The purpose corporate in the energy sector

On Wednesday, February 29, an event on "Corporate purpose in the energy sector" was held at the headquarters of the University of Navarra in Madrid.

The workshop began with an institutional welcome from the Dean of the School of Economics, Antonio Moreno, followed by a presentation by Alberto Andreu, director executive of Master's Degree of Sustainability, at discussion paper on the present and future of sustainability. He outlined the international regulatory system, pointed out its implications for companies and explained the main reasons -ethical, economic or scientific- why organizations are embracing sustainability and, consequently, adapting to the rules and regulations.

Andreu's discussion paper was complemented by the academic director of Master's Degree in Personnel Management Service in Organizations, Álvaro Lleó, who focused on corporate purpose as a lever to enhance business sustainability. Lleó began by warning that corporate purpose is more than just a fad in the world of management: its capacity to strengthen ties makes it a solid and stable part of organizations core topic.

He then presented the two main challenges surrounding corporate purpose : one more theoretical - what is it? and the other more internship - how to live it? Regarding the first, he announced the complexity of the term and proposed three dimensions that allow it to be conceptualized: identity, meaning and mission statement. Regarding its experience in organizations, he presented the main areas for improvement extracted from the I Ibero-American Barometer on the Implementation of Corporate purpose : the participative formulation of purpose, the creation of indicators and compensation systems that include purpose and the communication to stakeholders of the results and the way to develop purpose.

The workshop continued with a roundtable on the experiences of energy companies that are working on purpose. Moderated by Andreu, it was attended by Nieves Cifuentes (manager corporate Environment, at Naturgy), Enrique Fernández Puertas (Director Talent, Culture and Transformation, at Repsol), Olalla del Río (Director of Sustainability and Energy Transition, at Cepsa) and José Miguel Tudela (Director Sustainability and Climate Action, at Enagás).

The roundtable was organized around the following topics: the anti-EHS or anti-sustainability wave of recent years; the impact of sustainability on the company's business model and purpose ; the involvement of the workforce and department of Human Resources in the transformation process; and, finally, the incorporation of sustainability in the ordinary process of management.

The speakers shared the view that in the EU there is a certain regulatory barrier that slows down the anti ESG wave, emphasized the importance of the deadlines in the incorporation of the regulation by companies and the absence of discussion ESG yes/no in the boards of directors: "there is no company process that is not sprinkled by the commitment to zero net emissions that Repsol acquired in 2019, the first company in its sector to proclaim it. It is lived with total commitment and as a matter of course," said Enrique Fernández.

Regarding the transformation of the business model , the directors warned of the radical change they were experiencing in their companies and of the need to transform themselves based on organizational strengths. In this sense, Olalla del Río pointed out: "in our case, the business model has changed. We have many strengths on which we can leverage to make this change in the business model . Our focus is to decarbonize ourselves and help our customers. Continue doing what we were doing on a much larger scale and start with new ones".

At the same time, the four companies have undergone a process of reformulation of their corporate purpose in which they have involved their workforces and worked hand in hand with Human Resources. In the case of Enagás, José Miguel Tudela explained the advantage, as department of sustainability, of having been part of the Human Resources area : "we have the philosophies of one and the other very integrated. We speak the same language".

The roundtable concluded with the question of incorporating sustainability into the regular process of management. The speakers affirmed the linking of objectives to variable compensation and incentives for executives. At Naturgy, Nieves Cifuentes explained that the company linked 20% of the variable to compliance with ESG objectives, divided into four indicators: prevention, environment, diversity and commitment.

Finally, Miguel Gil Tertre, director general for energy of the EU, ended the workshop with an online discussion paper in which he explained the direction of the EU energy policy and the impact of the energy crisis: "we have gone from Russia giving us 40% of energy to 10%. But we are adjusting. He also highlighted the impact on competitiveness of having higher energy prices than our trading partners due to the crisis and concluded definitively: "if we want to maintain our standard of living, that has a cost".

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