Vattenfall maps its impact on biodiversity across the entire value chain
Vattenfall is a pioneer in measuring the global impact on biodiversity. Now, a comprehensive analysis has been carried out on the impact of the company’s economic activities on biodiversity throughout the value chain.
The Global Biodiversity Score (GBS) is a tool that allows companies and financial institutions to get an overview of the impact of different activities and supply chains on animal and plant species and their natural habitats. . Based on this, companies can set targets consistent with the best available science regarding planetary boundaries.
“Biological diversity is a very complex area. Knowing where in the value chain we have a substantial impact and where we can most effectively implement measures to reduce our footprint is therefore crucial for us in order to prioritize our work and be able to set measurable targets,” says Josefin Blanck, Environmental Strategic Projects Manager at Vattenfall.
Biodiversity plays a dual role
Biodiversity plays a dual role in climate change: on the one hand, we will not be able to slow biodiversity loss if climate emissions are not reduced, on the other hand, rich biological diversity and functioning ecosystems are essential to mitigate climate change. impact of climate change.
A company’s impact on biodiversity, i.e. ecosystems, species and ecosystem services, can be seen from both a static and dynamic perspective:
The static impact comes, for example, from historically exploited land which has had, and still has, an impact on biodiversity. These may be hydroelectric power plants built 50 to 100 years ago or the electricity distribution network that has expanded over time.
Dynamic impact can be related to new projects, activities and use of resources that take place over a period of time, often measured on an annual basis. Failing to manage dynamic impact will increase the total footprint of the business as it relies on static impact.
Many types of projects
The Global Biodiversity Score analysis is based on these two perspectives, and together they constitute the total footprint of a company.
“Vattenfall is working in parallel to reduce the impact of dynamic and static footprint,” explains Josefin Blanck. “We have many different types of biodiversity projects that address different parts of our footprint. We have various projects aimed at preserving, regenerating and increasing biodiversity around our facilities, but we also focus on long-term research projects aimed at permanently minimizing the dynamic impact of new projects.”
Power line corridors mapped
“One example is our work within the regional distribution grid, where we mapped 8,600 km of overhead power line corridors to find what we call ‘biodiversity hotspots’, i.e. areas with very high natural values Based on the results, we have drawn up special management plans for areas with very high natural values and have set ourselves the goal of implementing measures to enhance biodiversity in at least 70% of these areas by 2025,” says Josefin Blanck.
Looking at the dynamic impact makes it easier to see changes from year to year. About 95% of the impact in this category is related to greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn directly influence the climate and, in the long term, ecosystem changes, and more than half of the impact is located upstream or downstream of the value chain. Vattenfall has clear climate targets verified by SBTi (see box) for this area and is actively working on different forms of partnership and electrification of society. Part of the dynamic footprint also comes from increased land use and this part varies from year to year due to different investment rates. All energy production has some form of impact on nature, which is why it is also a priority area for Vattenfall to ensure that the energy transition takes place in balance with nature.
Although Vattenfall may be at the forefront of biodiversity efforts compared to other sectors, biodiversity efforts must be accelerated to achieve the global goal of halting biodiversity loss by 2030.
“Understanding how we can measure biodiversity is one of the big key issues and we need a better toolkit to measure positive and negative impacts.”
With its dual perspective, the Global Biodiversity Score assessment is an important indicator of where the company is heading and what needs to be done to reduce our impact.
“We don’t have all the answers yet, but work is progressing,” says Josefin Blanck. “We are at the beginning of the journey and we have done this analysis to really understand where we are and how we can most effectively integrate a net positive approach into all of our operations.”
Find out more about Vattenfall’s work on environmental responsibility and biodiversity
Science-based targets are climate targets that companies set based on the best available science. They must be consistent with what is necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. In the case of Vattenfall, this means, for example, that the objective is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Science Based Target for Nature enables businesses and cities to set climate and nature targets.