Axpo

RATING

SECTOR

Utilities

WEBSITE

CONTACT

Parkstrasse 23
Baden
CH-5401
Switzerland
Phone: +41 (56) 200 31 11

STOCK EXCHANGE

N/A

LISTING

Dark Green rating of CICERO

EMPLOYEES

5,000

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Christian Capello

AWARDS

In 2018 their energy traders were awarded nine gold medals in this year’s survey by the trade magazines “Risk” and “Energy Risk”

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Kavita Kripalani

Axpo

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Axpo is Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy and an international leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power. 5000 employees combine experience and expertise with a passion for innovation. 

Axpo develops innovative energy solutions for its customers based on state-of-the-art technologies in over 30 countries in Europe, the USA and Asia. They open up perspectives and generate new impulses for a life full of energy.

Company Sustainability Activity

Axpo has been around for over 100 years. This demonstrates that they take their commitment to meeting the criteria of economic efficiency, ecology and social responsibility seriously. Sustainability has a long tradition at Axpo.

Axpo wants to work sustainably in all its strategic and operational activities and along the entire value chain. Their goal is to remain Switzerland’s leading energy company in the area of sustainability. 

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.

Highlights

Climate protection

  • For the consistent implementation of their sustainability strategy with a clear commitment to climate protection, Axpo compiles a greenhouse gas inventory in accordance with the ISO 14064 standard and has it certified by an independent body. The inventory creates transparency regarding the most important emission flows. Based on these results, they continuously derive improvement targets, reduction and compensation measures.
  • Axpo has set itself the goal of ensuring that the greenhouse gas intensity of its electricity generation from its own plants and shareholdings is below the European reduction path for the electricity sector to achieve the 2-degree target in accordance with the Paris Convention.

Concrete measures

  • Axpo increases efficiency in:
    • The maintenance of production facilities with state-of-the-art, efficient technology
    • Energy use on distribution networks and operation of buildings

Protecting Nature

  • Together with national and regional partners, Axpo is committed to a sustainable and attractive Switzerland. The following projects stand for mindful, careful nature conservation. 
    • One of the first partners of the Vier-Quellen-Weg (Four Springs Trail). The springs of the Rhine, Rhone, Reuss and Ticino rivers are located along the 85-km stretch of the hiking trail, which was opened in 2012.
    • Axpo supported the electrification of the Vermigelhütte (alpine lodge) along this route.
    • Axpo is also involved in the construction of a new mountain hiking trail to Europe’s highest watershed at 3025 metres above sea level.
    • Cooperation with Aargau Tourism

Targets

Axpo ensures its long-term economic success

  • Expansion of business that is not dependent on electricity prices.
  • Diversification into new areas of business.
  • Ensuring long-term capital market viability.

Axpo reduces its carbon footprint and increases energy efficiency

  • Annual measurement of greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with ISO 14064 
  • The greenhouse gas intensity of electricity generation from their own plants and associates is below the European target path for the electricity sector to achieve the 2°C target set in the Paris Agreement.
  • By the end of the 2021/22 financial year, improvement of 150,000 MWh in energy efficiency as regards electricity in the production and distribution of electricity, in operations and at customers, compared with the 2015/16 base year.

Axpo enforces sustainability principles among its business partners

  • By the end of the 2018/19 financial year, 60% of the order volume in excess of CHF 100,000 that Axpo can influence will be placed with business partners who have accepted the Axpo Code for Business Partners on compliance with the principles of business ethics and minimum social and environmental standards, rising to 90% by the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

 Axpo plays an active role in shaping the energy turnaround

  • Annual development and creation of renewable energy capacity in Switzerland and abroad, in MW.
  • Annual expansion of renewable energies by third parties, enabled by a long-term power purchase agreement with Axpo, in MW.
  • Total capacity of renewable energy marketed by Axpo for customers in Europe, in MW.

Axpo is a responsible employer

  • The annual rate of occupational accidents (= number of occupational accidents per 1,000 FTEs) is below the industry average for insurance group 55A (energy suppliers), as calculated by Suva.
  • The absence rate (= number of lost days due to illness (including work-related mental illness such as burnout), occupational and non-occupational accidents per FTE) is below the industry average for insurance group 55A (energy suppliers), as calculated by Suva.

Axpo makes a contribution to society

  • Each year, Axpo imparts transparent and politically neutral knowledge on all aspects of energy at its visitor centres and power plants to between 60,000 and 70,000 visitors.
  • Each year, Axpo reports with the greatest possible transparency on its sustainability performance in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) requirements.
  • Through sponsoring and cooperation, Axpo supports over 200 different organisations, institutions and projects, which are committed to culture, the environment or young and disabled sporting talent. Furthermore, Axpo is involved in a national innovation project, the Park Innovaare in Villigen.

Clean Energy

  • In conjunction with the Clean Energy Package, the European Union has set itself targets for EU energy and climate policy for the period to 2030:  
  • 40% less CO2 emissions compared with 1990; binding target for EU Member States; for the sectors subject to emissions trading, there is no sharing of the burden between the EU Member States;  
  • Renewable energies account for 32% of the energy mix; binding target at EU level;  
  • 32.5% greater energy efficiency compared with 2007; non-binding target at EU level;

Progress

Performance 2018/19

Axpo ensures its long-term economic success

  • Expansion of PPA business in the areas of PV and wind in Europe  
  • Expansion of the origination business in the USA  
  • Development and construction of wind farms in France  
  • Expansion of the energy efficiency business in Italy and Spain
  • Entry into the development market for large-scale PV facilities in France through acquisition of Urbasolar.  
  • Building of first large-scale battery storage facility for customers  
  • Development of Avectris SAP business through takeover of “ERPsourcing”

Axpo reduces its carbon footprint and increases energy efficiency

  • Verification of group-wide greenhouse gas inventory conducted by independent auditors Ernst & Young Ltd.
  • The greenhouse gas intensity of Axpo’s electricity generation is 97 kg/MWh.
  • The European target reductions for the electricity sector are:  
    • 2018: approx. 300 kg/MWh  
    • 2022: approx. 200 kg/MWh
  • An increase of 5,080 MWh was achieved. 
  • The cumulative energy efficiency gain compared with the base year is 30,890 MWh.

Axpo enforces sustainability principles among its business partners

  • Around 70% of the order volume that Axpo can influence was placed with business partners who have accepted the Axpo Code. 
  • The interim goal for the 2018/19 financial year was thus achieved.

 Axpo plays an active role in shaping the energy turnaround

  • Expansion of around 98 MW (previous year: 67 MW):  
    • Wind: +64 MW  
    • Photovoltaics: +34 MW 
  • Wind: Completion of four onshore wind farms in France by Volkswind, with a capacity of 63.5 MW
  • Photovoltaics: Expansion of Axpo’s own PV portfolio in France (Urbasolar) and in Italy with a total capacity of 30.8 MW on a proportionate basis for Axpo. 
  • Development and installation of PV plants for customers with a capacity of 3.4 MW
  • Expansion of around 396 MW (previous year: 372 MW)  
    • Wind: +366 MW  
    • Photovoltaics: +30 MW
  • Total approx. 15,500 MW 
  • The biggest portfolios are in Spain (7,400 MW), Scandinavia (3,380 MW) and Italy (960 MW).

Axpo is a responsible employer

  • At around 40, the annual rate of occupational accidents was well below the industry average of around 56.
  • At 5.7, the absence rate was below the industry average of 6.3 calculated by Suva.

Axpo makes a contribution to society

  • 60,000 visitors to power plants – the target was reached.
  • Reporting with the “Comprehensive” option in compliance with the GRI Standards was achieved. 
  • Four Headwaters Trail: As a patron of the eponymous foundation, Axpo supported the construction and operation of the Four Headwaters Trail. The Four Headwaters Trail is a family-friendly hiking trail in the Gotthard range that leads to the sources of four rivers, the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone. 
  • PluSport: As a longstanding partner of PluSport, the umbrella organisation of Swiss disabled sport, Axpo is wholeheartedly committed to people with disabilities. Since 2019, Axpo has been the main sponsor of the annual PluSport Day in Magglingen and has supported PluSport football groups as part of its funding project.

Certificates

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDGs Compliance

SDG 4

  • The company showcases itself at various events for university graduates in order to attract young, well educated employees. During the reporting year, Axpo participated in a total of nine events held at higher education establishments (informative lunches, guest lectures, fairs at higher education establishments). In the non-academic field, Axpo offers a wide range of apprenticeships, including training positions for 55/71 electricians, electrical designers and cooks as well as careers in maintenance, information technology, mechanical and electrical engineering and commercial professions. The employee development programme also includes internal training and education courses to develop management and key skills as well as IT, language and specialist skills. The induction of new employees is supported in part by a comprehensive introduction to the energy sector that covers the entire value chain, from production to trading, transmission and distribution as well as sustainability in electricity production. In addition, employee development comprises advice on external training and education courses, special talent management and management programmes to promote upcoming young employees and managers, manager and development centre programmes, customised offers for teams (e.g. team development, team assessments), individual advisory options such as coaching, career guidance, 360° feedback and management of change processes. 

SDG 7

  • Axpo is helping through various business activities to reshape the energy system. In Switzerland, Axpo is the leading producer of renewable energy. Furthermore, the flexible hydro power plants, such as the new Limmern pumped-storage power plant, create the capacity needed to balance out volatile electricity production. When it acquired wind farm developer Volkswind in 2015 and photovoltaic developer Urbasolar during the current financial year, Axpo strengthened its activities in the development of renewable energies such as onshore wind farms in Germany and France and large-scale solar facilities in France. These acquisitions also enlarged Axpo’s own portfolio of renewable energies in Europe outside Switzerland. 
  • As well as 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 it manages chiefly comprise wind and photovoltaic energy and are spread right across Europe. Axpo offers investors in renewable energies individual and long-term power purchase agreements, thereby enabling the construction of new plants which are not subsidised by a fixed feed-in remuneration. These power purchase agreements (PPAs) give investors planning certainty, particularly if they lack expertise in marketing electricity. Institutional investors such as pension funds or other investment funds are increasingly being joined by large corporations which, under various initiatives, are committed to achieving 100 percent renewable electricity supply (one example being the RE-100 Initiative).
  • Axpo is responding to the trend towards increasingly decentralised and intelligent elements in the energy system through its subsidiary CKW and its sites in Italy and Spain, by developing and selling smart energy products. Products and services focusing on decentralised production and optimised consumption (photovoltaics, batteries, e-mobility), heat solutions and intelligent control are offered to private and commercial customers. Solutions to increase energy efficiency, for flexibility management and in the area of building technology are offered to business customers.

SDG 8

  • To do justice to its understanding of sustainable corporate governance, Axpo creates a binding basis on which its business partners can engage with their own corporate responsibility. Axpo does so by means of its Code for Business Partners

SDG 10

  • In another chapter, the Code for Business Partners states that business partners must respect prevailing human rights and treat their employees with dignity and respect. This includes a ban on child labour, forced labour, discrimination and disciplinary punishment. 

SDG 12

  • As regards electricity, energy efficiency gains are being made in the following four areas: production increases in power plants, reductions in transmission losses, reductions in consumption in building management and reductions in consumption by customers. 
  • Hydro power plants: Energy efficiency gains of around 800 MWh were achieved at the Göschenen power plant during the reporting year. 
  • Biomass fermentation: energy efficiency gains of 150 MWh were achieved at the Kompogas plant in Charvornay during the reporting year. 
  • Transmission grids: the replacement of transformers enabled energy efficiency gains of around 40 MWh during the reporting year. 
  • Increasing energy efficiency for customers With the help of the “ProKilowatt” support programme (circulating pump programme), consumption by CKW’s customers was reduced by around 40 MWh of electricity. In Spain and Italy too, Axpo offers a wide range of services for increasing energy efficiency for customers from commerce and industry. In addition to consumption analyses and energy audits, specific energy efficiency measures were also implemented in the areas of heating technology and lighting at its customer premises and resulted in a reduction of around 4,200 MWh in electricity consumption.

SDG 13

  • Axpo’s contribution involves the low greenhouse gas intensity of its production mix and boosting energy efficiency. The relevant possibilities for increasing energy efficiency lie in maintaining the production plants with the most up-to-date and most efficient technology, reducing energy losses on the distribution grids and making careful and efficient use of energy in its buildings. Moreover, Axpo supports its customers in their plans to boost their own energy efficiency. 

SDG 14

  • The handling of water and effluents is determined separately for each power plant. The necessary compensation habitats and other compensation measures (environmental mitigation and replacement measures) are defined in the Environmental Impact Assessments. Environmental Impact Assessments are part of the standard approval procedure for new and rehabilitation projects. For hydro power plants, the concession conditions for using the water often also include measures to protect biodiversity. In special cases, additional protection plans agreed with the authorities have to be implemented. Investments and expenses related to environmental protection are usually part and parcel of all major infrastructure projects and are therefore included in the project costs

SDG 17

  • As Axpo operates in many different areas along the value chain, both in Switzerland and in Europe – from the construction of large hydro power plants or wind farms to the operation of nuclear power plants and from trading and sales to sales of IT services – a diverse range of business partners is involved in the supply chain. Axpo has a total of around 30,000 different business partners. These include international technology companies such as ABB, Siemens, Westinghouse and GE-Power, international trading partners for energy products such as EDF, E.On, GDF Suez (Engie) and Vattenfall, as well as a large number of international, national and even regional suppliers from the most diverse sectors.

Axpo has specific certificates, sets various targets toward sustainability and explicitly aligns with UN SDGs. 

Axpo incorporates renewable energy as a key component of its business model. The company is involved in a plethora of renewable energy projects that cumulatively have a positive impact toward sustainability. At the rate the company is currently heading with energy efficiency, they are on track in offsetting their environmental footprint, and are truly helping contribute to a more sustainable future. 

This company has been rated a B. 

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

The company sets a solid example of how energy companies can diversify toward sustainable alternatives. They should continue to expand their renewable energy portfolio, set more ambitious goals and communicate their progress with further information and metrics, so that others can learn from their example. 

Key Points

  • Axpo is Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy and is involved in energy trading and marketing solar and wind power. A large portion of domestic power generation comes from hydropower and nuclear power. The focus abroad is on wind and solar energy. The company also owns gas and steam combined-cycle power plants.
  • Axpo will supply electricity to a supermarket chain from a 2.2 MW solar plant under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The facility is being deployed at the Muttsee dam, at an altitude of almost 2,500 meters above sea level.
  • The Axpo power mix with hydropower, nuclear energy and biomass is climate-friendly insofar as it hardly results in CO2 emissions in Switzerland. However, owing to its gas-fired power plants in Italy, Axpo has on average emitted about 3 million tonnes of CO2 p.a. with its own power plant park in the past years.
  • However, seen over the entire power plant park, the Axpo power mix is already at the level that Europe strives to achieve by the year 2035.
  • Based on the Annual Report 2018/19, Axpo also achieved cumulative energy efficiency increases of about 90 gigawatt hours (GWh) over the last six years.
  • Since FY 2014/15 up to today, the company has nearly doubled its own wind and solar energy portfolio, mainly abroad, and biomass from 350 MW to 620 MW.
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