ABB optimises the energy system while investing in sustainability
If all major corporations invested in sustainability like ABB do, we would already be living in a better world. Responsibility is embedded in the company’s backbone. Although sustainability is indeed the hot buzzword of the moment, it has been a part of ABB’s strategy since the early 1990s. What does it mean for ABB in the 2020s?
“We take a holistic approach to it, in practice following the UN’s sustainability goals. At ABB, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability also covers social responsibility, human rights and good governance. Over time, our business has evolved, but these values have always existed at our core”, say Local Division Managers Antti Hakala-Ranta and Eero Koski.
ABB is a leading technology company with operations in more than 100 countries. All ABB Finland’s units are working to electrify the world and save energy. They are making society and various industries more productive and sustainable through electrification, process automation, motion and robotics, and discrete automation services. ABB is involved, for example, in the integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity system and in the electrification of transport.
When the energy system is optimised efficiently and smartly, the resulting overall carbon footprint is the smallest possible
“The electrification of the energy system is linked to the criticality of the electricity distribution and transmission network worldwide. Guaranteeing the resilience of that system is a key expertise of ABB Finland”, Hakala-Ranta explains.
According to Hakala-Ranta and Koski, electricity will become an increasingly integral part of the energy system in the future. Due to its flexibility, it is the energy of the future. The challenge with electricity is storing it, but ABB has a solution for this.
“The challenges of traditional electricity storage can be solved by optimising the whole system. Smart automation saves resources and minimises the need for electricity storage. In short, when the energy system is optimised efficiently and smartly, the resulting overall carbon footprint is the smallest possible. While there is a call for batteries too, in many cases optimisation can even serve as a solution that replaces them”, says Eero Koski.
ABB contributes to the building of a low-carbon society by managing the entire supply chain. It seeks carbon neutrality not only in its own operations, but also by reducing the carbon footprint of its customers and by demanding concrete green actions from its suppliers. ABB defines concrete megaton values for the carbon emissions it saves.
“We are committed to being very transparent about the carbon footprint of all our services and products. This applies not only to what happens at the factory, but also to how the product or system uses natural resources and, ultimately, how it is recycled. We openly share the life-cycle impact of our products and how it can be reduced”, Koski explains.
When a company operates and sells its products in many different cultures around the world, good governance is the be-all and end-all of responsibility. According to Hakala-Ranta, ABB acts with integrity and transparency as the core of their governance.
“We always comply with the law and local regulations. It is always our number one rule, always. Others may make shady tax arrangements to achieve higher profits, but we never hide our income. We always report our tax footprint to the Finnish public and we are proud of being a good corporate citizen”, he says.
Good governance is also closely related to the people involved, such as ABB’s own employees, customers, suppliers and partners. When a powerful corporation invests in people’s well-being and treats all parties fairly, this benefits society as a whole.
“We promote social progress for our people and communities around the world. For us, human diversity and equality are self-evident basic human rights.”