Sustainability in Everything We Do
Four key goals
In February 2020, we launched our first Sustainability Strategy, entitled Sustainability in Everything We Do. Committing to ambitious goals across key sustainability areas, we helped elevate the industry benchmark around sustainability performance. Our strategy is divided into four key goals:
- Carbon neutrality by 2030 without carbon offsets,
- Producing zero-waste wind turbines by 2040
- Becoming the safest, most inclusive & socially responsible company in the energy industry
- Leading the transition towards a world powered by sustainable energy.
Read more about each of our goals below.
Sustainability in Everything We Do - Our Progress in 2020
Carbon neutrality by 2030
without carbon offsets
As Vestas is committed to leading the transition to a world entirely powered by sustainable energy, we will not use carbon offsets to help us achieve carbon neutrality. Instead, we will deliver CO2 reductions through our own actions.
Carbon offsetting means that companies invest in environmental projects around the world to balance out their own carbon footprints. The problem with carbon offsets is it can be very difficult to ascertain that the projects invested in are real, measurable, permanent and that they would not have taken place without the finance provided by the sale of credits.
We want to lead the transition to renewable energy and achieve net-zero emissions in our own operations. Therefore, we will not be using offsets to achieve our goals. Renewable electricity certificates (RECs) are not considered carbon offsets. RECs guarantee that one additional MWh of renewable electricity is generated.
Taking the first steps in 2020, we have transitioned 35 percent of our corporate benefit cars to electrical vehicles or plug-in hybrids and introduced 127 sustainably fuelled vehicles to our service fleet. Our goal is that in 2025, our entire corporate fleet consists of zero emission vehicles.
We are also committing to reduce the CO2 emissions from our supply chain by 45 per cent per MWh generated by 2030. These commitments are based on recommendations from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The carbon neutrality target for our own operations was validated and approved by the SBTi, in August 2020.
Zero-waste wind turbines
Today, Vestas wind turbines are on average 85 percent recyclable. However, our wind turbine rotors (i.e. blades and hub) consist of a relatively large amount of non-recyclable composite materials.
Therefore, we will as a first step focus on improving the recyclability of all turbine rotors. We have introduced incremental targets to increase the recyclability rate of these components from 42 percent to 50 percent by 2025, and to 100 percent by 2030. We are implementing several initiatives designed to address the handling of existing blades after decommissioning, such as exploring new recycling technologies, working with material value chains as well as developing decommissioning guidelines for the wind turbine operators.
Committing to zero-waste turbines means we are aiming to create a value chain that generates no waste materials. Therefore – in October 2021 we launched our Circularity Roadmap. The roadmap outlines circularity pathways for Vestas’ entire value chain by setting new targets across three key areas: design, operations and material recovery.
You can read more about our zero-waste wind turbine initiatives by clicking the links below.
The safest, most inclusive and socially-responsible
company in the energy industry
To be sustainable in everything we do, we must work even harder to ensure safety, inclusivity and social responsibility are a core part of everything we do at Vestas.
We are introducing medium and long-term targets for reducing the total recordable injury rate at Vestas to 1.5 by 2025 and 0.6 by 2030 - ensuring a 15 percent reduction in total recordable injury rate year-on-year. Additional safety initiatives will be introduced in 2020.
A diverse workforce is comprised of a variety of social identities: This includes diversity in gender, age, culture, ethnicity, physical abilities, political and religious beliefs, sexual orientation and other attributes. As a first step, we are focusing on increasing the percentage of women in leadership positions in the company to 25 percent by 2025, and to 30 percent by 2030. Whilst we acknowledge that gender is only one form of social identity, we also believe it is a measurable and fair indication.
Unconscious bias training, an external pay audit and a review of our recruitment and exit procedures include some of the initiatives we have launched in 2020 to achieve these goals.
At Vestas, building the social license to operate and conducting social due diligence based on international standards is key to being the most socially-responsible company. Vestas’ Social Due Diligence systematically identifies, quantifies, and assesses the social risks associated with Vestas’ project activities in emerging markets.
Leading the transition to a world
powered by sustainable energy
This goal marks our commitment to take a leadership role in driving decarbonisation and electrification beyond the power sector.
To limit carbon emissions at a necessary scale to meet the Paris Agreement, we must also work to reduce emissions in other economic sectors – including industrial production and transport. The opportunities for Power-to-X are a great example of how we are propelling the energy transition forward. Power-to-X technologies make use of electric power in non-electricity sectors such as transport or chemicals. We strive to apply our research within hydrogen and e-fuels to drive electrification and decarbonisation in sectors where it has traditionally been difficult to achieve.
The coming years will also see Vestas pursuing more partnerships with both global and local stakeholders that can help us to amplify this agenda. This work has already begun, with Vestas joining the Getting to Zero Coalition in 2019 - an initiative to reduce CO2 emissions in the shipping sector.
Another example is our partnership with Mercedes-EQ in the Formula E Championship. This is a platform well-positioned to drive electrification in the transport sector - uniting the power of sport with the power of sustainable energy.
The Board of Directors (BoD) for Vestas and Executive Management are the two most senior bodies governing Vestas. In 2019, both bodies approved the Vestas Sustainability Strategy. Within the board, there are three committees overseeing Vestas’ focus on sustainability: the Audit Committee, the Nomination & Compensation Committee, and the Technology & Manufacturing Committee.
The Audit Committee evaluates the adequacy and effectiveness of Vestas’ ethics and anti-corruption programme pursuant to Vestas’ Code of Conduct and our participation in the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI). The cases filed in EthicsLine, our whistleblowing system, are also reported to this Committee.
The Nomination & Compensation Committee supports the BoD in overall staff-related topics – including diversity and inclusion. Finally, the Technology & Manufacturing Committee evaluates the sustainability performances of our company.
The Vestas Sustainability Committee prioritises, oversees, and coordinates cross-functional sustainability initiatives across the entire organisation. They are also responsible for also overseeing that our company conforms with and lives up to its international responsibilities as a member of the UN Global Compact. The Committee reports to the Executive Management.
In April 2019, we established the Vestas Sustainability department. The department operates from the Vestas CEO Office as part of MarCom, Sustainability & Public Affairs.
It is responsible for preparing, coordinating – and in close collaboration with the functional areas, driving, and practically supporting on the execution of the sustainability strategy. It reports to the Sustainability Committee on a regular basis.
At Vestas, all employees must work according to Vestas Management System. It enables us to put all external and internal sustainability requirements into practice systematically, efficiently and effectively. It is a central part of our intent to make sustainability an integral component of all business processes.
In order to further demonstrate a commitment to meeting the highest standards of health, safety and the environment, our operations are built on global certificates for ISO 9001 for Quality, ISO 14001 for Environment and OHSAS 18001 for Health and Safety. Furthermore, two factories in Germany have certificate for ISO 50001.