets in Bergvik Skog, which are “100% certified to sustainable forestry,” according to SVP Group Treasurer Pasi Kyckling. In the company’s policy for energy and carbon, Karl-Henrik Sundström, Stora Enso’s CEO explain the company aims to “decrease CO2 and other GHG emissions from operations by 31% per tonne of pulp, paper and board produced by 2030, compared to a 2010 baseline.” Stora Enso is also aiming to induce “70% of its non-fibre suppliers and downstream suppliers to set GHG reduction targets by 2025”, the CEO adds.
Novo Nordisk is a Danish healthcare company specialised in diabetes treatments, with sales in more than 170 countries. The company’s approach to sustainability is grounded on two pillars: Having zero environmental impact and preventing type II Diabetes through improved access to and affordability of medical treatments. The company specifically targets SDG3 – Good health and well-being, SDG12 – Responsible consumption and production, and SDG13 – Climate Action. a global healthcare company. “There is a growing acknowledgement of the importance of the private sector in working with institutions, governments and others to solve problems – and Novo Nordisk is ready to forge new partnerships,” says Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, President and CEO of Novo Nordisk, regarding the UN SDGs.
“For a few years now, we have communicated very clearly that sustainability is high up on Telia Company’s agenda,” Anders H. Nilsson, Investor Relations Manager at Telia Company explained to NordSIP. “We want to be CO2 neutral through the value chain by 2030 and at the same time we target zero waste via a circular economy business model.”
Looking back Nilsson noted Telia’s leading role in normalising ESG. “For the last few years, we have worked on advancing the corporate governance and sustainability agendas. We were amongst the first companies to sign the statement of materiality and sustainability has become an integral part of our core services,” the manager explains. “We are the first operator in Sweden to have been certified with the label Good Environmental Choice by the Swedish Society for Nature conservation. This means that 100% of the electricity in our network is renewable.”
Picture courtesy of Ørsted