The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Fortum protects biodiversity

Fortum is a leading clean-energy company that develops and offers solutions for customers in electricity, heating, cooling, and solutions to improve resource efficiency. Seeking to constantly reduce the environmental impacts of its operations, Fortum actively takes part in research activities in the sector and implements voluntary and permit-based measures to develop the biodiversity, fish populations and the multi-use of water systems where it produces hydropower.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Fortum published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing

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As the degradation of biodiversity is one of the biggest environmental problems globally, Fortum tries to identify its impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and assess the related risks and opportunities.  Tweet This! In order to protect biodiversity Fortum took action to:

  • set biodiversity guidelines
  • restore habitats

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Fortum identified a range of material issues, such as energy and resource efficiency, customer satisfaction, business ethics and compliance, personnel well-being, operational and occupational safety. Among these, protecting biodiversity stands out as a key material issue for Fortum.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Fortum engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Lenders and shareholders
Customers
Personnel
Service and goods suppliers
Authorities and decision makers
Media
Energy sector organisations
Non-governmental organisations
Local communities

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics, Fortum conducted a sustainability survey among a total of 2,133 stakeholder representatives.

What actions were taken by Fortum to protect biodiversity?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Fortum reports that it took the following actions for protecting biodiversity:

  • Setting biodiversity guidelines
  • Fortum’s biodiversity guidelines set the principles for taking biodiversity into consideration and for managing the biodiversity impacts of Fortum’s operations. Since 2014, Fortum has participated in the activities of the Finnish Business & Society’s (FiBS) Business and Biodiversity programme and is also a member of the Bettercoal initiative, using the Bettercoal Code and tools in assessing the sustainability of the coal supply chain. Biodiversity aspects related to coal mining, are covered in Bettercoal assessments. Seeking to minimise its negative impact on biodiversity, Fortum also assesses the impacts of its new projects, offsetting and reducing the impacts of hydropower production on biodiversity by stocking and over-dam transferring fish and through voluntary environmental projects in Sweden. In addition, Fortum annually collects data on the volume of certified wood-based biomass fuel used in its power plants in Finland, Sweden, Poland and the Baltics. Certified wood-based biomass fuel originates from sustainably managed forests, in which special attention is paid to biodiversity.
  • Restoring habitats
  • Most of Fortum’s habitat restorations and other projects improving biodiversity, are related to hydropower production. They include the following:
  • Restoring river stretches by tearing down dams: In Sweden, Fortum has mapped out the old dams that have low value for hydropower production but have environmental impacts 
on riverine ecosystems, to restore habitats and river continuum in places with benefits for biodiversity. In 2016, two such projects were initiated.
  • Enhancing natural reproduction of migratory fish populations: In Finland, a migratory fish project continued in 2016, in cooperation with local stakeholders, at River Oulujoki. Fortum also has hydropower production on the River Oulujoki and, to minimise environmental impacts, transported salmon spawners to the reproduction areas at tributaries, supported the salmon and sea trout population with releases of young fish, and followed up the migratory fish population. Additionally, Fortum started construction of a permanent structure for trapping fish by the Montta hydropower plant, in order to transport them to the reproduction areas upstream.
  • Restoring a wetland: In the River Dalälven area in Sweden, Fortum took part in financing the restoration of a rich wetland, Ambrick, which is partly on Fortum’s property. The area is 23 hectares, hosts different kinds of endangered species of plants, like orchids, and birds, like curlew, and was opened up by clearing small trees and bushes.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored

Disclosure 304-3 Habitats protected or restored corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Business theme: Water-related ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Marine biodiversity
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Mountain ecosystems, Natural habitat degradation, Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Fortum, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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