Our 19 sustainability programmes

Our 19 sustainability programmes help us systematically address the sustainability challenges of our business while meeting expectations from stakeholders. Through these programmes, we impact many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – with our core contribution being to SDG 7 and SDG 13, where we aim to have a transformational impact.

The programmes are grouped into four categories based on their main impact area. The first category is about taking science-aligned climate action, the second helps us build green energy in balance with nature, the third aims to ensure a green transformation that works for people, while the fourth is about building governance that enables the right decisions.

You can get an overview of all our 19 programmes below and read about some of the progress we’ve made in each programme in 2021.

See here for the full details on each programme.

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals no. 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and 13 (Climate action).
Science-aligned climate action
  • Decarbonisation of energy generation and operations

    We have set a science-based target of reducing the emissions intensity in our energy generation and operations with at least 98 % from 2006 to become a carbon-neutral company in 2025. This covers emissions from generation of heat and power and our operations, including the vessels servicing our wind farms, our vehicles, and our sites (scope 1 and 2). We will offset any residual emissions through carbon removal projects to become carbon-neutral in 2025.

    • We have reduced the GHG intensity of our energy generation and operations by 87 % since 2006 to 58 g CO2e/kWh in 2021. We are on track to reach our target of at least a 98 % reduction by 2025.
    • We cover 100 % of our own power consumption with green certificates, mainly from our offshore wind farms.
  • Decarbonisation of supply chain and wholesale buying and selling of natural gas 

    We reduce emissions from our supply chain and from wholesale buying and selling of natural gas (scope 3) in line with the Science Based Targets initiative's (SBTi) 1.5 °C pathway to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 (scope 1-3). We work with our suppliers to reduce emissions from offshore wind farm components and logistics

    • We have partnered with CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) to promote a transparent and uniform way of measuring and disclosing emissions in our supply chain. 97 % of our key strategic suppliers successfully disclosed to the CDP in 2021.
    • We have decided that our strategic suppliers should produce and deliver their products and services to us using 100 % green electricity by 2025 at the latest.
  • Deployment of offshore wind and onshore renewables

    We deploy offshore and onshore renewables across our regions: the UK, Continental Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. We want to accelerate the deployment of renewables globally and have set a strategic build-out target of 30 GW offshore and 17.5 GW onshore capacity by 2030. We are currently on track to reach our build-out target with an installed capacity of 13 GW.

    • In offshore wind, we are building the wind farms Hornsea 2 (1.3 GW) and Changhua 1&2a (900 MW), which will both become operational in 2022. In total, we have secured 7.6 GW towards our offshore wind target.
    • In onshore wind, our largest project to date, the onshore wind farm Western Trail (367 MW) located in Texas, has been completed, bringing our total onshore wind capacity to over 2.7 GW in operation.
    • Within solar, we have completed our 460 MW Permian Energy, a combined solar plus battery storage facility in Texas which will meet the electricity needs of 80,000 US homes. Our total solar capacity is 0.7 GW in operation.

  • 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 are phasing out coal from our combined heat and power (CHP) plants by replacing it with certified sustainable biomass and by closing down coal-fired capacity. We aim to completely phase out our use of coal in 2023*.

    • We have completed our coal-to-biomass conversion programme on six of our seven CHP plants in Denmark, but have two remaining units running on coal in Esbjerg and Studstrup, Denmark.
    • Until 2023, fluctuations in our coal consumption are expected due to our obligation to provide ancillary services in Denmark and contribute to stable grid operations.

    * Following orders from the Danish authorities, Ørsted must delay its target to stop using coal one year to 2024. Ørsted maintains its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2025.

    To ensure the security of the electricity supply in Denmark, the Danish authorities have decided to order Ørsted to continue and resume operations of three of its Danish power station units. This applies to two units which use coal as their primary source of fuel, and one which uses oil as fuel. One of these is Ørsted’s last coal-fired powerplant in operation, scheduled to be decommissioned on 31 March 2023, and the two other units have already been decommissioned.

    The Danish authorities have ordered Ørsted to keep the three units in operation until 30 June 2024.
  • Integrated and reliable energy systems

    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 have taken important steps towards growing our current pipeline of projects within Power-to-X solutions:

    • With the SeaH2Land project, we are working on a 1 GW renewable hydrogen production facility to decarbonise the production of ammonia, steel, ethylene, and fuels in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster.
    • We have commenced construction of the pioneering H2RES project in Denmark, an electrolysis plant which will produce renewable hydrogen for road transport in the Greater Copenhagen area.
The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals no. 12, 14 & 15.
Green energy in balance with nature
  • Biodiversity

    We commit to ensuring that all projects commissioned from 2030 must have a net-positive impact. We conduct detailed environmental assessments, engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders, and provide support for scientific knowledge-building and R&D.

    • We have joined the Science Based Targets Network’s (SBTN) Corporate Engagement Programme to help develop and advance tools for measuring our impact and dependency on biodiversity.
    • We have partnered with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and deployed ten biohuts in the Port of Grenaa to help preserve the cod stock in Denmark’s Kattegat straits, where population numbers are critically low, negatively impacting ecosystems.
    • At our Borssele 1 & 2 Offshore Wind Farm in the Netherlands, we are creating artificial reefs for the Atlantic cod, which plays a key role in the food chain and local ecosystem.

  • Circular resource use

    To achieve a more sustainable use of resources, we are transitioning to become a company with circular economy based on three strategic pillars: (i) We will use fewer virgin resources where possible, (ii) We will use resources better and for longer, (iii) We will recirculate resources upon end of life.

    • In 2021, we performed a full-scale life cycle assessment of our Changhua projects in Taiwan to get an updated overview of the environmental footprint across all components of an Ørsted offshore wind farm. This will form the basis of an in-house tool to support our strategy on resource use for future projects.
    • We have made a commitment to immediately ban landfilling of all our wind turbine blades, instead seeking to reuse, recycle, or recover the materials. This will bring us closer to a fully recyclable wind farm.
  • Minerals and metals

    The mining of minerals and metals takes place deep within supply chains, and Ørsted does not have direct control over how these activities are performed. To help shape solutions in this space, we are engaging with key suppliers based on the first three steps of the OECD Guidelines: (i) Establish strong company management systems, (ii) Identify and assess risks in the supply chains, and (iii) Design and implement a strategy to respond to identified risks. We are also addressing the topic through industry initiatives, including WindEurope and the Dutch Wind Covenant.

    • We have joined the cross-industry Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), which focuses on responsible mining practices. With our membership, we want to promote responsible mining practices in our supply chains and learn how other IRMA members are addressing societal and environmental risks in their supply chains.
    • We have started a dialogue with ten key suppliers to understand the current level of supply chain transparency for priority metals, and whether social and environmental risks within these networks have been identified.
  • Sustainable biomass

    We only source sustainable biomass certified by independent, third-party certification bodies, in line with Danish legislation. 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 in low demand from sawmills and other wood industries, most often from sawdust, regular thinning of forests, or diseased or crooked trees.

    • We report annually on the biomass feedstock types we use, countries of harvest, and the carbon emissions from production and transport to ensure transparency in our approach.
    • In 2021, a new Danish law on biomass has been passed which sets higher standards for companies to document traceability, carbon reductions, third-party certifications, etc. We will abide by this law, and fully support the need for it.

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals no. 3, 8, 10, 11 & 16.
A green transformation that works for people
  • Local communities

    Our renewable energy projects form a very tangible part of the communities in which they are built. Through systematic engagement, it is our ambition to create shared benefits with local communities and enable them to take part in and benefit from the green energy transition. We continue to engage with locally elected officials, suppliers, educational institutions, NGOs, and commercial fisheries. For example:

    • In the UK, we awarded more than GBP 330,000 in grants to 16 organisations from coastal communities in Cumbria and Lancashire as part of our Walney Extension Community Fund. Since 2016, we have supported 184 projects in the region with more than GBP 3 million.
    • In Taiwan, funds from Ørsted’s Offshore Wind Industrial Development Fund (IDF) made it possible to train over 170 local people in welding and safety, most of whom work for suppliers to our Greater Changhua wind farms.

  • Human rights 

    We want to ensure that human rights are respected across our operations, suppliers, and business partners. We identify our most salient human rights risks through a human rights impact assessment and address any risks identified through improvement initiatives in our operations or with our business partners. Going forward, we will implement human rights impact assessments on an even more regular basis.

    • We have initiated a project to strengthen our human rights approach as we expand into areas and markets with a higher risk of human rights violations.
    • We have anchored our human rights efforts in our Sustainability Committee to assign accountability for our human rights work among top management.
  • Inclusion of diversity

    We want to build an organisation where diversity, equity, and inclusion accelerate our global growth. Our ambition is (i) embedded in our business strategy and all our talent decisions, (ii) central to our sustainability agenda and regulatory requirements, (iii) global in approach and tailored to local needs, (iv) defined broadly around visible and invisible diversity, and (v) informed by data so we act on evidence and track progress.

    • Our new ambition for gender balance is at least a 40/60 balance across Ørsted by 2030, in each of three levels: senior director and above; people managers; all employees.
    • We have matured our inclusion networks into a global movement of more than 1,000 members, with a network in every region supported by senior leaders.
    • We have introduced employee diversity dashboards to measure gender, nationality, and age across career levels and business areas to increase transparency and strengthen accountability among top management and team leaders.
  • Employee safety, health, and well-being

    We take a holistic and preventive approach to employee well-being where mental, physical, and social health are prioritised equally. We are committed to creating a healthy, safe, and inclusive workplace and to promoting a sustainable approach to the working lives of our employees. The well-being of our global workforce is key to how we define success.

    • We have launched several initiatives to focus on our employees’ mental and physical health, including:
      • producing new materials for managers on how to work with stress, bullying, harassment, and discrimination
      • rolling out the Howdy well-being monitoring app to all business areas and piloting a supplemental feature that measures muscular skeletal health
      • launching MOVE, a health initiative to encourage movement to enhance physical and mental well-being.
  • Employee development and satisfaction

    We have a strategic aspiration to foster a global, inclusive, and effective organisation, and our employees’ development and satisfaction are key components in making this happen. We provide global digital and in-person learning opportunities for all employees, both through our learning platform and through programmes tailored to specific business areas and geographies. Learning opportunities are easy to use, scalable, individualised, and transparent, and drive business outcomes.

    • We have begun piloting a new career framework, which we intend to roll out company-wide in 2022. The framework is designed to provide more transparency around career opportunities and to enable people to take more ownership of career development in line with their aspirations.
The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals no. 8, 11 & 16
Governance that enables the right decisions
  • Responsible business partners

    Our Responsible Business Partner Programme (RPP) is based on a systematic due diligence process used to assess our partners’ and suppliers’ adherence to our Code of conduct for business partners. We identify performance gaps through screenings and assessments, and we act on our findings through supplier-driven corrective and preventive improvement plans.

    • To further strengthen implementation and reporting, we have established a new ESG Supplier Due Diligence Steering Committee with broader scope and business representation.
    • We have helped develop a self-assessment questionnaire standard for the wind industry through WindEurope, aiming at reducing future due diligence burden on suppliers and improving transparency.
  • Good business conduct

    We have zero tolerance of all forms of bribery, corruption, and kickbacks, given or received, direct or indirect. Adherence to our good business conduct is a key focus, both internally and with our business partners, and is promoted through policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms.

    • We continue to make efforts to strengthen our ‘Know your counterparty’ screening programme against sanctions, government watch lists, adverse media etc., and the performance of risk-based due diligence of business partners, including suppliers, key customers, and joint venture partners
  • Responsible tax practice

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

    • Our Head of Tax was ranked the best in-house tax director in EMEA by International Tax Review for being a leading voice on tax and sustainability. We also ranked best company in Denmark on tax transparency and governance by the Danish magazine Økonomisk Ugebrev
  • Sustainable finance

    We exclusively deploy green and sustainable financing to advance our green transformation and renewable energy build-out, and we align our reporting with recognised ESG frameworks and ratings.

    • For the first time, we have issued a sustainability-linked revolving credit facility (RCF) together with 17 participating banks and Nordea Bank as coordinator and agent, whereby our sustainability performance will have direct financial effects. The RCF is linked with two strategic sustainability KPIs, namely our science-based target for carbon reductions and our taxonomy-eligible green investments (CAPEX).
    • We have reported on our taxonomy-eligible activities, which will provide investors and other stakeholders with a uniform approach for determining the sustainability of our activities.
    • We have continued our green debt financing by allocating proceeds of DKK 31.7 million to eligible green bond projects.
  • Information and cyber security

    We work to 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, training, and awareness to the businesses so they can incorporate and apply security measures in their daily operations.

    • We continue to drive strategic risk mitigation across IT and operational technology (OT) based on quantitative risk assessments and to optimise our resource usage related to information and cyber security.
Ørsted's sustainability report 2021.
Sustainability report 2021

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