Our impact and value creation
As a network company, Alliander plays a significant role in the prosperity and wellbeing of millions of people. We work every day to secure a reliable and affordable energy supply that is accessible to everyone on equal terms.
Alliander has reported on its social impacts since 2015. We work continuously to improve the impact model and our social impacts. Our activities have many and varied social impacts on our surroundings: on the economic development of regions and stakeholders, on greenhouse gas emissions, on knowledge development and on the wellbeing of employees. We want to increase our positive impact, for instance by improving the wellbeing of customers and making the energy system more sustainable. In addition, we seek to minimise our negative impact, such as greenhouse gas emissions and waste.
Impact measurement enables us to paint a balanced and quantitative picture of the significance of our activities. Through the insight gained in this manner, we gain a more accurate idea of our social performance and the extent to which we achieve our objectives. Internally, we increase our insight for better decision-making; externally, we demonstrate the social added value of our choices. Transparency about our impact allows stakeholders to gain a better understanding of our contribution to social developments. And it enables us to make better decisions about projects and activities.
Why quantify impact?
A reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supply is of great social and economic significance. For this reason, our choices for today and the future must be made with great care. Alliander plays various roles, including that of network operator, employer and responsible corporate citizen. In all these roles, we can make a meaningful contribution to society. When assessing the social contribution of activities, our main focus is currently on inputs (costs) and outputs (direct consequences). Impact measurements are performed to quantify and monetise the resulting effects. The main impacts concern economic value, prosperity, wellbeing, the environment and employment. Impact measurements also cast light on the interrelationships between impacts and on the levers we can pull to increase our beneficial contribution to society. Finally, impact measurements also give us greater insight into our contribution to the global Sustainable Development Goals. In this way, we make a direct contribution to better reporting on the progress made on the most important challenges in the world. We concentrate on ‘affordable and clean energy’ (SDG 7), ‘decent work and economic growth’ (SDG 8), ‘sustainable cities and communities’ (SDG 11) and ‘responsible consumption and production’ (SDG 12).
To determine our social impacts, we have mapped out our value chain in the chart below. We try to quantify the social effects and our impact in a single unit wherever possible (euros). The online version of the annual report contains a connectivity matrix where the interrelationship with our value creation process can be viewed interactively.
Our steps in impact measurement
Alliander has quantified and reported on social impacts for several years now. One thing we do, for instance, is measure the significance of Alliander’s activities and projects. Examples are the smart meter roll-out and the digitisation of electricity grids. Last year, we examined our impact on the wellbeing of employees and carried out two impact analyses at project level. In 2018, we further improved the impact model and brought it more into line with our strategy. We are now better able to determine what our contribution is to the wellbeing of households in particular. The larger-scale effects of energy feed-in into our networks and the contribution of heating networks to consumer wellbeing was quantified and monetised for the first time. The outcomes have been included under the heading ‘Manufactured capital’. The effects today are still modest, but will increase in the future.
In 2018, we also further analysed and monetised the impact of circular principles on our materials costs, waste and carbon emissions. Recycling and reuse of our materials contribute towards a more efficient and cleaner economy. The calculation is included under the heading ‘Natural capital’.
More and more organisations are opting to calculate their social impact at project and organisation level. This increases their insight into their impact on society and helps them make better choices. There is a great need for more alignment of calculation methods and assumptions, both at national and international level. This would improve the reliability and sector-wide recognition of calculations. As such, it would help us to ‘manage for social value’. Dutch infrastructure companies now also extensively share knowledge on underlying principles and aims. In 2018, Alliander, together with a number of network and infrastructure companies, laid the foundation for a sector model for impact measurements in the infrastructure and energy sector. In cooperation with CSR Netherlands, a qualitative description, or narrative, was drawn up about impact measurement. In describing the most important areas of impact for the national infrastructure sector as a whole, this narrative provides a firm basis for the further development of joint infrastructure impact measurements.