Our 2019 sustainability programmes


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

This year, we've grouped our 20 sustainability programmes into three categories. The first category aligns our business with climate science, the second one helps us address the potential 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 read the Sustainability report 2019 for details on progress in each programme.


Aligning our business with climate science:

We build green energy at scale and reduce carbon emissions necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This contributes positively to SDGs 7 and 13 and is our biggest contribution to the global goals.

  • Decarbonisation of energy generation and operations

    Increase our total share of green energy and work to achieve carbon neutrality in our energy generation and operations. This covers the carbon emissions from the production of heat and power and from our operations and maintenance activities, including the vessels servicing our wind farms, the vehicles we drive, and our sites.

    Key progress 2019:

    • Set a target to become carbon-neutral in our generation and operations by 2025.
    • Investigating ways to reduce emissions from our operations and maintenance (O&M) vessels, including by testing batteries as a supplement to diesel bunker fuel.
    • Joined EV100 and set a target to reach 100% electric vehicles by 2025. We'll no longer lease fossil-fuelled cars as of 2021.
    Decarbonisation of energy generation and operations
  • Decarbonisation of supply chain and energy trading

    Reduce emissions from our supply chain and from natural gas and fossil-based power trading in line with scientific requirements for the 1.5ºC limit. We work with our suppliers to reduce emissions from the wind farm components and services we purchase.

    Key progress 2019:

    • Set a target to reduce emissions from our supply chain and energy trading by 50% by 2032. It’s our ambition to become fully carbon-neutral by 2050 at the latest across our entire carbon footprint.
    • Offset our air travel emissions from 2019 and onwards by planting mangrove trees and purchasing verified carbon credits.
  • Deployment of offshore wind

    Deploy offshore wind farms globally. We want to increase the deployment of offshore wind across our regions, i.e. the UK, Continental Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. We drive down the cost of green electricity in the markets where we operate through scale and technology development.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • In the UK, we successfully completed the construction of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 1, and started construction of Hornsea 2.
    • Won four large-scale projects in the US and Taiwan, which are new markets for offshore wind, cementing our global leadership position.


    Deployment of offshore wind
  • Deployment of onshore renewable energy

    Deploy onshore renewable energy technologies, including onshore wind and solar PV. Our focus is on building a regional leadership position in the US.

    Key progress 2019:

    • Expanded our US portfolio through acquisitions and investment decisions on onshore projects.
    • Set a target to reach 5GW installed onshore energy generation capacity by 2025. We’re on track to meet this target.

    Deployment of onshore  renewable energy
  • Greener heat and power plants

    Phase out coal from our combined heat and power (CHP) plants in Denmark. We replace coal with certified sustainable biomass or close down coal-fired capacity. 

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Completed the conversion of Asnæs Power Station to run on sustainable biomass. In total, we’ve converted six of our seven central CHP plants.
    Greener heat and power plants
  • Green energy integration

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

    Key progress 2019: 

    • We took the decision to integrate a 40MW storage facility into the design of our Permian Energy Center. This enables us to store energy generated by the solar farm for up to one hour. 


    Green energy integration
  • Financing green

    Aim to exclusively use green financing instruments going forward, such as green bonds or green loans, to progress our green transformation and continue the global build-out of renewable energy starting from 2019. We are co-founders of the Corporate Forum on Sustainable Finance.

    Key progress 2019:

    • Issued green senior bonds of GBP 900m and TWD 12bn as well as a green hybrid bond of EUR 600m, adding to our EUR 750m green senior bond and EUR 500m green hybrid bond issued in 2017.
    • Established a green revolving credit facility of TWD 25bn with 15 banks in Taiwan. This was the first time Taiwanese state-owned banks were involved in financing offshore wind. 


    Financing green

Addressing potential impacts of the green energy transformation:


Through our investments in green energy, we drive economic growth in local communities and supply chains, positively contributing to SDGs 8 and 11. We prevent and mitigate potential negative impacts from the green energy transition in the communities and environments where we operate, in line with SDGs 12, 14, and 15.

  • Sourcing of certified sustainable biomass

    Document the sustainability of our wooden biomass through independent, third-party certification, in line with the Danish industry agreement on sustainable wooden biomass. We only source biomass from sustainably managed production forests with ongoing reforestation. The wood pellets and chips we use are made from residues. Most often, these residues are treetops, branches, diseased and crooked trees, and sawdust from the regular thinning of forests.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • 96% of the wooden biomass we sourced this year has been independently certified as sustainable in accordance with the Danish industry agreement. 


  • Protecting biodiversity

    Avoid and reduce impacts on ocean ecosystems throughout the development, construction, and operation of all our offshore wind farms. To do so, we undertake detailed environmental investigations and impact assessments. We engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders and collaborate to identify best practice on how key species and natural habitats can be protected in the future build-out of offshore wind farms.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Contributed to the development of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) Principles for sustainable oceans and have become a signatory to them.


  • Local communities

    Engage in an open and structured dialogue with stakeholders in the communities where we operate. Our projects vary in nature from market to market and so do the expectations of regulators, NGOs, community groups, and suppliers. Therefore, we implement a range of initiatives, including community benefit funds, apprenticeships and scholarships, and work with local supplier development.

    Key progress 2019:

    • Supported the establishment of a US-based offshore wind industry, e.g. through an agreement to develop Maryland’s first offshore wind staging centre for construction logistics and wind farm assembly.
    • Developed an apprenticeship programme with DaYeh University in Taiwan to train future operations and maintenance technicians.


  • Resource management

    Reduce waste and, where possible, eliminate hazardous waste by improving waste-data monitoring and reporting, incorporating stricter requirements in contracts, and integrating a circular design into site waste-management processes.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Developed internal company-wide policies and processes for waste and water management and are now working to define targets.
    • We redesigned processes at Avedøre Power Station to reduce the waste for incineration from the use of biomass for energy generation. As a result, the efficiency rate of biomass has increased and waste disposed of for incineration has decreased significantly.

Ensuring responsible business practices:

We conduct business with accountability and responsibility, ensuring respect for our employees, business partners, and suppliers. Through our different programmes, we contribute positively to SDGs 3, 5, and 16, while also minimising our potential negative impacts.
  • Workplace safety

    Strive to create a safe workplace for employees, contractors, and visiting suppliers, and work to achieve best-in-class safety. Increasingly, we actively look for improvement points and incorporate learnings together with contractors to embed safety in our workplace culture.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Unfortunately, in 2019, we experienced a contractor fatality at Avedøre Power Station. The last time we experienced a fatality was in 2012. Following the accident, an independent investigation was conducted and improvement measures implemented. These include additional digital and manual inspection methods before entering silos and improved safety procedures to ensure that plants, machines, and silos are safe before any work takes place.
    • Rolled out the QHSE culture programme, Plan Care Communicate (PCC), in the areas of our business with the highest risks of incidents. 


  • Employee health and well-being

    Implement a holistic approach to physical, social and psychological health and mental well-being at work through our framework Ørsted Life. 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 that can be implemented during the working day.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • More than 3,000 of our employees have made use of readily available health and well-being services in 2019, including fitness-vitality and stress-prevention.


  • Employee development

    Continue to build a culture of continuous development, with a starting point in individual development. 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. We’ve also tailored high-potential programmes for selected early-career talents, senior specialists, managers, and executives.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Published our first Learn every day and High-potential development catalogues to advise employees on development opportunities.
    • Launched eight talent pipelines with key talents and capability-based forums sponsored by executive and senior vice presidents sponsor.


  • Employee satisfaction

    Measure employee satisfaction and motivation through an annual employee engagement survey to ensure employees can thrive in their working environment. We measure the perception of Ørsted as a workplace, including daily tasks, workload, and relationships with managers. The responses are used to identify actions at manager, department, and company level.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Achieved our 2020 satisfaction and motivation target a year early, as our overall satisfaction and motivation ticked up from 76 to 77. With an average benchmark survey score of 70, this result positions Ørsted as best-in-class among similar companies.
    • Set a new 2025 target to be in the top 10% among peer benchmarking companies.


  • Employee diversity and inclusion

    Promote, encourage, and advocate for a culture where different perspectives are valued and leveraged, and where it’s safe to speak up. To do so, we set clear expectations of all managers and leaders in terms of their role. We integrate diversity in the Ørsted recruitment process, including a requirement to select diverse candidates.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Increased the representation of women in the Leadership Conference, which comprises of our top-100 managers. We maintained the proportion of women in middle management.
    • In the UK, we played a central role in the UK Offshore Wind Sector deal, which commits the industry to move from 16% women in 2019 to a minimum of 33% by 2030. 


  • Good business conduct

    We’re a transparent, trustworthy company and are committed to our activities being conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, prohibiting all forms of bribery, corruption and kickbacks, given or received.

    Our policy provides guidance on our interaction with government officials, business partners, etc., and we conduct business partner due diligence screenings through our ‘Know Your Counterparty’ programme. Compliance training and communication have been implemented to ensure awareness about good business conduct, and misconduct concerns can be reported to management or confidentially through the Whistleblower Hotline.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Updated our policy on ‘Good business conduct’ to include best practice across all markets where we operate.
    • Updated the ‘Know your counterparty’ screening programme to further strengthen our risk-based due diligence process for business partners in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other partnerships.


  • Responsible business partner programme

    With our more than 22,000 suppliers, we work to ensure that they follow international standards for responsible business as outlined in our Code of conduct for business partners. The programme is part of our procurement process and builds on four steps:

    - Suppliers commit to our code.

    - We conduct risk screenings to identify suppliers for further engagement based on spend, country, and category risks.

    - We do on-site visits to assess conformity with our code.

    - We agree on improvements plans with suppliers and follow up through dialogue and further assessments.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Conducted 439 supplier screenings and 38 assessments in 2019.
    • While most of our suppliers perform at a high level, we’ve identified some risks. The risks include temporary workers with contracts that in practice prevent employment termination, withholding of migrant worker passports, suppliers with insufficient working hour management systems, and excessive overtime. All have been addressed satisfactorily by our suppliers.


  • Information and cyber security

    Ensure the security of corporate information and critical infrastructure through a risk-based approach and in close collaboration with our business partners. We provide tailored compliance support and training and awareness to our partners, so they incorporate and apply security measures in their daily operations.

    Key progress 2019: 

    • Carried out global campaigns to promote secure behaviour in the workplace, ongoing phishing simulations and communications, and customised awareness events for certain employee groups.
    • Developed a new impact assessment method to better measure the impact of cyber risks throughout the company. In 2019, we used this new method to assess all our information and operational technology applications. 


  • 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.

    Key progress 2019:

    • We continued to publish country-by-country data on our tax positions in our Annual report. 
    • Participated in the Tax Dialogues, a roundtable of businesses, investors, and NGOs on tax and corporate responsibility, led by Oxfam-Ibis in Denmark.
    • Engaged in public consultation to support the development of legislation on international tax affairs and transparency.


Sustainability report


Carbon neutral to stop global warming at 1.5°C