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Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne MP, joins MPs at launch

09 June 2011

EDF Energy, the UK’s largest producer of low carbon electricity, today launched its Sustainability Commitments, one of the largest such initiatives by any UK company.

The ground breaking package on the environment, customers, skills and nuclear energy is a landmark moment which includes the energy industry’s strongest commitment yet to reduce the carbon intensity of electricity generation.

At the heart of it are pledges on skills development to create a world class workforce to deliver EDF Energy’s plans for secure, affordable and low carbon energy. That includes plans for two new state of the art campuses to develop the skills of all employees, including the 10,000 new recruits the company plans to take on in the next five years.

The company also sets out major commitments to deliver low carbon nuclear power responsibly and to address the most common areas of concern people have about nuclear energy.

These landmark commitments include: 

  • To work with Government, NGOs and others to demonstrate real progress towards implementing a long term UK radioactive waste solution
  • To be open and transparent in our nuclear businesses and demonstrate we can be trusted to act to the highest professional standards in relation to nuclear security issues
  • To support the development within the UK of the skills necessary to sustain our nuclear businesses by working with schools, universities and other bodies

 

EDF Energy also further strengthened the industry-leading commitment it made in 2007 to reduce the carbon intensity of its electricity generation by 60% by 2020 from a 2006 benchmark.

EDF Energy is on track to meet this target and today announced it would go further and reduce the carbon intensity of its generation to just 250g/kWh by 2020 – a commitment which goes further than any of its competitors. EDF Energy already generates half of the UK’s low carbon electricity.

The Sustainability Commitments were launched at a Parliamentary reception attended MPs and Peers, including Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne MP.

Mr de Rivaz said: “Our industry leading Sustainability Commitments are a landmark because they address the key challenges of climate change, affordability and security of energy, and skills.

“We are setting out plans to develop two new campuses. One will be in the South West and will promote nuclear professionalism and create opportunities for existing and future engineers. We will also create a flagship campus in the South East to bring together EDF Energy employees and the communities where we work.

“On nuclear, we recognise we have a particular responsibility as the country’s largest generator of low carbon electricity through our nuclear fleet. We are making commitments to address the issues people have.

“Our customers are at the heart of our plans. We will continue to do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable customers, keeping energy prices affordable and leading the industry in protecting vulnerable customers from the adverse effects of power cuts.” 

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne MP said EDF Energy’s initiative was an example of how Government and industry must work together on the challenge of meeting low carbon commitments

The Sustainability Commitments are an ambitious build on EDF Energy’s pioneering Climate and Social Commitments, launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively, and reflect the company’s new responsibilities following integration with British Energy and the announcement of its nuclear new build plans.

The Sustainability Commitments pledge action in five main areas:

  • building a world class culture
  • helping our customers,
  • serving our communities,
  • delivering low-carbon nuclear responsibly
  • reducing carbon and waste

 

In addition to the new commitments EDF Energy has strengthened other pledges made in 2007 and 2008 and rebased others to take account of the major structural business changes.

Commitments to customers include:

  • We will reduce the proportion of CO2 arising from our customers energy consumption by 15% by 2020
  • We will commit to keeping our prices competitive and will provide enduring support for our most vulnerable supply customers
  • We will lead the industry in protecting vulnerable customers from the adverse effects of power cuts

 

The commitments have been independently reviewed and assured by Two Tomorrows, a leading sustainability consultancy. They have also been  endorsed Will Hutton of the Work Foundation and chairman of EDF Energy’s Stakeholder Advisory Panel, Tim Smit of the Eden Project, Stephen Howard of BITC and Peter Madden of Forum for the Future.

We will monitor our commitments and report annually with an independent audit of progress.

 

EDF Energy media contacts:

Phillippa Coates, Press Officer, 020 7752 2266, phillippa.coates@edfenergy.com

Kaa Holmes, Head of Media Relations, 020 7752 2179, kaa.holmes@edfenergy.com  

 

Notes to editors: EDF Energy

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, producing around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear, coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms. The company provides power to a quarter of the UK’s population via its electricity distribution networks and supplies gas and electricity to more than 5.5 million business and residential customers. It is the number one supplier of electricity to major business in the UK.

 
EDF Energy’s safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity.  EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear reactors, subject to the right investment framework. These new plants would generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain’s homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Climate and Social Commitments EDF Energy has launched the biggest environmental and social programme of any UK energy company. EDF is the official energy utilities partner and sustainability partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company is also helping its customers and others use energy more sustainably through products and initiatives such as Read, Reduce, Reward and Team Green Britain.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. Following the integration with British Energy in 2009, the company employs nearly 20,000 people at locations across the UK.

 

Independent endorsements

  • Will Hutton from The Work Foundation: “I very much welcome the revision and rebasing to reflect the new combined company following the integration with British Energy.”
  • Trewin Restorick from Global Action Plan: “EDF Energy’s Sustainability Commitment shows true leadership, details solid meaningful targets and offers flair and imagination in engaging with the wider community.”
  • Tim Smit from The Eden Project: “It is not governments that are shaping this new future. It is individuals and companies led by men and women with vision. EDF Energy is one such company.”
  • Hugh Knowles from Forum for the Future: “EDF Energy is absolutely right that ‘Climate Change is a human challenge not just a technical one’ and we commend the focus on fostering the skills necessary for a sustainable economy.”
  • Stephen Howard from Business in the Community: “EDF Energy has secured its place as a real leader in the transition to a low-carbon sustainable future.”
  • Andrew Suter from Keep Britain Tidy: “With over 5,000 schools now working on both Eco-Schools and [EDF Energy’s] The Pod, the benefits are clear for all to see.”