Growing responsibility

We strive to be a successful company acting with social responsibility and in harmony with natural resources and global climate. Only with a consistent focus on running our business responsibly and sustainably can we help secure our future and create added value for all – our customers, employees, shareholders, business partners and the environment.

How our businesses contribute

Our core businesses are helping make tomorrow’s energy world more sustainable. Our energy networks are where the transition to a low-carbon energy supply is happening: they integrate renewables, connect producers and consumers, and deftly manage complex energy flows. Our customer solutions help customers of all kinds use energy more efficiently, produce their own renewable energy, and thus reduce their carbon footprint.

How we operate

We consider the impact of everything we do. We work continually to minimize our impact on the climate and environment, to comply with laws and our own policies, and to respect human rights. We also want to partner with our employees, customers, and other stakeholders to create value.

Sustainability report 2018

Our reports

Comprehensive information about the sustainability activities we conducted and the progress we made at E.ON.

Our Facts and Figures

Our sustainability activities in the regions

Markers ensure air safety for birds

Our distribution system operators (DSOs) take a variety of actions to prevent birds from colliding with our power lines or perching on energised components. For example, Schleswig-Holstein Netz, our DSO in northern Germany, has installed hundreds of markers on its lines to make them more visible to birds. The markers – strips of black and white plastic that quiver in the wind to catch birds’ attention – are attached to the shield wire above the conductors. In August 2018 Schleswig-Holstein Netz affixed markers to a 9 kilometre segment of high-voltage lines around Marne near the North Sea coast. This and other measures make the skies in our service territories safer for osprey, storks, geese, ducks, swans and other bird species.

Citizen Energy Prize in Bavaria

People who set a good example deserve recognition. Bayernwerk, our distribution system operator in Bavaria, pays tribute to individuals, schools, clubs, and other non-profit organisations that have embraced sustainability with the Citizen Energy Award. It confers the award, whose monetary prizes total €50,000, in five districts of Bavaria with the support of the district government. In 2018 there were three recipients in the district of Lower Franconia. One award (€3,500) recognised a group of volunteers in Marktheidenfeld who published and distributed a booklet containing suggestions for how people can conserve energy and reduce their climate impact. Another prize (€3,500) went to a couple in Saal an der Saale who made their home almost entirely energy-autonomous. The Karlstadt Rowing Club received the award (€3,000) for the energy-smart renovation of its boat- and clubhouse, which included a high-efficiency ventilation unit, heat recovery, and LED lighting. It’s pioneers like this who are helping make the energy transition a reality. The Citizen Energy Award shines a light on their achievements and inspires others to follow their example.

Taking a bird’s eye view to protect frequent flyers

Imagine you’re a raptor. You like to perch on tall objects like power pylons whose energized components are very dangerous. And your flight path is traversed by power lines you sometimes can’t see until the last second. To make our Czech power distribution system safer, we adopt a bird’s perspective. In partnership with the Czech Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection and the Czech Society for Ornithology, we’ve identified and specially secured the segments of our system that are crucial for bird conservation. For example, we’ve attached high-visibility markers to our lines on avian frequent-flyer routes. In addition, each year we install more than 4,000 perch deterrents, a plastic device that dissuades birds from perching on hazardous components. These safety measures help protect raptors as well as many other bird species.

Partnering with Alzheimer’s Society

Around 850,000 people in Britain live with a form of dementia. Some are our customers, and some are our employees’ family members and friends. We’re working with Alzheimer’s Society, which is our charity partner in Britain for 2016 to 2020, to make E.ON a dementia-friendly community. One way is by supporting Dementia Friends, a social action movement launched by Alzheimer's Society in 2013 to increase people’s understanding of dementia and inspire them to take action to help those affected by it in their community. More than 2 million people across the United Kingdom have become Dementia Friends. We’re proud to say that 4,876 of them are our employees. We’re committed to offering all our employees in Britain a Dementia Friends Information Session and thus help Alzheimer's Society reach its goal of 4 million Dementia Friends by 2020. By becoming a Dementia Friend, our employees agree to support the programme’s five key messages and commit to a dementia-friendly action.

Beyond this programme our colleagues find fun and creative ways to fundraise for the charity to help pay for Dementia Support workers, who provide much needed support to people living with dementia.

Laptops for pupils’ desktops

Kids growing up in the Digital Age need digital learning tools. Enerjisa Üretim, the generation company of our Enerjisa joint venture in Turkey, provided some. In 2018 it donated 28 retired but still perfectly serviceable laptops to needy schools near three of its power stations. The gifts enabled two of the schools to hold technology classes for the first time. The initiative is good for the environment (because it reduces the need for new equipment and saves resources) and good for the communities (because it enriches their kids’ learning environment). Going forward, Enerjisa Üretim intends to periodically review its inventory of laptops and, when it has extras, give them to schools in need.

Bringing the world of energy alive for kids

Today’s children and young people will play a vital role in making tomorrow’s world more sustainable. E.DIS, our distribution system operator in northeast Germany, is helping them become more informed energy users and citizens. In 2018 about 30 E.DIS employees brought their energy IQ and experience to a dozen schools in the company’s service territory in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. They talked to pupils about the energy transition, the growth of renewables, and job and work-study opportunities at E.DIS. The aim is to bring issues like sustainability and energy efficiency alive for kids. In 2019 E.DIS plans to continue the program and encourage more children and young people to be energy literate, environmentally aware, and climate conscious.

Rewarding creativity, showcasing innovative solutions

Good ideas, particularly ones that promote energy saving and climate protection, deserve recognition. We help provide it in the Czech Republic through the E.ON Energy Globe Award (EGA), the country’s most coveted environmental prize. In 2018 more than 220 projects were submitted to be judged by a panel of renowned experts. Winners receive financial or non-financial prizes and in-kind support for their project. The awards are conferred by leading figures of Czech political and cultural life at a nationally televised ceremony. About 60 percent of the Czech population has seen at least one E.ON EGA show on TV. E.ON Czech has organized the contest since 2008. Nearly 2,400 projects have been submitted so far. 

Better lighting for better learning

When kids read books in half-lit rooms, many parents tell them to “turn on a light or you’ll hurt your eyes”. Whether or not this is a medical fact, children definitely need well-lit classrooms to learn effectively. This hasn’t always been the case in some Romanian schools. So in 2012 E.ON Romania began upgrading the lighting in classrooms, hallways, and gymnasiums in schools in its service territory. In 2018 it installed a total of 15,000 energy-saving LED lights in ten schools. Altogether, it has improved the learning environment for 35,500 kids and teachers in 54 schools, while also enabling the schools to reduce their energy bills and climate impact. This successful programme, which receives numerous inquiries each year from schools eager to participate, has deepened our relationships with communities across our service territory in Romania.

Helping communities monitor and reduce their carbon emissions

According to a famous business adage, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. That’s a problem faced by communities across Germany that want to reach their climate-protection targets: collecting and analysing emissions data can be complicated and time-consuming. greenited, a Hamburg-based start-up that we co-founded, can help. It has developed a digital tool that crunches complex emissions data and presents them with easy-to-understand graphics. The tool is scientifically certified and intuitive to use. It enables cities and municipalities to get an exact picture of their status quo, design effective climate-protection measures, and track their progress. For example, the tool can simulate the impact of individual measures (like putting solar panels on the roof of a public building), enabling municipal decision-makers to decide which measures make the most sense. The tool is already being used by local governments in Schleswig-Holstein, Bavaria, and Berlin.  

Protecting raptors

Power lines pose a hazard to birds. We put the lines up, so it’s on us to make them safer. ZSE, our distribution system operator in west Slovakia, makes its grid bird-friendlier in partnership with Raptor Protection Slovakia (RPS). It has supported RPS’s flagship project, LIFE Energia, since 2003. Active for two decades, LIFE Energia is Slovakia’s first systematic attempt to address the two main hazards of power lines (collision and electrocution), while also improving the nesting, feeding, and breeding conditions for raptors.

ZSE supports LIFE Energia in three ways. To reduce the likelihood of collisions, ZSE equips many of its power lines with bird-diverting markers. To prevent electrocution, it installs devices that deter raptors from perching on the most hazardous components of power pylons as well as insulators on which they can perch safely. To increase nesting opportunities, it places aluminium nest boxes on pylons and artificial nests on poles. Together, these measures help stabilize raptor populations, including those of rare species like the imperial eagle and the saker falcon.

In addition, ZSE is the lead sponsor of another RPS project, which monitors the populations of three raptor species. 

MIND Workplace Wellbeing Index

Having healthy employees who feel valued and supported is essential for our success. An important aspect of health is mental health. To help us find out how well we’re prioritising our people’s mental health, in 2017-2018 our operations in the United Kingdom conducted their first wellbeing survey with over 2,000 employees taking part. The Workplace Wellbeing Index is a benchmark of best employer policies and practices regarding mental health in the workplace, it was developed by MIND, Britain’s leading mental health charity. Encouragingly, we earned a Silver Award for our efforts to foster our employees’ mental health and for making demonstrable progress over time. Moreover, the findings have given us a clear picture of where we currently stand in our approach to mental health and helped us design an action plan to improve our processes to support all employees with their wellbeing.

Helping take e-mobility to the streets

Electric vehicles (EVs), which have great potential for reducing carbon emissions, are still fairly novel. To help promote them in Italy, we introduced Moving@.E.ON, an EV-sharing programme at our offices in Milan and Massazza. We provided five e-cars and five e-bikes which employees and business partners can use for work or personal travel, including taking them home for the weekend. We also installed charging points at our parking facilities and ran a contest whose winner could use one of the e-cars for three weeks in the summer of 2018. Beyond helping spread the culture of electric, sustainable mobility, Moving@.E.ON enables us to test different EV functionalities and to learn more about users’ attitudes toward this new technology. We’re using this valuable feedback to develop and refine our e-mobility solutions for individuals, businesses, and cities.

Busy as a bee

Plants can only reproduce because bees and other insects are messy eaters. When a bee drinks nectar from a flower, bits of pollen from the stamen (the flower’s male reproductive organ) stick to its body. When the bee goes to the next flower, some of the pollen rubs off onto the stigma (the flower’s female reproductive organ). The result: fertilization and the development of a fruit, like an apple. Unfortunately, monoculture farming and insecticides have reduced Germany’s bee population significantly. Avacon, our distribution system operator in north-central Germany, is taking action to improve the situation. It supports employees who want to keep bees at its high-voltage transformer stations. The locations – mostly rural or on the edge of municipalities and surrounded by a high security fence – are ideal. So far, about 300,000 bees are buzzing through the fields around several Avacon transformer stations. Our employee beekeepers plan to add more hives in 2019.

Making our power network in Hungary bird-friendly

With over 84,000 kilometres of power lines, our network is the largest in Hungary. So we have a big responsibility to make sure it isn’t harmful to wildlife, particularly birds. Birds like to perch on power poles and towers, which puts them at risk of being electrocuted. There’s also the danger that big, less manoeuvrable birds (bustards, cranes, and storks) may collide with power lines and injure themselves.

In partnership with nature conservancy organisations and bird protection specialists, we’ve taken numerous steps over the past ten years to make our network in Hungary bird-friendly. We’ve covered thousands of dangerous components with plastic perch deterrents, placed 4,200 safe nesting boxes on top of power pylons, and attached light-reflecting markers to power lines to make them more visible to birds in flight. These measures are good for birds and for us. They’ve significantly reduced the number of bird deaths as well as the amount of time and materials we expend to repair our network.

But there’s always room for improvement. So in 2018 we partnered with Design Terminal, a Budapest-based start-up incubator, to hold an innovation contest to develop new, more effective perch deterrents. Eight teams of design specialists and university students participated. The winning design, which resembles a bird wing, is being refined and prepared for mass production. We think it will further reduce bird injuries and deaths.

Developing smart meters for transformers in Turkey

In mid-2018 Enerjisa Enerji, the network company of our Enerjisa joint venture in Turkey, completed a two-year project to design a prototype smart meter for its distribution substations. The project was conducted by Enerjisa Enerji’s distribution system operator (DSO) in Başkent, which serves roughly 3.5 million customers in a service territory extending from Ankara to the Black Sea in north-central Turkey. Its purpose was to develop a device that would automatically send metering data from substations to the DSO’s main computer server and therefore make it unnecessary to send employees to the substations, some of which are in remote rural locations, to read the meters. The project team developed 12 prototypes and corresponding software able to:

  • Remotely read consumption, diagnostic, and status data
  • Remotely control the transformers (on/off, load limiting)
  • Detect power outages and defects in the grid
  • Continuously communicate in two of three channels (radio, cellular, and power line)

The next steps are to select the best device, gain regulatory approval for it, and work with a manufacturer to have it mass produced. Enerjisa Enerji hopes to begin installing the meters in 2019.

School supplies for disadvantaged kids

We believe that everyone should have equal access to knowledge and education. Unfortunately, quite a few families in Hungary don’t have enough money to buy their kids all the school supplies they need. Since 2012 we’ve stepped in to help. In partnership with Hungarian Interchurch Aid, at the start of each school year we provide 1,000 disadvantaged elementary school pupils and 500 kindergarteners with a new backpack containing notebooks, pencils, and pens. We involve our employees as well by giving them the opportunity to make monetary or in-kind donations to the programme. In 2018 about 5,000 of our employees in Hungary participated. The programme is part of our commitment to make the communities we serve better places to live.

Raising safety awareness in Romania

Electricity and natural gas power our customers’ lives. But if not used properly, they can be dangerous and even deadly. As part of our commitment to harm-free energy use, since 2012 E.ON Romania has partnered with the National Inspectorate for Emergency Situations to help foster a safety culture in the communities it serves. Employee volunteers – about 600 in all – visit schools, marketplaces, and government offices to give presentations, hand out flyers, and talk to people directly about energy safety. By the end of 2018, the programme has distributed over 5 million safety-related materials and reached an estimated 7.7 million people. Its Facebook page has 16,000 fans and has received about 10,000 posts. 

Lowering barriers for disabled children

Being excluded from a group is hard, particularly for kids. It can bring about feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and loneliness. ZSE, one of our distribution system operators, engages with communities in its service territory in west Slovakia to help make them more inclusive. The ZSE Foundation partners with the Handicapped Aid Association and provides grants to schools to promote the integration of physically handicapped pupils. A more diverse classroom benefits everyone. It gives disabled kids a sense of belonging and challenges them more than a special-needs curriculum. It also makes the classroom a more empathetic, mutually supportive environment. The programme fosters barrier-free access to other activities as well, including sport, leisure, and entertainment.

100% renewable backed energy

When it comes to tackling the climate crisis, every little bit helps: energy-smart appliances, rooftop solar panels, improved insulation. But big, bold action is necessary as well. That’s why in July 2019 we began providing all 3.3 million of our residential customers in Britain with electricity backed by 100 per cent certified renewable sources. At no extra cost, as standard. It comes from wind farms, biomass power plants and solar arrays across Britain and Europe. Our customers told us they’re increasingly concerned about climate change. We heard them and responded, with change on a scale never before seen in Britain. We remain committed to being a pace-setter in tackling climate change and continually look for new ways to lead by example.

Bringing fast charging to motorways

People know that an electric vehicle (EV) is practical for short trips. But many hesitate to convert to e-mobility because they wonder whether EVs are viable for cross-country travel. That’s why we’re putting in place the necessary infrastructure. One example is FAST-E, a network of 28 fast charging stations we installed along the Czech Republic and Slovakia’s main transport corridors. The project, which was completed in September 2018, was carried out by E.ON Czech Republic and ZSE, our subsidy in Slovakia. But that was just the beginning. Two more projects, EAST-E and NEXT-E, will bring 25 rapid charging stations and four more UFC charging stations to the Czech Republic. We expect to complete them in the second quarter of 2019. We’re convinced that a denser network of charging stations on motorways will give more people the confidence to embrace sustainable, climate-friendly mobility.

Clean energy, cleaner oceans

Marine debris is a huge problem. Each year, 8 million metric tonnes of waste – most of it plastic – is dumped into the world’s oceans. About 15 per cent of it washes up on beaches. Like Italy’s, where each meter of sand has, on average, ten items of trash. We decided it was time to do our part to address this urgent issue. In May 2019 E.ON Italia launched Energy4Blue, a three-year partnership with Legambiente, one of the country’s leading environmental organisations, to safeguard the marine ecosystem. The initiatives include cleaning up 250 Italian beaches, protecting endangered turtles, and encouraging consumers to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We also enable our electricity customers in Italy to get involved: those who choose E.ON Blue light not only receive certified renewable power but also support the cleanup of ten meters of beach. It’s one of the ways we partner with our customers to make tomorrow’s world better, cleaner, and more sustainable.

Climathon

Young people are creative. To put this creativity to use for an important issue, on the last weekend of October 2019, we gathered 18 young people aged 16 to 18 in Pfaffenhofen outside Munich for E.ON’s first Climathon: a forum for generating innovative ideas to promote climate change. The participants heard presentations by E.ON experts, engaged in interactive workshops, and formed teams to develop ideas. The winning team came up with an idea for highly energy-efficient and sustainable housing units. Other teams suggested putting solar farms in space and presented plans for energy-saving communal living arrangements.

Converting streetlights to climate-friendlier LED

Bayernwerk, an E.ON distribution grid operator in southeast Germany, is responsible for more than 600,000 streetlights in its service territory. About a decade ago, it began converting them to LED, which consumes less electricity and therefore results in lower carbon emissions. In 2019 the project reached a milestone: it converted its 200,000th streetlight, making nearly one third of Bayernwerk’s lighting infrastructure climate-friendlier. The savings are significant. Since 2009, Bayernwerk has reduced the power it consumes annually for street lighting from 234 GWh to 168 GWh and the associated carbon emissions from 117,000 metric tonnes to 86,000 metric tonnes.

From unremarkable to eye-catching

Utility boxes are those drably coloured metallic mini-monoliths that contain the electrical circuits of the surrounding buildings. Although indispensible, they don’t exactly adorn the urban landscape. In 2019 the Tourist Board of Bad Gandersheim, a quaint spa town on the western edge of the Harz Mountains about 75 kilometres south of Hanover, decided to enliven some of its street-side utility boxes (about 40 so far) as well as one transformation station. Avacon, an E.ON company that operates the town’s distribution grid and thus owns the boxes, loved the idea. Each box was affixed with a print of an enlarged historical photograph showing what the immediate vicinity looked like decades ago.

The campaign has not only made the boxes more visually appealing; its juxtaposition of past and present shows passers-by the ways in which Bad Gandersheim has changed. With Avacon’s financial support, the campaign is currently being documented.

Giving birds a safe place to nest

Grid infrastructure can pose a hazard to birds. For example, the inviting places to perch atop power pylons are perilously close to energized components. We therefore have a responsibility to make our power grids safer and bird-friendlier and to promote nature conservation. The service territory of E.DIS, an E.ON distribution grid operator in northeast Germany, is home to a variety of large birds, including white storks, ospreys, and sea eagles. To help to preserve these species, E.DIS has installed bird guards on dangerous components and mounted nesting platforms on power pylons, seven for ospreys and 24 for white storks. E.DIS employee volunteers have also helped local authorities and conservation organisations to band several hundred ospreys and eagles, thereby promoting conservation and research.

Identifying tomorrow’s bright ideas

We’re always on the lookout for innovative and disruptive products and services for energy efficiency, smart cities, urban mobility, and environmental protection. Our aim is to identify ideas that will benefit our customers, our company, and society generally. That’s why ZSE, our subsidiary in Slovakia, works closely with Uplift, one of the country‘s leading start-up accelerators . Uplift supports dozens of promising entrepreneurs from across Central and Eastern Europe. ZSE focuses on start-ups with ideas that will make the energy world of tomorrow a reality, helping them to grow their business while also looking for ways to adapt their products and services to our own portfolio. We worked with 15 start-ups in 2019. Thanks to our participation in Uplift, Slovakian start-ups can get access to intensive acceleration program in key business areas – product development, sales strategy, marketing strategy, new market development, business intelligence, fundraising, HR and Team development, finances and investments. Our involvement with Uplift continues in 2020.

Immerse in commerce

Maths, English, and biology are compulsory secondary-school subjects, and rightly so. Business, however, isn’t. So Avacon, an E.ON distribution system operator in north-central Germany, took a step to address this gap: it invited 20 pupils in its service territory to attend a five-day interactive introduction to the world of commerce. The crash course was held at Avacon’s headquarters in Lüneburg in collaboration with a specialist service provider. In one learning module, participants divided into teams to manage three imaginary companies competing with each other in the same industry. They set objectives and then designed and implemented the measures necessary to achieve them. The exercise culminated in a presentation to investors and business journalists, who were played by Avacon employees of the service provider. The young people had to back up their assertions with facts and figures, make compelling arguments in support of the decisions they’d made, and answer some tough questions from the audience.

Local, sustainable, recycled energy

In Upplands-Bro, a community located 35 kilometres northwest of Stockholm, we’re building an advanced recycling complex that transforms residual, non-recyclable waste as well as organic waste into energy, biogas, and biofertiliser. It consists of a biogas and bio-fertiliser production plant, completed in September 2018, and a cogeneration plant powered by residual waste, which is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2020. The cogeneration plant will provide heat roughly equal to the annual needs of 33,000 households in Upplands-Bro, Järfälla, and Stockholm. The cogeneration plant will produce enough electricity to meet to the annual needs of about 50,000 households. What’s more, the plant will produce electricity, including during cold hours of the day when both heat and electricity are needed the most.

The complex will also produce 60,000 metric tonnes of biofertiliser annually, returning nutrients to the soil for food production in the entire region. This truly sustainable and resource-efficient solution will meet the energy and waste-treatment needs of homes and businesses while minimising the impact on the environment and climate. The complex is essential for Sweden’s growing capital region. Its secure supply of local, sustainable, recycled energy will sharpen Upplands-Bro’s environmental profile and make it a more attractive place to live. Moreover, the suplus power output of the cogeneration plant will enable more companies to open facilities in the area. It will also provide a more secure supply for eMobility solutions. 

Making canine friends

As everyone knows, dog is humankind’s best friend. In 2019 E.ON Hungária did its part to bring dogs and people closer together. It ran a campaign – which involved the Hungarian national water polo team – to encourage adopting pets from animal shelters and responsible pet ownership. Activities included study tours for journalists in national parks and a treasure hunt for children at a zoo. The campaign reached about 33,500 people on Instagram and roughly 1.25 million on Facebook.

Making energy saving fun for kids

What is energy? Where does it come from? And how best can it be conserved? Schleswig-Holstein Netz, an E.ON distribution grid operator in northern Germany, brought the answers to life for tomorrow’s energy consumers: kids. In April 2019 eight elementary schools in its service territory received a visit from an environmental-awareness clown. The clown, who was actually an energy expert and pedagogue, used costumes and interactive games to show pupils how easy it is to conserve energy. 

Managers lend a hand

E.ON distribution grid operator E.DIS is deeply rooted in the communities it serves in northeast Germany. To support them, E.DIS managers do hands-on volunteer work in kindergartens, schools, and other public institutions. The programme, which typically involves facility maintenance and repairs like repainting classrooms or fixing playground equipment, has been in existence for several years. In 2019, 92 E.DIS managers volunteered for a total of roughly 300 hours. It’s just one of the ways E.DIS strives to make the communities in its service territory better places to live.

Offsetting carbon, making Italy leafier

Environmentalists say “plant a tree, save the planet.” Since 2011, E.ON Italia has planted more 60,000 of them – one for each customer choosing its E.ON Green Gas tariff, plus those that customers have had planted by redeeming loyalty points. The project helps customers play an active role in offsetting their carbon emissions. Altogether, the trees have absorbed more than 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Moreover, they promote biodiversity and beautify 18 locations across Italy, with the main focus on cities. Urban forestation helps cool the air and filter harmful pollutants, making cities greener, healthier, and happier places to live. We conduct “I boschi E.ON” (E.ON Woods), which is one of Italy’s biggest reforestation projects, in partnership with AzzeroCO2, a carbon offsetting and certification specialist. In 2018 we joined AzzeroCO2’s latest project, Mosaico Verde (Green Mosaic), which aims to plant 300,000 new trees and protect 30,000 hectares of existing forest by 2020.

Putting books in kids’ hands

As Nobel prize winning author Ernest Hemingway once said, “there’s no friend like a book.” In 2019 we conducted a community-engagement project to enable children across Romania to make new friendships with books. With the help of more than 100 colleagues, we donated a total of about 1,000 books to 20 schools and four paediatric hospitals, many of which previously had no library. This project will give thousands of kids access to books. And the knowledge and wonder they convey.

Raising money to help people living with dementia

Each year, there are almost 10 million new cases of dementia worldwide. That’s why in 2019 our employees chose Alzheimer’s Society to be our charity partner in the United Kingdom. In 2019 E.ON UK employees participated in two fund-raising bikeathons. The first was in May, when a small group of colleagues cycled roughly 320 kilometres from Lockerbie, Scotland, to Sheffield, England. The second was in July, when another group peddled from London all the way to Paris. Together, they raised £20,000. So far the partnership has raised and donated over £270,000 to Alzheimer’s Society. The funds help pay for dementia support workers, who support and advise, people diagnosed with dementia. We’ll continue to work with Alzheimer’s Society in 2020

Sharing energy to save energy

The back of your refrigerator is warm. Imagine if you could harness this energy – and the waste heat of all the other appliances in your neighbourhood – and use it to heat homes. That, essentially, is what ectogrid™ does: it circulates, reuses, and shares heating and cooling between buildings, thereby achieving significant energy savings. The world’s first ectogrid™ is at Medicon Village, a life sciences research park in Lund. It will eventually connect 15 commercial and residential buildings there. The first phase of the project became operational in February 2019, and the second phase in June 2019. Medicon Village, at which more than 1,600 people work, currently consumes about 14 GWh of energy annually for heating and cooling. When its ectogrid™ is completed and energy sharing maximized, this figure could be reduced to as little as 3 GWh. By achieving energy savings of this magnitude, ectogrid™ will be a key technology in the transition to a carbon-neutral world.

Small is beautiful. And practical.

Tree growth is great for people, animals, and the earth’s climate. It produces oxygen, provides food and habitats to animals, and captures carbon. But as tree branches grow longer, they can become entangled with power lines, causing outages and, potentially, fires. Distribution system operators (DSOs) reduce this hazard by periodically pruning the trees near their power lines. Başkent DSO, a subsidiary of our Enerjisa joint venture, is nipping this problem in the bud. In September 2019 it began a 14-month programme to plant 5,500 dwarf trees along its power lines in Bartın Providence, which is part of its service territory in northern Turkey on the Black Sea. Dwarf trees, in this case laurels, deliver all the benefits of big trees. But they never grow tall enough to interfere with power lines. Başkent DSO’s afforestation programme will make its system even more reliable, reduce the risk of fire, and lower the company’s pruning costs for years to come. An evergreen solution in all respects.

Stimulating pollination

Bees play a crucial role in agriculture: they pollinate crops, enabling them to reproduce. Unfortunately, monoculture farming and insecticides have reduced Germany’s bee population significantly. There’s also been a decline in bee-friendly flower species like cornflower, field poppy, and baby’s breath. Schleswig-Holstein Netz, an E.ON distribution grid operator whose service territory in northern Germany is predominantly agricultural, decided it was time to help. In 2019 it began creating what will eventually become four hectares of bee pasture on the grounds of its transformer stations and other facilities. It sowed seeds of bee-friendly flowers at 28 facilities in 2019 and plans to establish 26 more bee pastures in the years ahead. It’s also considering adding insect hotels, which enable bees and other pollinators to survive the winter and nest in summer.

Sustainability Week

In the first week of June 2019 our subsidiary in Romania conducted a Sustainability Week. The purpose was to raise employees’ awareness of sustainable transport and to encourage them to choose such options. It included internal communications about cars’ impact on climate change and air quality and about alternatives (car sharing, public transport, bicycle, walking). The response was positive. Numerous colleagues altered their habits and chose climate-friendlier modes of transport. In addition, this project was the only one in Romania to be entered on the European Sustainable Development Week platform.

Sustainable energy and living for tomorrow

The innovative turn-key solution we designed for Solkvarteret, an 83-unit apartment complex under construction in Malmö, will make it green and largely energy-autonomous. For example, the solar panels and batteries we’re installing will have the capacity to provide up to 70 per cent of Solkvarteret’s electricity needs. All of its heating will come from district heating made with 100 per cent renewable and recycled energy. Thanks to our state-of-the-art design, the buildings themselves will serve as thermal batteries, reducing the need for additional energy production. The solution will also incorporate advanced control technology and machine learning, which will continually optimise the operation of all on-site energy equipment. We’ll own and manage this equipment for the duration of the contract, enabling residents to enjoy sustainable living conveniently, today as well as tomorrow. We estimate that our solution will reduce Solkvarteret’s carbon emissions by about 50 metric tonnes per year relative to the standard energy supply. Construction and installation will continue throughout 2020, with the first residents expected to move in early in 2021.

Two wheels instead of four

Habits are hard to break. One of the most engrained habits worldwide is driving to work. Unfortunately, this habit isn’t good for the earth’s climate. In May and September of 2019, E.ON Hungária ran campaigns to promote two-wheeled commuting. It provided extensive information – including the importance of safe cycling practices and equipment – as well as active support in the form of free breakfast for cyclist commuters, t-shirts, and tools for minor repairs. Altogether, we estimate that our employees in Hungary commuted nearly 20,500 kilometres by bicycle. Moreover, participation doubled from May to September. The campaign was part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable solutions, for our customers and our employees.

Young stargazers in Turkey

The best place to view the night sky is the countryside. There, far from the bright lights of the big city, the stars are particularly dazzling. Artvin, a thinly populated province in the far northeast corner of Turkey, is mostly countryside. Enerjisa Üretim, a joint venture in Turkey in which E.ON has a 50 per cent stake, decided to give children in Artvin a better idea of what’s twinkling overhead. In June 2019 it arranged for a mobile planetarium — a device that projects images of the night sky onto the ceiling — to elementary schools in three villages (Çamlıkaya, Kılıçkaya, and Alanbaşı).

The idea was to enable pupils who attend rural schools with limited educational resources to learn about our solar system, our galaxy, and the formation of the universe. The project, which reached about 220 kids, was part of Enerjisa Üretim’s long-standing commitment to enrich lives in the communities near its power stations.

Helping people get home safely in Sweden

Over ten years ago we discovered a context we hadn’t been aware of before: many young people feel lonely and lack adults to talk to. We also know that places where adults are out and about alongside young people tend to be calmer and safer. We wanted to find a way to show young people that other adults can be there for them and care about them. That is why we started together with Skandia (an insurance company) our foundation nattvandring.nu in 2008. The foundation offers free counseling, education, insurance and other support to groups arranging night walks (nattvandra) around Sweden. Nattvandra is about just being present, asking how someone feels, listening, maybe helping someone to patch up a wound or borrow your mobile phone. But the few hours that our volunteers share from their time can be of tremendous importance. Many young people who go out in the evenings and nights lack the security that can be provided by responsible adults. Why does it work so well? The volunteers are neutral figures for the young people. They are not trying to be authority figures or parents, just fellow human beings who offer support for everyone who may need help. Through adult involvement, night walk groups create security for children and adolescents in public spaces and contribute to a reduction of drug abuse and street violence, among other things. This, in turn, provides a safer and warmer society for all of us. After ten years of growth, Nattvandring now has 346 groups countrywide consisting of 47000 members who conduct about 15,000 night walks a year. 

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