“After spending one week as RWE’s new CEO, will May be the season of change? Not at all. The course that we set when we fundamentally restructured RWE was the right one. RWE is currently in a good position in strategic, economic and financial terms. We are a driver of the energy transition and are investing more than 90 percent of our capital in renewables and storage technology. In 2020, we spent €1.9 billion on offshore and onshore wind energy and solar plants alone. We are also examining the entire value chain for green hydrogen. Our company encompasses everything that makes up the energy transition. We are systematically and responsibly phasing out nuclear energy and coal and intensively expanding renewables. We will get to net zero carbon emissions by 2040. There is no reason to turn back now. RWE’s transformation is under way. Together with my colleagues, I want to ensure that our company grows even stronger.
Four points are particularly important:
- Anchoring sustainability with more clarity and breadth in the company
- Being a market leader in our core markets
- Being a partner for the decarbonisation of other sectors
- Positioning RWE as one of the most attractive employers
1. Sustainability – a top priority for me
Many states recently announced their intention to step up their climate targets at the climate summit of U.S. President Biden. Following the ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, the debate has picked up pace once again in Germany. It is encouraging that the shift towards a sustainable society is perceived as driving growth in economic development and prosperity. Sustainability can and should stimulate industry and the economy. It has long been an indicator of social acceptance and the commitment of investors.
At RWE, sustainability is a key component of the company strategy. Now we want to raise the bar even higher and integrate the issue into all decision-making processes. This will enable us to extend our goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040 to all company operations. This is referred to as Scope 1-3 among experts. Put simply, we previously focused on CO2 emissions from electricity generation. Now we are examining all areas.
This will have a tangible impact on the working day at RWE. Every individual should ask themselves the following questions: What can I do to improve sustainability? Is a business trip really necessary? Are we mindful enough of this issue in purchasing, in building management or in selecting our business partners? “Our energy for a sustainable life” is a high standard we consciously set for ourselves. The company must live up to it – and we are all the company.
2. RWE – market leader in its core markets
We have traditionally been a market leader in our core markets. However, both our business and the company itself are currently undergoing a fundamental transformation, which involves responsibly phasing out old technologies and resolutely developing new ones. But no one yet knows exactly what the energy world of the future will look like. Although the prospects for renewables and short-term storage are clearly recognisable, there is still much that needs to be clarified with regard to matters such as zero-carbon security of supply, the structuring of the hydrogen economy and decarbonisation of industry, especially in the regulatory environment.
At RWE, we have a key advantage in our setup. We master all aspects of the described value chain. And our goal of market leadership is based on this. One example is offshore wind where we aim to strengthen our position as a global leader. Technologies are global but energy markets are national. This is why the goal of market leadership also extends to regional markets, across the different businesses of renewables, flexible backup capacity, storage, hydrogen economy and customer solutions. Besides Germany, we are focusing on markets in the European Union, Great Britain and the USA.
3. RWE – partner for the decarbonisation of industry
RWE has changed radically and very rapidly. We have shown how transformation can be successfully achieved. We want to share this experience with others even more intensively in the future, as a partner to industry. We must succeed in achieving zero-carbon production and maintaining the competitiveness of the location of industry. We will contribute our expertise to this endeavour. Green electricity, storage technologies and hydrogen are appropriate means to drastically reduce carbon emissions. In 2020, German industry alone emitted around 180 million tonnes. Decarbonisation partnerships are needed to reduce emissions quickly and as efficiently as possible. I firmly believe that the mammoth task of an energy transition to preserve Europe’s industrial base can only be achieved with close cross-sector cooperation.
4. Attractive employer – top talents
RWE has a lot to offer its employees. We give them the opportunity to help shape the energy transition and make a real difference, as part of (often) international teams with flat hierarchies who push forward worthwhile and valuable projects independently. This requires the best and brightest minds. We want to attract them like a magnet. Last year we were very successful in this respect. 1,000 new employees joined us and now strengthen our #TeamRWE, which is made up of more than 60 nationalities and operates in more than 20 countries. They all need to find a future in the company so that they can contribute to the best of their abilities. Besides talent recruitment, talent development is really important to me.
These four drivers will make RWE even stronger. I spoke to journalists about this last week. At the start of my first interview as CEO, one of them jokingly asked me if I wanted to put my feet up since things were going so well at RWE. I then explained our vision to him and it quickly became clear that the opposite was true. We’ve got our hands full. And we’re looking forward to things really picking up now”.
CEOforLIFE – We promote life. We support the SDGs.