Safety, environment, technology, people

    Our four Sustainability focus areas

    Sustainability in focus

    In everything we do, we strive to align our activities with the needs and requirements of our stakeholders and the world around us.  We structure our efforts within four focus areas: Safety, Environment, Technology and People.

    We defined and adopted the focus areas when we joined the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in 2010. Since then, we report on our performance under each area in the non-financial section of our Annual Report and in the annual Communication on Progress to the UNGC.

    Throughout the year, our colleagues share stories that reflect our activities within each of the focus areas. You can read some of them here.

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    Safety

    Safety in the context of sustainability covers a wide range of elements. We believe that safety includes people, products, processes and even supply chain management. We care for the people and partners we interact with and manage our risks and impacts, always striving to improve. For a company with more than 8,000 employees worldwide, a big safety element is of course to ensure the well-being of our people, and to minimize their exposure to occupational hazards or strains. That is why we operate according to the strictest safety rules and procedures, often exceeding national requirements.

    Safety also means having safe and reliable processes and supplier management to ensure a consistent high level of quality. The LM Production System based on LEAN principles helps provide safety in the workshops, keeping things in their proper place and organizing workflows to ensure quality production with the most efficient utilization of people and resources.

    1.3 Blue collar employee absence rate 2016
    27,000 Safety walks conducted 2016
    1.4 Record low LTA rate per million work hours 2016
    Wind turbine in a bright landscape with yellow flowers. Wind farm is Jiujiang Changling located in Jiangxi Province south of China.

    Environment

    Our blades produce clean electricity every day on thousands of wind turbines all over the world. As such they are already contributing greatly to a more sustainable planet. However, manufacturing, assembling and transporting the blades requires resources and energy and produces waste. We want to reduce our environmental impact in all aspects of our blades' lifecycle and continuously introduce efficiencies and innovative solutions in our manufacturing processes.

    We work internally and with our suppliers on optimizing our material consumption to cut waste and cost. All facilities continuously implement solutions to reduce their environmental footprint. We do travel as part of meeting our customers and partners, but we aim to keep travel at a minimum to keep the environmental impact and cost down.

    Another important aspect of our environmental pillar is blade end of life. A wind turbine blade creates clean energy for more than 20 years. At the end of life of our blades, they can either be disposed of through combustion, turning the blade into fuel for power generation, or send them to landfill. However, we are exploring various initiatives to develop more environmentally-friendly disposal methods.

    5.5 Million euros waste reduction savings 2016
    28% Of total waste went to recycling 2016
    6.5 Carbon footprint per kg blade produced 2016

    Technology

    Our product is our biggest sustainability asset. Every day, we create longer and lighter blades that extract more energy from the wind and reduce the cost of energy. We develop add-ons, new materials and innovative solutions that increase blade reliability and performance, while reducing the environmental impact of our processes and activities. In every aspect of the blade life cycle, we carefully consider how we can protect them better and find new ways to enhance their performance. Our blades embody more than 35 years of knowledge and continuous research and development, and we are determined to remain the leader in this field for many years to come through further scrutiny of our technology platform and innovation.

    10 New blade prototypes, a record for a single year 2016
    10,477 Blades produced in one year 2016
    21% Increase in R&D investments 2016

    People

    We employ 44 different nationalities in our plants and offices around the world. We see this diversity as a great strength and an important aspect of our corporate culture which spans locations on four continents. People are at the heart of everything we do, from the employees in our plants to the families and citizens of the local communities in which we operate.

    We want to be employer of choice and believe in promoting a culture of communication and value based leadership. Empowering our people is the best investment we can make. Their ingenuity and passion is what sets us apart from other great companies and we provide extensive training, development, and feedback to ensure the employees are equipped to contribute to the company’s goals. We also contribute to the communities we operate in. For instance, we support and uphold internationally proclaimed human rights, do not tolerate bribery or corruption and tackle child or forced labor in our direct operations as well as at the partners we interact with.

    8,178 Employees worldwide 2016
    70,000 Centers of Excellence training days delivered  2016
    44 Different nationalities employed 2016
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