1. Axpo ensures its long-term corporate success
The challenge: Ensuring the long-term success of the business is currently a priority challenge for Axpo, and will remain so in the coming years. This is chiefly because of the persistently low European wholesale prices. The reasons for this are lower electricity production costs when using the primary energy source coal, the strained European economic situation and the subsidisation and preferential treatment of electricity feed-ins from new energies. The Swiss franc/euro exchange rate is also having a negative impact on Axpo, resulting in lower margins at the company and, by extension, greatly reduced profits.
Axpo’s approach: In this challenging situation, Axpo will place the focus on positive free cash flow (FCF). Consequently, Axpo will reduce operating costs, selectively invest and increase its revenues from new or expanded areas of business. By taking this approach, Axpo is seeking to maintain its good credit rating (currently “investment grade”), because of which Axpo is viewed as a trustworthy business partner and is able to obtain favourable financing terms. This enables it to make investments in the expansion of new business areas and in the maintenance of its power plants, for example.
2. Axpo reduces its carbon footprint and increases energy efficiency
The challenge: Climate change is one of the global mega trends of our time – the mostly negative consequences can likewise only be countered by a global rethink and global action. Under the Paris Agreement of December 2015, the member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change commit to limiting man-made global warming to a maximum of 2°C compared
with pre-industrial levels. Developed industrial nations such as Switzerland can play an exemplary role in achieving this goal.
Axpo’s approach: Axpo’s contribution involves the low greenhouse gas intensity of its production mix and boosting its energy efficiency. The relevant possibilities for increasing energy efficiency lie in maintaining the production plants with the most up-to-date and most efficient technology, reducing energy losses on the distribution grids and making careful and efficient use of energy when operating buildings. Moreover, Axpo supports its customers in their plans to boost their own energy efficiency.
3. Axpo enforces sustainability principles among its business partners
The challenge: In today’s globalised world, supply chains are complex and there are often few opportunities for influencing downstream suppliers and their own suppliers in particular.
Axpo’s approach: To do justice to its understanding of sustainable corporate governance, Axpo creates a binding basis on which its business partners can engage with their own corporate responsibility. Axpo does so by means of its Code for Business Partners.
4. Axpo plays an active role in shaping the energy turnaround
The challenge: Energy systems are in the process of transformation throughout Europe. The energy system comprises an increasing number of decentralised elements, the passive consumer is transforming into a discerning customer and “prosumer” and, due to changing customer needs and politically determined subsidisations, renewable energies are booming. The increase in volatile electricity production this entails also boosts the significance of energy storage technologies.
Axpo’s approach: Axpo already makes a considerable contribution to reshaping the energy system, in its role as one of the leading Swiss producers of renewable energies and through the expansion and continuing development of its capacity for storing electricity. With the takeover of wind farm developer Volkswind in 2015, Axpo has stepped up its activities in the construction of onshore wind farms in Germany and France. Axpo is also contributing to the energy turnaround through the construction of the Limmern pumped-storage power plant, which will enable additional capacity of around 1,000 MW to be provided, and through opening up new business areas such as the distribution and installation of battery storage devices for homeowners with the related intelligent control for “prosumers”.
5. Axpo is a responsible employer
The challenge: The success and long-term continuance of Axpo as a going concern is based on the achievements, motivation and continuing development of its employees.
Axpo’s approach: Particularly at times when it is focusing on new business areas and services, Axpo seeks to maintain a high level of employee satisfaction, as this is the prerequisite for good performance and the driver of innovations. Employee satisfaction is periodically gauged by means of a Group-wide employee survey, which then serves as a basis for improvement measures. In addition, guaranteeing safety at work, in particular during the construction and operation of production systems and grids, is a central priority.
6. Axpo makes a contribution to society
The challenge: As a public-sector enterprise, Axpo has a particular duty towards society.
Axpo’s approach: For Axpo, credible commitment is based on open and honest dialogue with all stakeholders and on setting down roots in the regions where it its located. In this respect, Axpo focuses on the transparent and politically neutral communication of knowledge on all aspects of energy at its visitor centres and power plants, a comprehensive annual reporting suite on all sustainability topics of relevance to Axpo, and support for over 200 different organisations, institutions and projects which are committed to culture, the environment or young and disabled sporting talent.