Our 2020 sustainability programmes


Our 20 sustainability programmes help us systematically meet expectations from stakeholders, while addressing the sustainability challenges of our business. Through these programmes, we impact many SDGs, with our core contribution to SDGs 7 and 13 where we aim to have a transformational impact.

The programmes are grouped into three categories. The first category aims to catalyse the green transformation, the second one helps us address the sustainability impacts of the green energy transition, while the third ensures we remain an accountable and responsible business.

Get an overview of all 20 programmes below, and select progress made in each programme in 2020. For details on progress in each programme.

Download the Sustainability report 2020
Catalysing the green energy transformation
  • Decarbonisation of energy generation and operations

    Increase our total share of green energy and work to reduce emissions to achieve carbon neutrality in our energy generation and operations by 2025. This covers the carbon emissions from the generation of heat and power, and our operations and maintenance activities, including the vessels servicing our wind farms, the vehicles we drive, and our sites (scopes 1 & 2).

    • Reduced carbon intensity of our energy generation by 87 % since 2006 to 58 g CO2e/kWh in 2020. We’re on track to reach our target to become carbon-neutral by 2025, and reached an 90 % share of green energy generation.
    • As of 2021, we’ll no longer buy or lease fossil-fuelled cars, and we’ll have a fully electric vehicle fleet by 2025
  • Decarbonisation of supply chain and wholesale buying and selling of natural gas 

    We work to reduce emissions from our supply chain and from wholesale buying and selling of natural gas (scope 3) in line with scientific requirements, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 across our carbon footprint (scopes 1-3). Together with our suppliers, we’ve launched a programme to reduce emissions from the manufacturing of offshore wind farm components and logistics.

    • We’ve set an interim target towards 2040 of reducing emissions from our supply chain and our wholesale buying and selling of natural gas (scope 3) by 50 % by 2032. We’re currently on track with a [3 % reduction since 2018.
    • In the first year of our supply chain decarbonisation programme, 26 of our 28 key strategic offshore wind suppliers have successfully disclosed to Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and the remaining two have committed to do so next year.
    • We’ve co-founded the Climate Group’s SteelZero initiative with the aim to drive the cross-sectoral innovation journey needed to decarbonise steel.
  • Deployment of offshore wind

    We aim to increase deployment of offshore wind across our regions — the UK, Continental Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. Through scale and technology development, we drive down the costs of green electricity in the markets where we operate.

    • Installed our 1,500th wind turbine and well on track to meet our target of 15 GW installed offshore wind capacity by 2025, with a current capacity of 7.6 GW.
    • Commissioned our offshore wind farm in the Netherlands, the Borssele 1 & 2 offshore with a capacity of 752 MW, the biggest in the country.
    • EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) provider to the two-turbine Coastal Virginia demonstration project, the first-ever offshore wind turbine to be installed in US federal waters.
    • Signed the world’s largest renewables corporate power purchase agreement with TSMC, the world’s largest semi-conductor manufacturer, in Taiwan, for offtake of 920 MW from our Greater Changhua 2b &4 Offshore Wind Farm.

  • Deployment of onshore renewables

    We deploy onshore renewable energy technologies, including onshore wind and solar PV. We’ve set a target to have 5 GW of onshore energy generation capacity installed by 2025. Our focus is to expand our regional leadership position in the US.

    • Increased our installed onshore energy generation capacity to 1.7 GW and on track to meet our 2025 target of 5 GW.
    • Expanded our onshore wind portfolio in the US: acquired Haystack (Nebraska); completed Willow Creek (South Dakota), Sage Draw (Texas), and Plum Creek (Nebraska); and took final investment decision on Western Trail project, our largest onshore wind project to date.
    • Expanded our solar energy portfolio in the US by acquiring the 227 MW Muscle Shoals project in Alabama and by taking final investment decision to construct the 430 MW Old 300 project in Texas.

  • Greener combined heat and power plants

    We phase out coal from our combined heat and power (CHP) plants by replacing coal with certified sustainable biomass and closing down coal-fired capacity. Our target is to completely phase out our use of coal in 2023.

    • We’ve inaugurated our new wood chip-fired unit at Asnæs Power Station in Denmark so the power plant can supply green district heating and green process heat. This marks the completion of our coal-to-biomass conversion programme.
  • Green energy utilisation and integration

    We explore and develop solutions to produce renewable hydrogen to displace fossil fuels in sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as heavy industry and transport. We also deploy battery storage solutions with some of our green energy projects.

    • Together with ten partner organisations, we’ve secured funding for the Westküste 100 project – the first offshore wind power-to-hydrogen conversion project in Germany.
    • Partnered with Yara, the world’s leading fertiliser company, to replace fossil hydrogen with renewable hydrogen in the production of green ammonia in the Netherlands.

  • Financing green

    We exclusively use green financing instruments, including green bonds and green loans, to progress our green transformation and build-out of green energy.

    • We expect to align with all aspects of the EU taxonomy, to be launched in 2021, which will help investors determine the sustainability of the activities they invest in.
    • Continued our green debt financing by allocating proceeds of DKK 24.1 billion to eligible green bond projects.

Addressing the sustainability impacts of the green energy transformation
  • Sourcing certified sustainable biomass

    We only source biomass that is certified sustainable by independent, third-party certification bodies and live up to Danish regulations and criteria on sustainable wooden biomass. Our biomass is sourced from sustainably managed production forests with ongoing reforestation. The wood pellets and chips we use are made from residues and low-grade wood that is in low demand from sawmills and other wood industries, most often, from sawdust, the regular thinning of forests, or diseased or crooked trees.

    • In 2020, we reached our target to procure 100 % third party-certified sustainable biomass. We’ll maintain this level going forward.

  • Marine biodiversity

    We avoid and reduce impacts on ecosystems throughout the development, construction, and operation of all our offshore wind farms. We conduct detailed environmental assessments, we engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders, and collaborate to identify best-practice to protect key species and natural habitats in the future build-out of offshore wind farms.

    • We’ve committed to work with the Science Based Targets Network to contribute to the development of methods and guidance for science-based targets for biodiversity.
    • We’re founding members of the Offshore Coalition for Energy and Nature, a multi-stakeholder group working to further the coexistence of offshore wind with marine industries and healthy marine ecosystems.

  • Local communities

    We want to develop our renewable energy projects so that they create benefits for local communities and address community concerns and expectations. Our projects must be built in line with international human rights standards. We continue to develop and refine tools to guide our approach across our projects.

    • Joined forces with the Onside network in a new partnership that will invest GBP 1 million in a Youth Zone and support thousands of young people in Grimsby over the coming years, both in the UK.
    • Launched the Offshore Wind Industrial Development Fund to support Taiwan suppliers to ramp up their technological capabilities, nurture local talents, and drive a healthy development of offshore wind industry in Taiwan.
    • Established the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust to bolster economic opportunities and support small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses in New Jersey, US.
    • Allocated more than USD 420,000 in economic and medical supply-relief donations to non-profit organisations to support rural project host communities in Texas, San Diego, and Nebraska, facing ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Resource management

    We strive to minimise our consumption of resources, including water in our operations and supply chain through action plans and targets. We collaborate with our peers, suppliers, and contractors to improve recycling rates and reduce landfill disposal. We raise employee awareness of sustainable practices through campaigns and e-learning.

    • Our Renescience waste-to-energy plant in Northwich, UK, was successfully commissioned.
    • We have created new waste and water management policies, and improved reporting frameworks complying with GRI standards.

Ensuring responsible business practice
  • Workplace safety

    We strive to create a safe workplace for employees and contractors working for Ørsted, and we incorporate safety into all our decisions and actions. We actively pursue a best practice way of working, seeking high efficiency in the way we work.

    • Achieved our best ever safety performance, measured by a TRIR (total reportable injury rate) of 3.6. This corresponds to a 327 % decrease of recordable injuries since 2019.
    • Implemented a new shared QHSE management system called ‘way we work’, which contains the processes, policies, and instructions that describe employee tasks and specifies job requirements.

  • Employee health and well-being

    We implement a holistic approach to physical, social and psychological health and mental well-being at work through our Ørsted Life framework. We train and support managers in science-based stress prevention, and we use data and research to develop health and well-being initiatives. We offer our employees access to a range of services and activities in their work life, even while they’re working from home.

    • Developed guidelines and material on best practice in remote working during COVID-19, including physical exercises, psychosocial health guidelines, and safety briefings when working from home.
  • Employee development

    We’re building a culture of continuous learning and development, with individual development as a starting point. Development opportunities are provided through on-the-job experience, networks, and formal learning. We provide digital and in-person learning opportunities for all employees through the Ørsted Academy. Additionally, we’ve tailored high-potential programmes for selected early-career talents, senior specialists, managers, and executives.

    • We’ve continued to increase investment in our learning platform Ørsted Academy, both in-person, virtually and digitally.
    • We’ve also launched several new virtual initiatives for employee development, including our Global Learning Week which enables employees to learn about Ørsted’s business and the inspiring expertise of colleagues in different fields.

  • Employee satisfaction

    We measure employee satisfaction and motivation through an annual employee engagement survey to monitor whether employees are thriving in their working environment. We measure the perception of Ørsted as a workplace, including daily tasks, workload, and relationships with managers. We use responses to identify areas of improvement at managerial, departmental, and company levels.

    • Maintained our position in the top 10 % among our peer benchmarking companies for employee satisfaction.

  • Inclusion of diversity

    As we grow as a company, we’re refining how we create a diverse workplace. Our approach is made up of targeted actions that embed inclusion of diversity into our People & Development processes, comprehensive management training focused on inclusion of diversity practices, and activities shaping inclusive organisational behaviour.

    • We have appointed a new Head of Global Inclusion & Well-being to build a team to further strengthen our inclusion and well-being efforts.
    • We launched a company-wide ‘Inclusion of diversity insights survey’, which provided actionable insights from 4,000 employees on opportunities and challenges to improving inclusion of diversity at Ørsted.
  • Good business conduct

    We have zero tolerance of all forms of bribery, corruption, and kickbacks, given or received, direct or indirect. Good business conduct is promoted internally and with our business partners through policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms, including our whistleblower hotline. Our business ethics compliance framework provides guidance and expectations for the business to ensure ethical decision-making and set clear standards on how we operate.

    • Continue to make efforts to strengthen our ‘Know your counterparty’ screening programme, including updating sanction risk procedures to mitigation, US and EU sanctions exposure, and performance of risk-based due diligence of business partners.
  • Human rights & responsible business partners programme

    We have a due diligence process in place to assess our business partners’ and suppliers’ adherence to our Code of Conduct for business partners (CoC). We identify performance gaps through screenings and assessments, and we act upon our findings through supplier-driven corrective and preventive improvement plans.

    • Developed a human rights project to strengthen our implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in own operations and in local community engagement programme.
    • We’ve identified and prioritised minerals and metals in our supply chain where salient human rights and environmental risks are greatest.

  • Information and cyber security

    We work to ensure the security of corporate information and critical infrastructure through a risk-based approach in close collaboration with our stakeholders. We provide them with tailored compliance support as well as training and awareness so they can incorporate and apply security measures in their daily operations.

    • Established a Global Information Security Management function and a Global Defence function to, respectively, govern and manage global policies and processes and quantify security risks; and detect and respond to information and cyber security incidents.

  • Responsible tax practices

    We’re transparent in our tax reporting and voluntarily disclose country-specific information about our tax position in our annual report. We aim to comply not only with the letter of the law, but also the underlying intent to ensure that we pay the right amount of tax on time in the countries where we operate. We engage in dialogue with stakeholders and cooperate with the authorities in the markets where we operate to support effective tax systems.

    • Ørsted was ranked best company in Denmark on tax transparency and governance by the Danish financial magazine Økonomisk Ugebrev; and ranked as the best in-house tax team in Europe by International Tax Review.
    • Further enhanced reporting of tax practices in the Ørsted Annual report, by drawing inspiration from the new GRI indicator, GRI207.

Sustainability report 2020

A sustainable build-out of green energy