Axpo has been around for over 100 years. This demonstrates that we take our commitment to meeting the criteria of economic efficiency, ecology and social responsibility seriously. Sustainability has a long tradition at Axpo. And we live it anew every day.
Axpo wants to work sustainably in all its strategic and operational activities and along the entire value chain. Our goal is to remain Switzerland's leading energy company in the area of sustainability. Sustainability is more than just a buzzword for Axpo.
The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 are to be implemented by energy companies by 2030. Axpo is at the forefront: Christian Capello, Sustainability Manager at Axpo, is working in a CIGRE working group to develop best practice guidelines for the industry that can be applied in all 193 UN member states.
The focus of Axpo’s commitment to sustainability is on the business perspective and all the related strategic and operational activities. However, Axpo is also part of the Swiss economy and society.
That is why the Group-wide goal of being the leading energy company in Switzerland in terms of sustainability is linked to concrete goals and measures. Based on the challenges facing its own business model, the socio-economic framework, and in consideration of the entire value chain, Axpo is committed to taking action in the following six areas and strives to achieve the goals it has set for those areas.
The challenge: Securing the long-term success of the company is a priority challenge. The central megatrends "decarbonisation", "decentralisation" and "digitalisation" are leading to a fundamental transformation of the energy market. Axpo must find answers to this transformation. The challenge, however, is that the resources available are limited. Due to Axpo's substantial production capacities, it is heavily dependent on the development of wholesale prices, which has an impact on securing the refinancing of this capital-intensive business. Wholesale prices have overcome the lows of 2015/16 and a recovery is on the horizon. However, investment capital remains limited in order to ensure long-term capital market viability.
Axpo's approach: The available investment capital is being used to grow further in existing business areas that are independent of electricity prices. In addition, innovative capability will be strengthened in a targeted manner and the digital transformation will be driven forward. This will increase the efficiency of existing business activities and provide the necessary skills to identify and successfully develop new business areas. To this end, new approaches will be required to bundle the various capabilities within Axpo and in cooperation with external partners.
The challenge: Climate change is one of the global megatrends of our time - its mostly negative consequences can only be counteracted by global rethinking and action alike. With the Paris Convention of December 2015, the member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change pledged to limit man-made global warming to a maximum of 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, with the objective of limiting it to 1.5°C. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed in December 2015. Developed industrial nations such as Switzerland can play a pioneering role in implementing this goal.
Axpo's approach: Axpo's contribution lies in the low greenhouse gas intensity of its production mix and in increasing energy efficiency. The relevant opportunities for increasing energy efficiency lie in the maintenance of production facilities with state-of-the-art, efficient technology, the reduction of energy losses on distribution networks and the economical, efficient use of energy in the operation of buildings. Axpo also supports its customers in their efforts to increase their own energy efficiency.
The challenge: In today's globalised world, the supply chains are complex and the opportunities for influence, especially on subcontractors and their suppliers, are often limited.
Axpo's approach: In order to live up to its understanding of sustainable corporate management, Axpo involves its business partners in its own corporate responsibility on a binding basis. Axpo does this through its Code of Conduct for Business Partners.
The challenge: The energy system is undergoing change throughout Europe. The decentralized elements are increasing, the passive consumer is turning into a demanding customer and "prosumers" and renewable energies are being rapidly expanded due to changing customer needs and steadily falling costs. At the same time, state subsidies for renewable energies with fixed feed-in tariffs are being replaced or even completely abolished by market-based subsidy mechanisms in many European countries . As a result of these regulatory changes, investors in new plants are also increasingly exposed to the risk of changing wholesale prices. An increase in renewable energies must enable their volatile electricity production to be adapted to demand. As a result, technologies for storing electricity are also becoming increasingly important.
Axpo's approach: Axpo is contributing to the restructuring of the energy system with various business activities. In Switzerland, Axpo is the leading producer of renewable energy. In addition, the flexible hydropower plants - such as the new Limmern pumped storage plant - make it possible to provide control capacity to compensate for volatile electricity production. With the acquisition of the wind farm developer Volkswind in 2015 and the photovoltaic developer Urbasolar in 2019, Axpo strengthened its activities in the development of renewable energies, such as onshore wind farms in Germany and France and large-scale solar power plants in France. As a result, Axpo also expanded its own portfolio of renewable energies in other European countries.
In addition to building and operating its own plants, Axpo is positioning itself as one of the leading marketers of electricity from renewable energies in Europe. The customer portfolios managed mainly comprise wind and photovoltaics and are spread throughout Europe. By offering renewable energy investors individual and long-term power purchase agreements, Axpo enables the construction of new plants that are not subsidised with a fixed feed-in tariff. Thanks to these "Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)", investors have planning security, especially if they do not have electricity marketing competence. In addition to institutional investors such as pension funds or other investment funds, large companies that are committed to a 100 percent renewable electricity supply in the context of various initiatives (e.g. RE100 initiative) are also increasingly emerging .
Axpo is responding to the trend towards increasingly decentralised and intelligently controllable elements in the energy system through its subsidiary CKW and at its locations in Italy and Spain with the development and sale of "Smart Energy" products. Products and services with a focus on decentralised production and optimised consumption (photovoltaics, batteries, e-mobility), heating solutions and intelligent control are offered to individual and commercial customers. Solutions for increasing energy efficiency, flexibility management and building technology are offered to business customers.
The challenge: Axpo's success and long-term survival are based on the performance, motivation and further development of its employees.
Axpo's approach: Axpo strives to achieve a high level of employee satisfaction, particularly in times of orientation towards new business areas and services. After all, this is the prerequisite for good performance and to drive innovation. Employee satisfaction is periodically surveyed by means of a Group-wide employee survey, from which improvement measures are derived. In addition, ensuring occupational safety, especially in the construction and operation of production facilities and networks, is of central importance.
The challenge: As a public-sector company, Axpo has a special duty towards society.
Axpo's approach: For Axpo, credible commitment is based on an open and honest dialogue with all stakeholders and on roots in the location regions. Axpo focuses on the transparent, politically neutral communication of knowledge on all aspects of energy in its visitor centres and power plants, comprehensive annual reporting on all sustainability issues relevant to Axpo, and support for more than 200 different organisations, institutions and projects that are involved in cultural and ecological issues or in promoting sports for young people and the disabled.