We caught up with Jacques Spelkens, Head of CSR Benelux at ENGIE, to learn more about ENGIE's CSR commitments.
Q1: ENGIE renewed its CSR policy end of 2017. What are the main innovations compared to the previous one?
The Group's new CSR policy, adapted to today's societal challenges, aims to create shared value and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the UN. Our new CSR policy encompasses 17 specific CSR objectives, of which 6 are communicated externally to demonstrate the Group's CSR commitment.
First of all, ENGIE wants to support its customers towards the energy transition, but their satisfaction as such is also a top priority. Besides, ENGIE wants to create more shared value with its stakeholders, but also to engage more with them. That’s why more opportunities are given to them to express their opinion through various dialogues and public consultations.
With regard to renewable energies, the objective is that the energy production releases 20% less CO2 than in 2012. When it comes to safety at work, the frequency of work incidents should be reduced to 3 by 2020. Finally, a quarter of the Group’s total workforce should be women by 2020, whereas today the female workforce accounts for 19%.
Q2: Engie Group relies on 1000s of suppliers, ranging from international groups to local SMEs. All of the Group’s purchasing contracts incorporate an ethics and CSR clause. This is a very complex matter, what kind of hurdles do you anticipate and how will you overcome them?
The ethics and CSR clause incorporated to all purchasing contracts testify ENGIE’s commitment (e.g. fair treatment, prompt payments, data confidentiality) towards its suppliers.
One of the hurdles for ENGIE is the rise of some suppliers’ disagreements or the inability for some of them to meet the expectations. Especially for SMEs, it can be difficult to comply with the required CSR level. As a result, ENGIE could face difficulties to meet its own KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). However, ENGIE should not be too strict, as the role of a large company is to provide guidelines and support smaller businesses in meetings these targets.
ENGIE will obviously seek to amicably resolve any disputes or controversies that may arise. Otherwise we will call on a mediator, in charge of resolving disputes with any person or organisation affected by the Group's activities. All Group employees in general, and buyers in particular, are required to comply with all seven principles of the Code of Conduct in Supplier Relations.
Q3: What is currently the most exciting CSR project you are working on that contributes to Engie’s new CSR policy?
One exciting CSR environmental project we work on is the extension of wind farms for which the 150th wind turbine was recently inaugurated in Meerhout in Belgium. The goal is that, by 2030, 40% of the energy production comes from renewable energies for the whole ENGIE group.
Besides that, the ENGIE Foundation supports various projects throughout the world. In Belgium, the Power2Act program enables Engie staff to volunteer in social programmes.
Other actions include: the Zero Waste Operation at the Brussels ENGIE Tower raises awareness on better Waste Treatment, the Hena Heap rehabilitation project (investment in a 15-year long-term rehabilitation project of a green area in Belgium for developing biodiversity, the Diversity Label as well as enhancing Green Mobility. Finally, there is an objective to broaden the scope and develop more projects and partnerships with civil society through the ENGIE Foundation Belgium and its citizenship programs.