Photo: EDF/Philippe ERANIAN


Six Ambitions Based on the UN’s SDGs and Included in our Strategic Program

By EDF Group
11:41 AM, September 15, 2017

In 2016, we decided on six corporate responsibility goals. They mark out the path we have set for ourselves to achieve our CAP 2030 strategy and take into account the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) laid down by the United Nations. Although the SDGs are not aimed directly at companies, we firmly believe that these goals cannot be met without the active contribution of business organizations. We fully embrace the global approach of the SDGs, while remaining aware that we are but one of the many actors in this movement.

Three of the major topics that we have chosen concern the environment and natural resources: climate change, as we must drastically reduce our CO2 emissions; biodiversity, as we want to better integrate biodiversity issues into all our projects; and energy efficiency, as the digital transformation brings us fresh potential to innovate.

Two topics underpin our community involvement, by supporting the most vulnerable in our society and by systematically implementing a consultation process for our major projects around the world.

The sixth goal focuses on people and aims to develop human resources to guarantee safety and equal opportunity for our employees.

• Drastically reduce our CO2 emissions

We aim to surpass the 2 degrees Celsius trajectory set by the COP21 Paris Agreement. Despite being one of the undisputed leaders in low-carbon electricity generation in Europe and probably worldwide, we are also, in absolute terms, a high emitter in France.

Our goal is to continue reducing our CO2 emissions, both in France and across the world. But things are not that simple! It is not so easy to continue scaling-back our emissions, currently at about 15 g of CO2 / kWh in France, while we are doing 20 times better than the other electricity companies in Europe. It is not so easy when the consolidation of our subsidiary Dalkia, which generates heat using renewables as well as natural gas, has doubled our CO2 emissions in France.
By 2030, we want to double our renewable generation capacity worldwide to reach 50 GW. 

It is not so easy when our Group’s CO2 emissions totaled 77 g/kWh in 2016, six times lower than the industry’s global average. It is not so easy when international expansion often comes up against the demand for coal. We are following a CO2 emissions trajectory in line with both our objective and the reality of our industry.

• Adopt best practices in health and safety, gender diversity, and social advancement

The health and safety of employees and subcontractors is not just a goal, it is an obligation. Our figures have improved, but that is not enough. We must work faster to make sure that employees and subcontractors follow life-saving rules applicable to all subsidiaries to avoid serious accidents, and to protect themselves and their colleagues. Diversity is a strength. We have no doubt about that. However, gender diversity remains a deep concern at a company dealing in high technical expertise, a company made up of engineers. Today, the proportion of women in leadership positions and senior management is still lower than the percentage of women employees. So we must support and encourage women in taking on leadership and technical positions.

Upward social mobility is one of the noblest values at our company. In France, 35 percent of our managers worked their way up to reach their position, often combining a bold personality, personal dedication, and expertise. Now that is a winning formula. We have reiterated our commitment to eradicate fatal workplace accidents.

• Offer all vulnerable people information and support

The transformations taking place in today’s world leave some people behind. They become marginalized from our society. Vulnerability and exposure to this situation are growing. We have been working hard to combat fuel poverty for nearly 30 years, alongside public authorities, social services available through local governments, and non-profit organizations. Digital technology has opened up the opportunity to redefine our relationship with vulnerable customers and reach wider audiences, while engaging in closeknit ties with local organizations. Now, we want to support all vulnerable people, to help them use energy more wisely and understand their rights (access to various forms of aid, information about payment methods, energy savings, and so on).
In the United Kingdom, Priority Services enables EDF Energy’s vulnerable customers to access personalized advice and useful information about the solutions provided by the company and public authorities.

• Innovate through digital energyefficiency solutions 

The planet is finite. It is crucial that we reduce our consumption of natural resources. This also applies to electricity generation. Even renewable energy draws on rare raw materials, as do storage solutions. Instead of reducing consumption, we need to use the least amount of energy possible, and at the right time. That is where the digital revolution, replete with all its applications and new technologies, comes into play. Digital technology will enable each customer to take an active role in their energy use, and even produce their own electricity. Sensors create “smart” devices that measure temperature, brightness, and CO2 in our homes. By controlling these devices in all-new ways, such as from smartphones, anyone can understand and manage the way they use energy. We believe that electricity will play a unique role and is the future of energy intelligence. This also brings us the opportunity to develop and design new products and services. We can take a whole new approach to support customers who play an active role in their energy consumption. 

Our Six Corporate Social Responsibility Ambitions

  • Go beyond the requirements of the 2 degrees Celsius trajectory set by COP 21 by drastically reducing our CO2 emissions 
  • Adopt industrial Groups’ best practices in people development: health and safety, gender diversity, and social advancement 
  • Offer all vulnerable people information about, and support with, energy use and energy benefits 
  • Innovate through digital energyefficiency solutions to enable all customers to use energy better 
  • Systematically organize a process of transparent and open dialogue and consultation for every new project around the world 
  • Launch a positive approach to biodiversity, not limited to understanding and reducing the impacts of our activities in the long run but having a positive effect on biodiversity 

• Systematically apply a process of dialogue and consultation for our major projects around the world

Over time, industrial projects shape regions and landscapes. They transform them. They create jobs, activity, and value. Talking about it and listening to those concerned, as early as possible in the process, is not a waste of time. It helps us better understand the issues that impact an area to make the industrial project a positive step forward for the region. It is about learning to live with the surrounding region. Our Group is keen to renew and systematically apply its dialogue practices to take better account of the expectations of regions and their communities. We want this dialogue with stakeholders to be transparent, challenging, constructive, and open. We do not want to co-build projects but to foster the sustainable development of regions.
In 2017, this will involve new projects worth more than €50 million, which will have a significant impact on their relevant regions and environments. In 2030, the Group aims to lower this financial amount to €30 million.

• Launch a positive approach to biodiversity

All our facilities and projects deal with biodiversity issues. Our industrial facilities are complex and often located outside cities. In France, we own large amounts of land (41,000 hectares) and manage vast natural resources (75 percent of artificial water reservoirs). We want to reach further than simply better understanding this natural wealth and reducing the impact of our business activities; we also work to enhance local biodiversity. To do that, we need to build and develop alongside competent partners, NGOs, and top scientific institutions. With the support of these organizations, we can take bold steps to develop biodiversity without affecting the industrial business at our sites. We returned more than 100 hectares of Ile du Rhin in eastern France to its natural state, restoring the original function of this ecosystem, made up primarily of wetlands.

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About the Author
EDF Group

About EDF Group

Every day tens of millions of businesses and consumers turn to EDF, one of the world’s leading electric utilities, for the electricity they need to keep their homes, offices, and factories running smoothly.

That’s why we at EDF are committed to:

  • Giving you a reliable, energy-efficient power supply backed by unbeatable customer service ;
  • Ensuring maximum energy safety ;
  • Remaining at the forefront of energy technology, whether for nuclear, hydro, wind, or solar power, and leading the drive towards a carbon-free world.


The EDF Group provides a wide range of gas, electricity and energy eco-efficiency services to more than 38 million customer accounts around the world.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
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