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Getting ready for a zero-carbon future

On the road to net zero carbon emissions


Prysmian Group is spending €450 million from 2020 to 2022 on investments that impact sustainability, the energy transition and digitalization, in a push to reach net-zero carbon emissions by reducing both its own greenhouse gases and those of its value chain, the company said at its Sustainability Day event.

These investments account for 50% of Prysmian’s total, and are earmarked for products and services that can help customers to accelerate their energy transition and the digitalization of the planet. Prysmian will have further improved the sustainability of its organization and supply chain by 2022, when it aims to reach its targets for climate change, diversity and safety. It will achieve this by creating new advanced cable technologies as well as assets and services. Energy consumption reduction, circularity and waste recyclability, health & safety culture are key in Prysmian’s efforts to improve sustainability of its supply chain.

Prysmian outlined its new net-zero project during Sustainability Day on November 25, saying it will set science-based carbon reduction targets encompassing both Scope 1&2 (emissions from its own organization) and Scope 3 (emissions from the value chain), undertaken with the support of Carbon Trust. Carbon targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement — to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Most nations have set targets for 2030.

 

“Sustainability is part of our DNA,” said Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista at the online event. “We are a public company and we need to be sustainable towards all our stakeholders. I like the idea of running a company that is going be able to help the world to move to a more sustainable future.”

CEO Battista kicked off the event with an overview of what sustainability means for Prysmian Group. For example, the Group is supporting the energy transition with projects like the German corridors in Europe, and has developed an innovative submarine cable solution that can reach depths of 3,000 meters. Then event moderator Andrea Cabrini of Class-CNBC turned the floor over to Chief Operating Officer Andrea Pirondini, who went into more detail about Prysmian’s €450 million sustainability investments and its project with Carbon Trust.

“When you talk about greenhouse gas emissions at a company like Prysmian, the C02 emissions we produce is about one tenth of the total the supply chain,” said Pirondini. “Therefore, to work with the concept of extended supply chain is fundamental.”

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Andrea Pirondini

Chief Operating Officer

The latest evidence of this commitment is Prysmian’s partnership with Carbon Trust for the development and implementation of CO2 management and reduction projects. Carbon Trust was founded in the UK in 2001 to help companies in their move to a low-carbon economy by providing a framework to measure, manage and reduce emissions. Associate Director Aleyn Smith-Gillespie talked about three domains Prysmian is looking at in its journey: its own operations, the value chain, and the wider impact of the services and products it produces.

Prysmian has already set a target of having 50% of its revenue come from low-carbon enabling products in 2022, as well as to cut its green house gases by 2%-3%. Now it will extend its carbon reduction efforts to the entire supply chain.

Sustainability commitments start at the top of a company. According to a study from Deloitte called “Climate Check: Business’ Views on Sustainability,” the board is responsible for setting sustainability goals and driving accountability to meet them at 40% of companies, and the CEO at 43%.

Monica de Virgiliis, Chairwoman of the Group’s Sustainability Committee created within the Board of Directors in 2020, highlighted the board’s full commitment to sustainability.

Human Resources Chief Fabrizio Rutschmann filled in listeners about what it means to be a “People Company” and what Prysmian is doing in terms of its talent pipeline and Diversity & Inclusion targets.

“We are a ‘People Company’ because we are focused on results, and we recognize that results come when people are on board. People make the difference. If you have the right people to lead the business, you will have the right level of engagement inside the company,” Fabrizio said.

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Fabrizio Rutschmann

Chief HR officer

Prysmian launched its Side by Side diversity program in 2016, when only 6% of the group’s 400 executives were female. Today that figure has risen to 12% and “we are on the right journey” to reach a target of 18% in 2022, he said.

The event continued with a Diversity & Inclusion roundtable featuring three Prysmian executives:  Cinzia Farisé, CEO of Prysmian Turkey; Vanessa Alvarez, Energy & Project Vice President for Latin America; and Salli Hara, CEO of Prysmian Sweden. They discussed how they had faced challenges, overcome obstacles, and seized opportunities in their careers. They all highlighted the progress made by Prysmian in integrating women into a male-dominated business and were optimistic that the steps it is taking is leading it in the right direction.

Srinivas Siripurapu, Chief R&D Officer of the Group wrapped up the event with his presentation on the criteria that guide the group’s innovation strategy, and an overview of what the group is doing in terms of sustainable products. Prysmian Group invests over €100 million annually in Research & Development, and more than 75% of the group’s innovation spending is focused on conceiving and commercializing low carbon products.

“We at Prysmian Group strongly believe that sustainability and innovation are linked together,” said Siripurapu. “At the heart of our innovation strategy is our business strategy: to be our customers preferred cables solution provider. That means being more sustainable.”

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Srini Siripurapu

Chief R&D Officer

Prysmian’s most recent technological innovations in energy cables include the P-Laser cable systems ensuring greater transmission capacity, high performance and environmental sustainability (100% recyclable material and up to 40% reduction in CO2 emissions); cables for installation in HVDC links in long lengths; synthetic armored cables for record-depth submarine installation; and grid monitoring and management technology. Prysmian is also committed to innovation in fibre and optical cables, recently launching the BendBrightxs 180µm fibre, the world’s thinnest bend-insensitive optical fibre. It has succeeded in developing cables with an ever-greater fibre count and density and an ever-smaller cable diameter: the 6,912 fibre FlexRibbon, the optical cable with the highest fibre count in the industry, and the Sirocco HD and Sirocco Extreme micro duct cables.

It seems fitting that Sustainability Day gave the last word to a panel of next-gen young talents who hold the future in their hands: Martina Ambrozova, Plant Manager in Slovakia; Andrea Banfi, Supply Chain Manager at Prysmian’s Milan headquarters, and Leegan Boudreau, R&D engineer, Bishopstoke. They each shared their vision for how innovation can contribute to a more sustainable business.

The event’s takeaway? Prysmian Group’s board and top management are all rowing together in the same direction to make the company and its products more sustainable and help customers achieve the energy and digital transition.

“The final message is very simple. I invite you all as well as my colleagues and my organization, to work in order to guarantee a better future for the people who will come after us,” said Battista. “That is our job.”

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Valerio Battista

Chief Executive Officer and General Manager