Running kids on grass

Green energy for the planet and its people

Green energy for the planet and its people

Sustainability report 2021

Table of Contents
  • Sustainability at our core
  • Our sustainability priorities
  • Our progress across sustainability programmes

Integrating sustainability throughout our business

Our approach to sustainability reflects how our business is interlinked with nature and society. In our experience, adopting a stakeholder perspective is the best way to inform and prioritise our strategic direction on sustainability.

The sustainability landscape is dynamic, with themes constantly evolving as the importance of specific challenges increases and knowledge around each theme improves. Over the years, we have developed a systematic approach for identifying sustainability themes and underlying challenges, and for integrating sustainability into our business through dedicated sustainability programmes. The illustration below shows the different steps of our approach.

Our strategic radar

Each year, we undertake a sustainability themes analysis to build a focused world view of strategic sustainability themes. In our experience, adopting a stakeholder perspective is the best way to understand the many complex ways our business is interlinked with society and nature.

In our analysis, we map and prioritise the sustainability themes that are important to our stakeholders – including NGOs, industry, policymakers, customers, employees, and investors – and to our business. Conversations with stakeholders and internal subject-matter experts allow us to consider issues such as the level and intensity of attention a theme receives from stakeholders, and whether any international Frameworks describing best practice have been developed. To gauge the potential impact on our business, we also assess when a theme could impact our business, the degree and type of impact it could have if not addressed adequately or quickly enough, and our ability to influence this.

The analysis provides a clear overview of the sustainability themes that we find are impacting the market dynamics of renewable energy – or will do so in the short to medium term – and our Board of Directors and Executive Committee use it to inform and prioritise Ørsted's strategic direction on sustainability.

Our analysis clearly reflects how our business is impacted by stakeholders, and how our success and long-term resilience depends on us delivering value to our stakeholders.

See the full results of our 2021 sustainability themes analysis (pdf)
Read about our 2021 programme performance

Our approach to working with sustainability

  • Mapping
    We continuously engage with our stakeholders to map sustainability themes important to them and our business.
  • Prioritising
    Once a year, we assess how each theme affects our business and stakeholders, and prioritise accordingly.
  • Anchoring
    The prioritised sustainability themes are then anchored in our governance, through top management approval.
  • Reporting
    We publish an annual sustainability report to communicate on the progress of our programmes and strategic direction.
  • Realising
    The sustainability programmes are integrated into our daily business practices, with concrete actions for realising our desired impact.
  • Developing
    We update our portfolio of sustainability programmes to address priority themes.

Main insights from 2021


While green energy is paramount to limiting global warming, there are derived impacts on nature and society from manufacturing, installing, and operating green energy assets. This year, our mapping clearly revealed five key impact areas of crucial importance to our stakeholders:

  • Carbon emissions in renewable energy supply chains
  • Local ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Circular use of natural resources
  • Human rights in global supply chains
  • Impacts on local communities.


Across themes, we’ve identified four overall challenges:


  • Taking science-aligned climate action
  • Ensuring green energy in balance with nature
  • Ensuring a green transformation that works for people
  • Building governance that enables the right decisions.

These challenges define our strategic sustainability priorities. We address each challenge through our dedicated sustainability programmes to ensure we’ve the right governance and practices in place to continue advancing sustainability.


We’ve updated our programme portfolio to reflect the results of our 2021 analysis and changes to our business. We added two dedicated programmes to address the impacts of extracting minerals and metals and to strengthen our efforts on human rights in global supply chains.

Each programme consists of the following components:   
  • Understanding the key challenges within the theme
  • Targets and indicators
  • Concrete actions towards targets
  • Governance structure and policies
  • Continued reporting on progress
  • Defined desired impact on SDGs.
Ørsted employee construction
 Sustainability at our core

The sustainability impacts of a green energy project

On this page we discuss the sustainability impacts of a green energy project