RWE assumes responsibility – far beyond its operating business fields

Dr Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE AG
“In the last 20 years, we have constantly modernised our power plant fleet, thereby increasing efficiency significantly. The safe operation of our stations is job one. This includes providing our employees with a safe place to work. We pay special attention to protecting the environment and conserving resources as well as to recultivating the sites previously occupied by our opencast lignite mines. This all goes to show that RWE takes its responsibility for the environment, society and employees very seriously. Our report entitled ‘Our responsibility 2017’ provides detailed information on where we stand in terms of sustainability today.”
Dr Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE AG
  • RWE banks on transparency: 21st Sustainability Report published
  • Comprehensive presentation of all key matters regarding the environment, social affairs and corporate governance
  • Report complies with GRI 4 Standard, audited by auditing firm PwC

RWE assumes responsibility – far beyond its operating business fields. This is demonstrated by the Sustainability Report entitled ‘Our responsibility 2017’ which will be published for the 21st time. On 92 pages, RWE informs readers of all key matters relating to business, the environment and society.

The Sustainability Report meets the international standard of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI guidelines have established themselves as best practice worldwide. They are constantly refined in collaboration with companies, investors, rating agencies, associations and scientists. Moreover, RWE subjects key sections of the report to an audit by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. RWE reports in detail on all three key fields: business, the environment and social affairs.

The company is publishing its first so called ‘Non-financial Group Report’. The corresponding sections have been flagged. This enables reporting to focus even more on the business model and the associated opportunities and risks besides the key financials.

RWE is a partner in the regions in which the company operates. It proactively supports the economic development and structural change in these regions. For example, RWE works hard on ensuring that areas which are no longer needed to conduct operations are repurposed. For instance, Frimmersdorf Power Station will be shut down definitively as of 30 September. RWE has already entered into dialogue with the surrounding municipalities and the Rhine District of Neuss on the future of the power plant site, which will no longer be needed thereafter.

RWE is also shouldering the responsibility it has for dismantling power plants. This holds true for the careful and secure dismantling activities as well as for the costs, which will be fully borne by the company. In the year under review, for instance, major progress was made at the Bibis nuclear power plant site: on 30 March 2017, the relevant regulatory authority issued the permits for shutting down and dismantling units A and B. This enabled work to start on 1 June 2017.

RWE constantly modernises its power stations, reduces their specific carbon emissions and improves their efficiency. Taking older units offline also contributes to lowering carbon dioxide. For example, RWE achieved 10 million metric tons in CO2 savings in Germany last year alone. Moreover, RWE will reduce the carbon emissions of its power plants even further. Following an ambitious roadmap, the goal is to achieve annual carbon dioxide savings of 55 to 65 million metric tons across all countries by 2030 compared to 2015.

RWE accords high importance to the high-quality recultivation of opencast mining areas that are not used any longer. They are subjected to a costly and time-intensive process to return them to a usable state. In sum, over 22,000 hectares have been recultivated in the Rhenish mining region so far, more than 8,000 hectares of which for forests, timberland and green corridors as well as over 12,000 hectares of agricultural land. In so doing, RWE is supporting local agriculture and wildlife conservation. RWE’s recultivation measures are highly regarded by experts the world over.

Social affairs
High-quality vocational training has a long-standing tradition at RWE. A total of 2,215 young adults are in training for one of over 30 professions at 50 of the company’s locations, for example electronics engineer, industrial clerk, mechatronics engineer and forester.

RWE also supports external companies, for example by running training programmes for small enterprises. Furthermore, dual courses of study integrated into hands-on work assignments and training programmes are offered.

In 2017, RWE offered 41 spots in its entry-level qualification programme ‘I can do this!’. It promotes young adults who have not been able to sign up for a training programme and conveys the requisite level of training to them. The one-year programme has attracted nearly 1,200 participants in the last 13 years. The success rate is encouraging: 87% of the graduates took up work in a training programme, at a place of work or within the scope of advanced training measures.

RWE is aware of the responsibility it shoulders vis-à-vis society and is dedicated to this cause in myriad ways. The complete CR Report ‘Our responsibility 2017’ can be accessed on RWE’s website.