Berlin, 09/11/2016 – Transmission system operator 50Hertz recently received a "robust" ESG rating (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance) from Vigeo Eiris and is now part of the upper middle range in the electricity & gas utilities sector. As such, the company doubles its score and enters the second highest assessment category. In the electricity & gas utilities sector, 47 other European companies were evaluated in six different categories: Environment, Human Resources, Human Rights, Community Involvement, Business Behaviour and Corporate Governance.
50Hertz was able to obtain the best result in the categories Human Resources and Human Rights. Especially the company's working conditions and strong employee representation were highlighted in the report. The collectively agreed wages, extensive worker protection as well as the non-discrimination and gender equality commitment embedded in the corporate philosophy were also mentioned as positive elements.
Nonetheless, 50Hertz CFO Marco Nix still sees room for improvement: "Our new corporate headquarters, which received special mention in the report for its energy efficiency and the importance of the sustainability aspect during construction, is an example of our progress in the right direction, yet we still harbour the ambition to achieve even greater heights." As a first measure, 50Hertz already seeks to implement the declaration of conformity to the German Sustainability Code (DNK) in 2016. The code obliges companies to publish information on non-financial aspects and sustainability criteria. As of 2017, this form of reporting is mandatory for companies with over 500 employees under European and German legislation. "The early implementation of the declaration of conformity is a sign to our customers and investors that we take environmental protection, corporate social responsibility and sustainability very seriously", said Marco Nix. These activities as well as the improvement of the current ESG rating are important elements of the 50Hertz strategy to orient the company towards even greater sustainability and to undertake the use of more green financial products to finance future investments.
According to Nix, the long-term syndicated loan of over 150 million euros issued only some weeks ago fits into this corporate strategy. Six banks provide the loan in the scope of a programme of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) at an interest rate of 0.9 per cent and for a term of ten years. The investment banks of Berlin and Brandenburg are also involved, which shows a clear commitment to the region, said Nix. "The funds of this transaction are provided under the energy transition programme of the KfW and are therefore an important step towards an increased use of financial instruments for sustainable investments", said the 50Hertz CFO. The money will be used for different projects for the integration of renewable energy in the grid.
Background information on the Vigeo Eiris ESG rating:
Rating agency Vigeo Eiris has been assessing companies on the basis of ESG criteria (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance) for 15 years. Contrary to traditional ratings, it does not focus on financial figures but social and environmental corporate governance factors. The rating covers over 3,500 companies from 36 different sectors and is therefore one of the leading ESG rating agencies worldwide.
With over 950 collaborators, 50Hertz handles the operation and the expansion of the transmission system. Furthermore, the company is responsible for the management of the overall electrical system in the German Länder of Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. As transmission system operator active in the Central European market, 50Hertz is responsible for the secure integration of renewable energy, the development of the European electricity market and for maintaining a high level of security of supply. Since 2010, Belgian grid operator Elia and Australian infrastructure fund IFM Investors are shareholders of 50Hertz, holding stakes of 60% and 40% respectively. As a European transmission system operator, 50Hertz is part of the Elia Group and a member of ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.
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