Green energy in balance with nature
Climate change is projected to be the biggest driver of biodiversity loss in the coming decade. Already, the variety of life found on land and at sea is facing extreme threat, with 70 % of species already lost over the past half-century and another 25 % facing extinction – a figure that will double by the end of the century if we do not act. Biodiversity is our life support system, and, like our climate, it is in crisis.
Both renewable energy and biodiversity are critical to the future of life on Earth. Constructing and generating renewable energy can, however, also affect nature. That is why we have set ourselves the ambition to deliver a net-positive impact on biodiversity across all the new energy projects we commission from 2030 at the latest. Instead of merely minimising negative impacts on biodiversity, we want to ensure that our renewable energy installations leave nature healthier than before. We already have experience to build on, including the artificial habitats we have installed at our offshore wind farm Borssele 1 & 2 in the Netherlands and in the Danish Port of Grenaa in partnership with WWF Denmark to help preserve the cod stock, which is an important but locally near-threatened part of the marine ecosystems in the North Sea and the Kattegat. Now, we have put in place a dedicated programme to ensure we find the solutions that deliver – from the outset of every new energy asset – the outcome that science tells us must be achieved.
We have also joined the Science Based Targets Network’s Corporate Engagement Program to help develop targets for nature that are aligned with scientific demands. Across industries, we need shared tools and guidance to understand and measure our impact and dependencies on biodiversity, land, water, and the ocean, and for stakeholders to be able to keep us accountable.
In addition, we have announced an immediate ban on the landfilling of wind turbine blades, which are the main components of a wind turbine and for which there is lack of widely available recycling solutions. As part of our push towards a more circular use of resources, we commit to reusing, recycling, or recovering all decommissioned blades.
While we do not yet have all the answers on how to deliver circular energy projects with a net-positive impact on biodiversity, we are convinced that leadership means doing what is right, even when the path forward is not clear.