Quality products, reliable services and an innovative approach are important prerequisites for a successful business. However, the long-term trust and satisfaction not only of customers, but of the public in general, requires more. Responsible business conduct is essential for long-term success. SPP builds on a more than 165-year tradition of business in the energy sector and today it is the largest energy supplier in Slovakia. Our responsibility is directly proportional to our tradition and market position. Therefore, it is crucial for SPP to link business conduct based on reliable services and innovations with responsible business principles based on the ESG concept. It is the ESG that makes it possible to assess the performance of business activities comprehensively and, in addition to profit, also consider the impacts on the environment (E), social (S) and corporate governance (G).
ESG - Environment
We are aware of the urgency of the challenges posed to the energy sector by the EU and Slovakia's climate and environmental goals. We are committed to reducing greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality, which we also see as an opportunity for business development. Two years ago, we adopted the SPP’s Vision and Strategy 2030, which sets out the priority areas for the development of our business for the future. Our key areas for such business development, in line with the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.
That’s why SPP has been designated the buyer of energy produced from renewable sources since 2020. As such, we provide services to more than 2,000 small producers of electricity from renewable sources and we supply such electricity to our customers. In 2021, together with our partner, ČEZ, we established the company ESCO Slovensko, a.s., which provides both corporate and public sector customers with ESCO services through tailor-made projects aimed at increasing their energy efficiency. Last year, together with another partner, we also presented the projects of the Centers for Energy and Biological Waste Recovery. Their purpose is to use biodegradable waste in accordance with the principles of circular economy and to produce renewable gas and biocompost. Our project will enable Slovakia to increase waste recovery and reduce the amount of waste in landfills. Increasing energy efficiency and the development of renewable sources is our goal not only in terms of projects for customers, but also in terms of improving the SPP’s internal energy consumption. We want to lead by example, which is why at the beginning of 2022 we installed solar power plants on the roofs of the SPP buildings in Bratislava and Košice. During this year, we want to help develop the local production of electricity from solar energy to the first customers from the public sector - schools.
In addition to the development of new projects, the priority at SPP remains ensuring a reliable and secure energy supply for customers. Thanks to responsible business, we were able to secure additional energy supplies for customers whose suppliers terminated their business at the end of 2021. A reliable and secure energy supply for customers remains our priority even in the current unprecedented situation.
SPP perceives environmental protection comprehensively, not only as a business development responsibility, but also as an area for social responsibility activities. For two years now, we have been offering our customers the Uhlíková stopka product by SPP, thanks to which they will not only get advice on how to save energy and to behave more sustainably, but for each customer we also contribute to the planting of young trees in protected forests in Slovakia. In 2020 and 2021, we, together with our customers, helped to plant a total of more than 115,000 young trees and in 2022 we plan to plant more than 200,000 new ones. It is crucial for SPP to support planting in protected areas, where trees are guaranteed that they will not be cut down. We helped to plant the trees in NATURA 2000 areas of European importance or in protected bird areas, where species such as the mountain eagle and other protected bird species are nesting.
In addition, Ekofond SPP, following up the already existing cooperation with the TANAP Administration in 2021, will increase the number of protected fir trees in Kežmarské Žľaby from 107 trees to 300. Thanks to the protection of these up=to-26 meter-high fir trees, the forest can ensure the natural regeneration of the TANAP forests.
ESG - Society, communities and employees
For SPP, success in business means a long-term commitment to society. We perceive the social dimension of the ESG concept as a long-term relationship with people, communities, and the country. Therefore, long-term projects supporting Slovakia's cultural heritage, culture and art, sports and disadvantaged groups are important for SPP.
We have been supporting the restoration of national cultural monuments in Slovakia since 2004, while Nadácia SPP (SPP’s Foundation) has also been a long-standing partner of Kultúrna pamiatka roka - Fénix (Cultural Monument of the Year competition), which supports a responsible approach to the restoration of monuments. Since 2000, we have been providing space for artists in the SPP Gallery in Bratislava. We also help to promote diversity and inclusion by cooperation with the Slovak Paralympic Committee, which has lasted for 18 years now. Since 2021, we have also supported Cesta von (Way Out) project, which helps to bring and enable better future for children from excluded communities.
Talented, professional, and loyal employees are the key to the company's success. Their development and improvement of working conditions is part of the social dimension of the ESG concept. Through the Nadácia SPP's Employee Grant Program, we enable our employees to provide assistance where they deem it necessary. In 2022, our new partnership with Hikemates will allow us to interconnect environmental protection and responsible treatment towards nature with the volunteering activities of our employees.
ESG - Good corporate governance and transparency
The success and trust of our customers depend on the common values and ethical principles that our employees and business partners represent in day-to-day operations. These common values and principles are set out in the SPP Code of Conduct, which we adopted in 2021. The SPP Code of Conduct defines the basic principles of responsible business in the areas of human rights, decent work and interpersonal relations, sustainability and environmental protection, customer and supplier relations, as well as conflict of interest or protection of privacy and personal data.
Another prerequisite for responsible business is transparency. The availability of information on how the company carries out its business will enable the public to assess the extent to which the company's claims are in line with its actions. It is not just about the transparency of financial information, which has been verified by auditors for a long time. Equally important is the transparency of non-financial information, i.e. information on the impact of business on society and the environment. It is such transparency that helps to prove the integrity of a company's business and to build long-term and stable relationships with not only our customers, but also our employees and the communities. Therefore, in 2022, SPP will publish a sustainability report for 2021. It will comprehensively describe the impacts of SPP's business on society and the environment, as well as both SPP's challenges and goals in these areas for the future.
This article has been brought to you by SPP.