Beyond Zero-emissions Energy: How Ørsted Is Making Renewables a Force for Positive Change
A rapid build-out of renewable energy is indispensable for tackling the climate crisis. And as the build-out accelerates, renewables can become a force for dramatic positive change – far beyond delivering zero-emissions energy. Read more in Ørsted’s Sustainability report 2021.
The scale of green energy needed to fight global warming is massive. Estimates by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggest that the installed base of renewable energy capacity will have to grow more than tenfold by 2050 to drive the decarbonisation of global energy systems and deliver the critical 1.5-degree pathway.
This accelerated green build-out is critical to halve carbon emissions by 2030 and avoid climate breakdown. However, the climate crisis is not an isolated global challenge. Biodiversity loss represents a crisis of similar proportions, while social movements across the globe are calling for political and cultural change.
In its new Sustainability report, Ørsted – one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies – explains how the green build-out, if done with sustainability at its heart, holds unprecedented opportunities to tackle these issues and drive positive change – to create growth in economies, revitalise local communities, and make a net-positive contribution to biodiversity.
“The build-out of renewable energy will soon reach a scale at which it can fundamentally reshape the way our societies look and operate,” said Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Ørsted. “Getting there holds the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of people across supply chains and local communities, as well as the employees working to make it happen.”
Mads Nipper continued: “However, this won't come automatically. It requires that all actors involved become sensitive to the sustainability challenges present in all phases of green energy projects. If we succeed with this, and work together to solve the challenges, we can use the green transformation to drive positive change – far beyond generating zero-emissions energy.”
Read the report: Green energy for the planet and its people
Three strategic priorities to guide the green transformation
Over the past decade, Ørsted has transformed from a fossil fuel-based company to a global green energy major and has delivered industry-leading performance on emissions reductions. The company now aims to lead the delivery of sustainability benefits to its customers and beyond, creating a world that runs entirely on green energy in a way that works for the planet and its people. Therefore, Ørsted is further strengthening its approach to delivering environmental and social benefits from its renewable energy projects.
- Science-aligned climate action: The world is still not on track to deliver the carbon reductions needed to keep global warming below 1.5 °C. Ørsted therefore aims to scale its green energy business while delivering science-aligned carbon reductions. Collaborating with suppliers to tackle emissions across the full value chain will be a critical component of this effort.
- Green energy in balance with nature: Nature, and its variety of species and habitats, regulates the well-being of our planet, and it is in crisis. Building green energy is a lifesaver for nature – but it also involves environmental impacts that must be managed. Ørsted therefore aims for each energy project to contribute positively to a thriving nature from 2030 at the latest.
- A green transformation that works for people: The green transformation will involve and impact the lives of millions of people across supply chains and local communities, as well as the employees working to make it happen. Ørsted aims to lead a build-out of green energy that is inclusive and enabling, with the ability to create local benefits.
Read more on each priority in the report: Green energy for the planet and its people
The first energy company with a net-zero target validated by SBTi
In 2021, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the global body enabling businesses to set emissions reduction targets in line with science, launched the world’s first Corporate Net-Zero Standard. Ørsted was among the seven companies with science-based net-zero targets verified by the SBTi and was the first energy company in the world with a validated net-zero target.
Ørsted’s 2040 net-zero target is science-based because it has been substantiated through specific long-term reduction targets:
- 99.8 % reduction in GHG emissions from energy generation and operations in scopes 1-2 – down from targeted 10 g CO2e per kWh in 2025 to 1 g.
- 99 % reduction in GHG emissions in scopes 1-3 from our entire energy portfolio to 2.9 g CO2e per kWh compared to 2018.
- 90 % reduction in the absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from use of sold products by 2040 compared to 2018, including the company’s natural gas portfolio.
Finally, any remaining, or residual, emissions that the company cannot abate by 2040 will be offset through certified carbon removal projects.
Read more about Ørsted’s science-aligned climate action: Green energy for the planet and its people
The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants. Moreover, Ørsted provides energy products to its customers. Ørsted is the only energy company in the world with a science-based net-zero emissions target as validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Ørsted ranks as the world’s most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights' 2022 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world and is recognised on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 6,836 people. Ørsted's shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2021, the group's revenue was DKK 77.7 billion (EUR 10.4 billion).
Senior Communications Advisor