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Non-financial

At TenneT, an important part of our task is to facilitate Europe’s transition to renewable energy. We transport more and more wind and solar-generated power to end-users, we are playing our part in helping to make the world greener and more sustainable. At the same time, we are also transforming the way we work to make our operations more sustainable. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of our leading principles; taking care of our people and taking responsibility for our impact on the planet, in our operations as well as in our supply chain.

Results

Our people

As a company, we are committed to providing a workplace where our people can thrive and perform to the best of their abilities. In this context, our motivated workforce is committed to ensuring we build and maintain a future-proof and sustainable energy infrastructure.

201720162015
Internal employees (headcount)3,1873,0402,887
External employees (headcount)871631568
Male employees (%)79%78%78%
Female employees (%)21%22%22%

* Detailed employee data per country can be found online.

In 2017, our total number of employees increased, at the same rate as the year before. In the coming years our workload to realise offshore connections in the Netherlands will require extra staff. We will run a dedicated recruitment programme in 2018 to hire internal and external staff. TenneT works with a flexible shell model that relies on a core team of permanent employees, supplemented by temporary employees (external and internal) and external contractors for certain additional duties and peak-load work.

We measure our employees’ commitment and engagement in a survey, conducted every two years. The 2017 survey was completed by 83% of our employees, and the sustainable engagement score has decreased slightly from 83% in 2015, to 80% in 2017. This is still a strong level of engagement compared to our peer organisations (energy & utilities benchmark of 78%) and only slightly below high-performance organisations (benchmark, 82%). Treating people with respect and offering people the tools to do their jobs remain one of our key strengths, also compared to high-performing organisations. Of course, we can always do better and we have identified operational efficiency and effective decision-making as two areas we want to improve. Our LEAN continuous improvement programme, introduced in 2017, aims to improve this by doing our work better, faster and easier.

One of our focus areas in 2017 was diversity, which we see as a key contributor to our success as a high-performing organisation. For TenneT, diversity goes to the heart of our business. As a more diverse organisation, we are better equipped to serve our diverse stakeholders. And by diverse employees we don’t just think in terms of gender, although that is the starting point for our targets. We welcome diversity in its widest sense, welcoming employees from different backgrounds, religions, cultures and creeds, with different skills, knowledge, personalities and experience. This wide range of skills and perspectives enriches our company and help us do a better job for our stakeholders.

Our diversity policy will focus on gender diversity for the next five years (2018 - 2023). Therefore we have set ourselves the following targets:

  • The Executive Board and Supervisory Board must consist of at least 30% women.
  • At management level (managers and senior managers) at least 22% of newly hired managers must be women.
  • TenneT-wide, the proportion of female colleagues must remain at least 22%.

These percentages may not seem as ambitious, but based on the composition of the labour market the bar is quite high. In the coming years, for example, TenneT expects a lot of vacancies for highly skilled technicians, a target group of which only 10% is a woman anyway. So it will be quite a challenge to find enough female colleagues.
Two workshops have been organised in 2017 to start the discussion with female employees and recruiters on how to realise our ambitions. We will continue and strengthen this approach in 2018.

In 2017, we initiated steps to help us become a high-performing organisation. Among these was the development of a new performance management concept, where ongoing dialogue is one of the key aspects. We will start working with this concept starting with the leadership team in 2018. Company-wide roll-out is expected in 2019. We also focused attention on two target groups of employees. We focussed on engaging with young talents by extending our existing international trainee programme for trainees both from the Netherlands and Germany. To guarantee sufficient team leaders in the near future, we organised a training programme to develop their skills including a 24-hour management game.

We reward our employees with a market-based package of salary, pension and secondary benefits. Currently 80% of our employees in the Netherlands and Germany are covered by collective labour agreements (CLA). In 2017, TenneT the Netherlands decided to leave the collective labour agreement of the Dutch grid operators, because our current business activities are less in line with those of the DSO's than in the past. In 2018, this CLA will be replaced by a new agreement, set up together with the labour unions, the works council and our employees.

To ensure we continue to attract the best talent and fill our talent pipeline, we offer students in the Netherlands and Germany work experience, apprenticeships and trainee programmes. In the Netherlands, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Power Minor programme, which enables students to learn more about energy production, transport and distribution. Working close with educational institutes is core to our recruitment strategy and having TenneT employees fulfilling part of their role at universities is contributing to this. In 2017, one of our employees was appointed as part-time professor at the Delft University of Technology, building the bridge between scientific knowledge and the actual operations within our company. For TenneT, this is the second professor at this university, next to several other TenneT employees contributing as lecturer at several universities.
We are also working to build understanding of our work among an even younger audience, with the Generation Discover festival in October. We joined some of our fellow companies in the technical sector, with the aim of acquainting this young target group with science and technology, in an easy and accessible way.

Our employees continue to be our greatest asset. To successfully meet the challenges of our constantly changing business environment and our stakeholder demands, we must rely on the performance of our people. To make sure our people stay fit, vital and sustainably engaged we continuously offer tools and programmes, to help them organising their workload, stay energised and to live a healthy life. For health and vitality we have our Always Energy programme and to help our employees perform to best of their abilities we offer the Power to Perform programme.

Since 2016, we have measured the spread of our remuneration by comparing our highest and median full-time salaries, including fixed salary, variable remuneration and pension benefits.

20172016
Remuneration ratio7.57.0

* Detailed employee data per country can be found on online.

For 2017, this ratio is 7.5 compared to 7.0 in 2016, which is caused by higher inflow of new employees in Germany against a lower salary resulting in a lower median. The variable remuneration of our directors and employees is based on financial as well as non-financial performance, which includes our grid availability and safety performance.

Our impact on the planet

We realise that our work has an impact on the environment and strive to avoid, minimise and compensate for this.

Although we try to avoid our impact where possible, we have to accept that we generate emissions, create waste, use non-renewable materials and that our infrastructure can also have an effect on biodiversity. We aim to be transparent about this, with full details available on our website.

In terms of our carbon emissions, over 95% are related to our grid losses, emitted during the production of electricity to compensate for our losses. The leakage of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) from our grid components and the electricity we use in our own operations account for the majority of the rest. Since we will 'green' our electricity use with green certificates to the maximum extent permissible by law, we report a gross carbon footprint (without greening) and a net carbon footprint (with greening).

Grid losses are the difference between the amount of produced electricity that enters our transmission system and the amount that is available for consumption. In 2017, our grid losses increased compared to 2016, to 5,080 GWh, which is caused by the distance the electricity must travel, the amount of electricity transported and grid utilisation (including redispatch measures). All are strongly influenced by the geographical spread of renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind, and the integration of the European electricity market.
Divided by the electricity that we transport, the relative carbon footprint is still increasing due to the large transport distances.

Carbon footprint201720162015
Grid losses (GWh)5,0804,2123,879
Gross carbon footprint/transported electricity10.89.38.4

We use SF6 gas for its excellent electrical insulating properties. However, we are aware it is also a harmful greenhouse gas – 23,900 times stronger than CO2. We aim to reduce our relative SF6 emissions by 20% in 2020 compared to 2015. On top of this, we have set an absolute target to keep SF6 leakage until 2020 below the 2015 level. Knowing that our asset base will increase substantially, this target is ambitious.
Fortunately, we have been able to reduce leakages compared to 2016 by replacing some structural leaking assets. Our 2017 results show that we actually have reached our ambitions earlier than expected (a leakage rate of 0,28% is exactly 20% less compared to 2015 and our absolute emissions are below the 2015 values). Keeping this strong performance in the years ahead will remain important in the realisation of our SF6 policy.

SF6 leakage201720162015
SF6 leakage (%)0.28%0.38%0.35%
SF6 leakage (kg)9341,2481,106

In addition to climate impact, we also have to deal with climate risks. Our grid, for a large part above ground, is vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. As a result, our grid is constructed fully redundant on land, to make sure we can supply electricity at all times. Another risk associated with extreme weather is flooding. We are in dialogue with local and regional authorities on the possible consequences and work together on impact assessment and possible prevention measures.

The leakage of oil used in our transformers and cables can be another unfortunate local environmental impact of our operations. For new projects we use polyethylene cables, which do not contain any oil. Our oil leakage in 2017 was 6860 litres, which was mainly caused by a cable failure in the West of the Netherlands. Additionally, we had a lower number of 44 environmental incidents, mainly caused because we have less construction activities offshore.

Commitment to nature201720162015
Oil leaked (litres)6,8602,08714,091
Environmental incidents445884

Our Commitment to Nature vision underlines our approach to nature and illustrates our responsibility to minimise our environmental impact and protect and improve local nature. With assets throughout the Netherlands and Germany, in national and international waters, and often in areas of natural beauty, we strive to balance our business activities with the impact they have on biodiversity, ecosystems and the landscape.

In 2017 we worked together with local governments and NGOs to enhance biodiversity and reduce the need for potentially harmful maintenance efforts. Examples include the transformation of forest into lower vegetation under our high voltage connection near Boxmeer, the Netherlands, and sheep that provide a safe strip under the high voltage connection, instead of mechanical cutting, in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands. In Germany, we have agreed with other TSOs and the NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland) to set-up a bird hot line. People that find a dead bird in the vicinity of our lines can call this line, managed by the NABU, which keeps a register. The information will be used to change the type of bird flaps we use and potentially help us design new lines that are safer for birds in the future. Our "nature map" shows activities that have a positive impact on local nature in the Netherlands and Germany.

Creating further positive impact with our commitment to nature, as laid down in our social investment policy, we have also started working with Park de Hoge Veluwe in the Netherlands in 2017 for a period of three years. We support the enhancement of nature in this park and will play an active role as partner, involving our employees.

Our commitment to take responsibility for our carbon footprint and our commitment to nature led to the opening of our first sustainable substation in Flevoland in November 2017. This newly built station has 80 solar panels making it largely energy self-sufficient. Outside the station, we created shelters for reptiles, insects and small mammals. In addition we re-used approximately one kilometre of old cable.

Our impact on our supply chain

We also work hard to instil this responsible behaviour, with respect to people and the planet throughout our value chain. To this end, we ask our suppliers to meet sustainability goals similar to our own. They must subscribe to our supplier code of conduct, which is based on the principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). TenneT has been a member of UN Global Compact since 2015 and our compliance includes our approach to human rights, which is particularly important in our supply chain. We realise that human right abuses are more common, although not limited to, countries outside Europe and address this issue pro-actively with our suppliers through our code of conduct. We purchase our components from the world-wide markets and our components are made of materials that are either becoming scarce and/or have social issues in their supply chain. These critical supply chain issues are known to us and we see it as our responsibility to keep addressing this with our suppliers.

Our code requires suppliers and their sub-contractors to commit to human rights and ethical standards, as well as to decent labour conditions and to minimising their environmental impact. Our suppliers provide parts for our power lines and we need to be sure that none of them is involved, however indirectly, in child labour or any other human rights, ethical or environmental abuse. Since the introduction of our supplier code of conduct in 2015 it has been made a mandatory part (knock-out criteria) of all tender procedures, which makes that all suppliers (100%) adhere to our code.

Each year we audit several of our suppliers, asking them critical questions on these issues. We discuss with them how to improve where necessary. Suppliers who fail to meet our standards are disqualified from our qualification procedures. Since we introduced our code of conduct in 2015, we visited numerous suppliers for on-site audits. None of these were excluded from a tender due to a breach of our code of conduct.

Challenges

ChallengeAction
Non financial performance
1The energy transition is altering the energy landscape. To cope with these developments, our capabilities and people need to change too.Our people need to be healthy and agile to handle our ever-changing workload and we work hard to keep developing our internal staff, fostering diversity and deploying flexible external staff where necessary.
2Our huge investment portfolio will continue to put pressure on the environment. This is something our stakeholders are also increasingly taking note of.Environmental issues are becoming part of our investment decision-making, like the application of a CO2 price to measure the climate impact of our investments. We will continue this approach in the years ahead.
3Our supply chain responsibility can be challenging, because it is difficult to manage activities outside our direct span of control.We are constantly raising supply chain responsibility with our suppliers and discussing their obligations in this.

Outlook

We will continue to work to further improve our corporate social responsibility profile. To remain successful, we must understand our stakeholders’ expectations and needs and keep them informed of our strategy and plans. We will have to work on the aspects where we have most impact: our people, our carbon footprint, nature and our supply chain. We will continue to engage with our stakeholders on these matters across various platforms, such as local community meetings, meetings with national and local governments, discussions with peers, as well as publications for the media and wider public.