Governance and sustainability management

Interview with Frank Plümacher on Generating Change

Frank Plümacher, Executive Vice President for Sustainability and HSSE, talks about how Uniper’s commitment to Generating Change fits with its business portfolio, strategy, and corporate culture.

What does Generating Change mean for Uniper?

We’ve set our strategic course: while remaining a mainstay of Europe and Russia’s supply security, we intend to build on our proven strengths to enter new markets worldwide and further establish ourselves as a company that designs individually tailored energy solutions and manages complexity for customers. As we implement our corporate strategy, our commitment to Generating Change means being continuously aware that the decisions we make and the actions we take have an impact on people and the environment. Generating Change also means making sure that we mitigate our negative impacts as much as possible. It means making sustainability a priority and a key facet of our responsibilities and it is an approach to further embedding sustainability into our business processes and decision-making. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is what our stakeholders expect of us.

What led Uniper to make this commitment?

Our commitment to Generating Change is a concerted effort to align our responsibilities with our corporate strategy. It gives us the best chance to succeed in making our company, the countries where we operate, and our value chain more sustainable. We are confident that Generating Change will make our company more resilient in a rapidly changing world.

How will Uniper deliver on this commitment?

As part of our commitment, in 2018 we designed the Sustainability Strategic Plan. The plan describes how sustainability supports our long-term corporate strategy and sets improvement targets for our environmental, social, and governance performance from 2019 to 2022.

It also explains how these targets contribute to the achievement of the nine United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are most relevant to our business activities. For example, two of these goals are “affordable and clean energy” and “measures to protect the climate.” To help achieve them, we set a maximum average carbon intensity threshold of 500 grams per kilowatt hour for 2018 to 2020 and pledged to pursue at least 20 projects that promote decarbonization by 2022. Making progress toward these and our other improvement targets will be a big part of how we will further embed Generating Change toward sustainability into our daily work, organization, and corporate culture.

What does Generating Change mean for Uniper employees?

We expect all our employees to think and act responsibly and to make Generating Change toward sustainability part of their daily work. We’ll continue to reinforce their awareness and to provide them with the tools they need to embrace sustainability. This also applies to their health, well-being, and personal and professional development. That’s why we respect our employees’ rights, provide them with a safe and supportive work environment, have no tolerance of discrimination, and support equal opportunity and diversity. We’ve set improvement targets in these areas as well. For example, we intend to maintain a low total recordable incident frequency and to increase the percentage of women in management positions.

How we manage our commitment

The Uniper Management Board bears overall responsibility for adopting and implementing sustainability measures that encompass the entire company. One of its members, Eckhardt Rümmler, is appointed as Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) and periodically reports to the Supervisory Board on our strategic sustainability activities. As our highest governance board, the Supervisory Board monitors our company’s fulfillment of its sustainability obligations.

The Management Board has assigned to the Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) & Sustainability function the responsibility for defining our company-wide target and key performance indicators and for identifying ESG risks and emerging issues that could affect our company. ESG means environment, social and governance.

Our HSSE Identity and Policy Statement

Our HSSE & Sustainability Policy Statement, which defines our ambitions and priorities for HSSE and Sustainability, was signed by all members of the Management Board in 2017. This statement provides the framework for developing a Group-wide Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) and defines our specific HSSE and Sustainability commitments.

Policies and Code of Conduct

Uniper has in place policies that stipulate how we address our material ESG topics and how we coordinate the cascade effects across our organization. These policies are implemented throughout the Group and monitored regularly.

We also have a Code of Conduct founded on a commitment to one another, the business, and communities. It defines the basic principles of conduct that everyone at Uniper must follow and is binding for all employees. It addresses a wide range of issues, including issues related to compliance (such as combating corruption and bribery) and the protection of human rights. Although third parties are not subject to the Uniper Code of Conduct, we strive to work, whenever possible, with third parties that have comparable principles and require our suppliers to observe all the principles of our Supplier Code of Conduct.