Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and social commitment are very important to Gasunie. We have a public role, and through our activities we make a significant contribution to the economy. Providing safe and uninterrupted gas supply is our primary task, which we perform with due respect to our environment.
In 2013, we examined whether our existing CSR policy still reflects our current situation. Based on the outcome of that research, we defined core themes to which we will devote extra attention in the future. We have visualised the key aspects of our CSR policy in what we refer to as a ‘CSR house’. Its foundation is formed by good performance in the fields of safety, security of supply, and care for our employees. Our satisfactory performance in these fields determines our licence to operate – only then can we start building the rest of the house. Building on this foundation, there are three themes with which we want to further distinguish ourselves in the future: energy transition, environs management, and footprint reduction/sustainable procurement. We have selected these themes because we think that, in the coming years, they will be very important to us in carrying out our strategy properly. We will elaborate on this in Results in the field of safety, environment and supply chain responsibility.
There are many ways in which gas can contribute to a sustainable energy supply. The first steps towards achieving this are often the hardest, but we are trying to take them anyhow, preferably in collaboration with other parties. When it comes to the subject of energy transition, we focus on the following areas:
- Green gas
- Break-bulk LNG
- Decentralised energy
Together with the European gas infrastructure companies Fluxys (Belgium) and Energinet.dk (Denmark), we set up the initiative to make the provision of gas CO2-neutral by 2050. On 24 April 2013, during the Gas Week in the European Parliament in Brussels, the gas infrastructure companies GRTgaz (France) and Swedegas (Sweden) joined this initiative.
Before we can achieve our common goal, many steps still need to be taken – for instance, in the field of technological development and innovation. Power-to-gas (i.e., storing sustainably produced electricity as hydrogen or methanised gas) is an option that can contribute to a sustainable energy supply, as is large-scale production of green gas. Break-bulk LNG provides the shipping and road haulage sector with an opportunity to emit less CO2 and other harmful substances.
Initially, we are focusing our efforts on making gas transport CO2 neutral. Broader measures that contribute to CO2-neutral gas provision will need to be worked out in more detail in the coming years, in cooperation with supply chain partners.
The environment in which we operate is becoming increasingly complex. It consists of a growing number of stakeholders from various parts of society, such as political parties (both local and national), local residents and environmental groups and associations, each with their own interests. It is not uncommon for objections to be raised against our project plans, sometimes from unexpected corners. Communities around us are becoming more assertive, better organised, more highly educated and perfectly capable of accurately processing the available information (e.g., through social media). This sometimes results in delays in planning, higher costs and more efforts than planned before a project can run smoothly.
Our company therefore needs a strategic approach with regard to the communities in which we operate in order to ensure that, for instance, our projects are completed on schedule. Innovative and proactive environs management will enable us to organise contacts with our surroundings in such a way that we can either avoid conflicts or, together with the relevant parties, solve them at an early stage. In this way, we also hope to prevent budget overruns, complete projects on schedule, and even save costs.
Footprint reduction touches the core of our operations. It means that we want to limit as much as possible the impact of our activities on the environment (our footprint). We have therefore set up an extensive footprint reduction programme. This is mainly aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by restricting and preventing methane emissions, making maximum use of available energy, and ensuring effective combustion. We can achieve this, for instance, by developing metering and regulating stations that no longer emit methane; by researching alternatives for venting gas, by reusing vented gas and residual heat from compressors, and by saving energy.
From the CO2-neutral 2050 objectives, we have derived the following footprint objectives:
- In 2014, we will set up a transparent and auditable reporting system for all emission sources that have been identified. We have also set a ‘cumulative’ objective for 2014 for the reduction of CO2-equivalent emissions. More details on this are given in Results in the field of safety, environment and supply chain responsibility.
- By 2020, we aim to have achieved a 20% reduction in direct CO2 emissions (or 124 kilotonnes CO2 equivalent) compared to 1990 (‘20/20 ambition’). This concerns exclusively scope 1 of the GHG protocol.
By 2030, we will have reduced our CO2 emissions by 40% compared to the emissions in 1990, measured over the full scope (1, 2 and 3) of the GHG protocol (for more details, see in Environment).
In addition, we are examining how our activities in the field of sustainable procurement can help us achieve our footprint reduction objectives (e.g., by applying the CO2 performance ladder).
Embedding CSR policy and accountability
The Executive Board is responsible for formulating our CSR policy and objectives, and for CSR performance in practice. The policy is drawn up in consultation with the Supervisory Board. Each department is responsible for providing input with regard to CSR policy in their own area of expertise, as well as for its execution and adjustment.
In determining objectives with regard to CSR, the relevant departments are also consulted on whether the necessary preconditions are present and sufficiently embedded within our organisation.