Responsibility is key and the starting point for all our activities: we act with care, think long-term and create value for ourselves and for society.
Why is sustainability important for Wintershall Dea?
Sustainable development and responsible conduct are part of our DNA. Our intention is to combine and optimally balance the financial and non-financial aspects of our business.
Being a more sustainable business can help to become more efficient, provide a platform for innovation, help attract and retain staff, achieve better growth, cut costs, improve reputation and strengthen stakeholder relations. But sustainability begins with the awareness that all decisions have an impact on employees, the environment and society. Therefore, we have incorporated it in our corporate strategy, processes and decision making.
And what are you focusing on?
There are many topics that can be subsumed under sustainability. This makes it hard to explain at times. We mainly concentrate on topics, which we as a company can influence e.g. the health and safety of our employees and the communities in the vicinity of our operations, climate and environmental protection, high social standards in our activities including the value chain, promoting diversity and continuous exchange with our stakeholders.
What are the challenges?
Sustainability is never black and white. Meeting the growing global need for reliable and affordable energy and helping to mitigate climate change are often seen as two opposing goals. But both must go hand in hand. This is not always easy, but we have accepted the challenge. With our Energy Transition Pathway, we developed ambitious targets to decrease our production’s emission footprint while providing the energy needed.
How do you know Wintershall Dea is on track?
Performance monitoring is one of the tasks of my team. We can rely on an internal network of sustainability experts and are leading special working groups on specific issues to assess data and figures. In preparation for the IPO and to better understand the expectations of investors, ESG ratings are useful. I am proud that according to one of the leading ESG risk rating agencies Sustainalytics, Wintershall Dea’s management of ESG material risk is strong. At the same time, we closely analyse the results and derive measures where we identify gaps or a weak performance.
How has the pandemic affected sustainability management?
The pandemic has magnified several sustainability challenges besides its tragic consequences in terms of loss of life and economic hardship. Whereas before the focus often was on ecological topics, the pandemic once again made the interconnections clear. Human rights and businesses, for example, are currently subject to in-depth discussion again. Fortunately, the pandemic did not affect our work at Wintershall Dea in terms of sustainability. We achieved a lot in 2020 – not least our new climate targets or our human rights statement as part of our ESG principles.
How do you intend to push the topic forward?
We have set ourselves concrete targets which now need to be implemented. Sustainability is not a ‘nice-to-have’ issue, it is a key component of demonstrating that we have a future-proof business.
External developments, like Sustainable Finance, are arising and stakeholder demands are increasing – we analyse and adapt it for our business and in this way, get prepared for it.