Over more than 30 years, LM Wind Power has built the business on great technology and grown and developed to become the world’s largest component and service supplier to the wind industry. As such, we have already contributed greatly to an industry which is widely believed to hold some of the solutions to the pressing global challenges of climate change, ensuring stable energy supply and meeting increasing energy needs. We are proud of that contribution and believe that it comes with an obligation and a responsibility.
Profitable growth, integrity and caring for people as well as for the environment have always been at the core of our business approach, but there’s room for improvement. With the growth and maturing of our business our ability to work more systematically with sustainability across the group has increased.
A strategic priority
Our new corporate strategy which was launched in the summer of 2010, explicitly and deliberately addresses sustainability as a key component of achieving long term business success. It is not about philanthropy or making us look better than we are. It’s about confronting the environmental and social challenges we face in our business and achieving real change which we will manage and document through measured progress on key sustainability indicators. The keywords are humble, no-nonsense and business focused.
In addition to putting sustainability formally into the business strategy and goals, 2010 offered several milestones for LM Wind Power’s sustainability efforts.
We established a cross-functional group with the purpose of scrutinizing the broader environmental and social impact of our operations, and to look within for key areas of improvement. Together with a steering committee consisting of executive management team members from HR, Quality & Strategy, Integrated Supply Chain, Product Development and Communications, this group is now working on securing a coherent sustainability profile for the LM Wind Power Group, securing integration and alignment with the business strategy and goals and defining our sustainability proposition of the future. The cross functional approach ensures that we address the needs of our key stakeholders – customers, employees, our owners, the environment and local communities.
Safety, Environment, Technology and People
Four focus areas frame our efforts: Safety, Environment, Technology and People. They are all interlinked and reflect that we have a holistic view on sustainability. Especially, Safety and Environment have received particular attention in 2010. Ensuring the highest safety and quality standards in our manufacturing and service operations enables us to meet customers’ expectations and not waste resources.
Our people are truly our most important resource. As a manufacturing company, we face a permanent challenge of securing the highest level of safety for our people and building a strong and enduring safety culture. We are committed to improving our track record on safety and we have taken on the world’s leading safety consultants, DuPont, to help us achieve this and build an even stronger safety platform to take us into the future. We work systematically to improve on an organizational, structural and cultural level. Improving Health and Safety standards is a key strategic priority both short and long term.
We have produced a total of 140,600 blades since 1978 which each year effectively replaces 83 million tons of CO2. That is positive. But manufacturing, assembling and transporting them require resources and energy, and produces waste. Regardless of the source, we are committed to improving how we manage the environmental impact through the entire lifecycle of our products and services. Part of that is also looking at the products’ end of life. We are investigating possible solutions that we expect to launch as part of our service offer in 2011. On the operations side, one of the things we have worked on in 2010 is reducing waste from our plants. Through working with suppliers, optimizing processes and innovating to recycle more, we have reduced waste to landfill by approximately 23 % from 9,576 t to 7,382 t from 2009 to 2010 from our 12 blade plants.
Focusing on waste is important but a lot of other activities leave a carbon footprint. For now we are focusing on the emissions of which we are in direct control – like fuel and electricity and we have also included material consumption in the current carbon footprint for our Blades business. This provides an indication of our impact. However, we are determined to expand the scope of our carbon footprint mapping to ultimately cover the entire value chain of our products. We started up that work in 2010.
To manage our continuous reporting and sustainability performance, we have implemented a best-in-class reporting software. People from key functions, primarily in HSE, HR and Facility Management, across the world insert data at predefined intervals allowing us to monitor our performance on key sustainability indicators which we have defined according to the Global Reporting Initiative framework and relevance for our business goals. We started tracking data on energy, material consumption and waste in 2009 in Blades but we consider 2010 the official kick off for our systematic sustainability reporting as this was when we expanded the data collection to cover the entire group. The reporting tool will be an important lever for ensuring consistent and valid reporting over time.
UN Global Compact
Our efforts culminated with our commitment to the UN Global Compact in November which we see as an important strategic statement and driver for our further development towards improved sustainability. Our Code of Conduct directly relates to the areas covered by the UN Global Compact’s universal principles within human rights, labor, and anti-corruption. The environmental aspect is among other things governed by our global ISO14001 certification, which we require all new sites to have within one year of operation start up. Furthermore, we have mandatory HSE assessments in place in the early stages of new product and material introductions as well as for building and expanding our manufacturing facilities. The growth in wind energy will increasingly take place in emerging markets and we are ready to expand our global footprint in line with our customers’ needs. When operating in new locations the UN Global Compact principles become even more significant and we realize that we might need to make an extra effort to ensure that standards on human rights and labor conditions are respected at all times. We are preparing for that by stepping up our efforts to reinforce our Code of Conduct and raise awareness among our employees and stakeholders on our expectations. For more details and elaboration on LM Wind Power’s sustainability performance and set up, we refer to our first Communication On Progress submitted to the UN Global Compact accessible through lmwindpower.com.