“Currently, all investments are being made in the light of our carbon budgets”

By ENGIE - 17 May 2023 - 09:00

Five questions for Julia MARIS, Group Corporate Social Responsibility VP



To explain our strategic vision, Catherine MacGregor, CEO, spoke about the “electron-molecule alliance.” How does this alliance support the Group’s Net Zero Carbon trajectory? 

Julia Maris: We consider that gas is a key component of the energy mix. We therefore want to combine electrons, which are difficult to store both in terms of quantity and long-term, with gas molecules, as a way of compensating for the intermittent production of renewables. Indeed, large quantities of this molecule can be stored underground; it can be delivered throughout the territory using existing infrastructures. To contribute to the flexibility of our energy mix whilst decarbonizing, our challenge is therefore to substitute fossil gas progressively with green gases, essentially biomethane and hydrogen. 

How will the climate strategy be achieved?

J.M.: A specific in-house organisation has been implemented to support this strategy and demonstrate that our economic performance and commitment can be combined. Starting from the Group’s operational and financial activities, we translated them into CO2 emissions by activity, with projections until 2030.
Now, every business lign knows its maximal CO2 annual budget until 2030 and can cascade this information according to different activities, sites, or regions.  
It is a powerful implementation tool for our climate strategy, because all our investment decisions are now assessed with these CO2 budgets in mind. Naturally, not all of the business ligns share the same CO2 budget. This depends on the emissions of the activities and transformation models in question. What I can say is that in 2022 everyone met their quota! This year, we will be launching a quarterly review of these CO2 budgets to monitor their evolution, optimise control of their evolution, and improve the reliability of our projections.


Looking beyond the climate alone, our roadmap accounts for all sustainable development aspects. Can you tell us how?

J.M.: First, this subject is addressed at the highest level of our Governance, since our Board of Directors has a specialised Ethics, Environment, and Sustainable Development Committee, which plays a key role in approving the Group’s projects on these topics. 
The operational scale is also decisive. We will be supporting project teams upstream so that CSR issues can be anticipated as soon as possible using a check list to identify potential blocking points.
Furthermore, before reaching the investment decision stage, any project that involves more than €30 M must undergo a detailed analysis as part of a CSR Matrix that covers nine criteria: environmental effects, resilience to climate change, environmental aspects, water, biodiversity, circular economy, air pollution, social rights of workers, stakeholder commitments, and responsible purchasing.


Will human support be part of the forthcoming transformation?

J.M.: The energy transition will only be possible if it is acceptable to people. Based on this belief, we have established four pillars to make sure that it is a fair transition: impacted employees, customers, and communities, and our suppliers. 
We are therefore mobilised in supporting employees whose jobs are changing due to the energy transition. We are taking action  to make sure that energy remainsaffordable for our customers, and we are helping suppliers, even the smaller ones, to carry out their own transition. 
Finally, in France, we are working towards making the transition acceptable in all our territories via the TED label, since decarbonization is deeply transforming our uses and the physiognomy of our society. This branded approach will then be extended in the Group's other countries.