I am pleased to present our Sustainability Report 2020, in which we have sought to reflect and summarize the main data and events of this financial year.
2020 was clearly marked by the unprecedented health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, where millions of people and their families have experienced drastic consequences, and global economic activity has dramatically slowed down in almost all sectors, altering all forecasts.
Firstly, I want to express my support for all those affected by the pandemic, with a special mention to our dear departed colleague from GRI Towers South Africa and to his loved ones in such difficult times.
Within this context, and for the seventh year running, we present the GRI Renewable Industries Sustainability Report for the 2020 financial year. We have also renewed and maintained our commitment to the Global Compact for another year, promoting compliance with the 10 Universal Principles and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
GRI Renewable Industries has been challenged by this crisis and has responded with all its resources as well as with the collaboration of its workforce. Despite the interruptions in production at most of the plants, our teams managed to continue working in order to ensure the supply of towers under stringent safety conditions to minimize the impact of this pandemic on employment, business development and the future of the company.
Although the effects of the pandemic have also been felt in the economy, affecting most sectors around the world, the global commitment to renewable energies, together with the measures taken to minimize this impact, allowed us to close the year in a satisfactory manner in most countries.
The 2020 financial year was characterized by reasonable growth in general, particularly in China. We closed the year with a turnover of 759 million euros, 16% more than in the previous year, and allocated 28 million euros to investments, including the projects for the new 8-meter diameter offshore flange line in China (5 million euros) and the expansion in Brazil to increase production capacity (6.7 million euros).
In line with current trends and challenges, this Report describes our corporate culture and how the company embraces sustainability under an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach in all business areas. This enables us to structure the business impact, initiatives and opportunities aligned with this approach.
As for the Environment, GRI Renewable Industries’ commitment to climate change is reflected in the “ 2030/2050 Carbon Neutral Plan” which includes a new roadmap in line with the demands of our stakeholders.
By means of this Plan, we are committed to having 100% of our electricity from renewable sources and reducing fossil fuel emissions by 50% by 2030.
In addition, our company continues to work on the implementation of renewable energies in factories, the purchase of energy from renewable sources (PPAs), energy efficiency and new technologies. We also continue to make progress in the “One tower, one tree project”.
Our contribution to the “Circular Economy” by using steel, our most relevant raw material, as it is 100% recyclable, also plays an important role.
With regard to Social matters, in view of the complex situation resulting from the pandemic, it is worth highlighting the precautionary and safety measures implemented to preserve the health of all employees and their families, according to the changing needs of each region, in order to continue operating and meet the needs of our customers while maintaining employment at a stable level.
To this end, action protocols were designed whereby, among other measures, we carried out immunological tests and temperature measurements, increased cleaning and disinfection, sectorized the work centers, restricted the use of common areas, made check-in and check-out times more flexible, reduced business trips and provided protective materials, including the mandatory use of face masks.
All of this has allowed us to continue promoting quality employment with a future. The company has not only maintained its workforce, but also increased it by 6% compared to the previous year.
Lockdown measures had a direct impact on the way we communicate, which has meant that the “Digital WorkPlace” digital transformation project has accelerated its implementation among our staff. This has helped us to manage activity and communication in an agile and secure way across the different areas and countries.
In the area of Governance, we made further progress in approving compliance policies and procedures, incorporating new training proposals for all Group employees and improving communication and management of the Ethics Channel, which is showing increasing participation, to ensure that any person working in the Group can report any issues or concerns anonymously.
In order to strengthen the “Carbon Neutral” commitment, we improved the monitoring and measurement mechanisms through a “Governance Model”, formed by a carbon neutral committee and an operational team.
The company also signed its first sustainable financing under the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles (SLLP) framework of the 2020-2024 Loan Market Association.
Finally, I would like to send my gratitude and a message of encouragement and hope to all employees and partners for their efforts and commitment in these uncertain times, especially to those who are struggling to deal with the disease and its consequences.
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