Our top priority was and still is the protection of the health and the safety of all employees, associates, customers and suppliers of the Group, while simultaneously supporting local communities and vulnerable groups.
In the first months of 2020 we faced an extremely difficult period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This affected a large percentage of the population around the world and as a result it had a considerable social and economic impact internationally.
During this difficult period we focused on protecting the health and safety of our employees, while ensuring the smooth operation of all facilities as well as the seamless supply of fuel to the market.
The HELLENIC PETROLEUM Group immediately undertook important initiatives to support the Greek society and the National Health System by securing medical equipment for rapid and reliable molecular diagnosis of the virus, medical supplies and personal protective equipment for health facilities and institutions throughout Greece, as well as significant quantities of fuel to help the state deal with emergencies. The Group has a major contribution to the effective mitigation of this unprecedented health crisis by implementing a donation program of 8 million euros. The company’s executives played a key role in this initiative, in collaboration with the respective state agencies, by assisting with finding solutions and supplies of the appropriate equipment from all over the world.
As far as the Group’s activities are concerned, the effects of this unpredictable crisis are significant, even though they cannot be accurately assessed. The priority for the international community continues to be the fight to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which impacts on economic activity and consumption. Through a series of activities, such as careful planning of the supply of crude, the exploitation of the high complexity of the Group’s modern refineries and the utilization of storage facilities, we managed to act on this unfavourable conjuncture and minimize the long-term effects to our established strategy.
Our main goal is the development of activities in a way that will improve the environmental footprint of the Group by 50% by 2030.
In 2019, the demands for an immediate response to climate change became much more intense and pressing in the international environment. Consumers, businesses, international organizations, state institutions and the society as a whole saw the urgent need to accelerate the global effort to limit the factors that minimize the environmental impact.
HELPE participates in this effort by planning the energy transition to cleaner forms of energy, by investing in Renewable Energy Sources, by adopting technologies to optimize products, such as the new low-sulfur marine fuels, and by exploring opportunities offered by new fuel technologies.
We believe that we should all contribute to the effort to mitigate the effects of climate change and proceed with the required changes at a faster pace.
In this report you will be informed about our steps and our efforts to meet these societal needs.
Our approach regarding the sustainable development has a significant contribution in promoting the society’s trust and value creation.
The Group’s strategy for Sustainable Development focuses on three main pillars:
1. Responsible Entrepreneurship for the benefit of the society, the economy and the environment
Our main priority is to act responsibly and create value for the society with positive effects on the economy and the environment. In recent years we have made significant efforts to improve all processes that contribute to our safe operation, adopting more effective standards and strict adherence to processes while strengthening our corporate culture on safety matters. Safety is built through the interaction and behavior of employees in the workplace, as well as through the systems and methods applied.
We are constantly investing in prevention, infrastructure and training of our staff and associates in the field of Health & Safety to ensure compliance with the strictest criteria at the national and European levels. Indicatively, in 2019, approximately 18 million euros were invested in safety improvements for all the Group’s facilities. Also, the Holistic Safety program was completed and, based on this, new safety procedures were drafted and important safety procedures for the refineries and facilities were reviewed. This effort resulted in an 80% reduction in the Process Safety Event Rate (PSER) index compared to the previous year.
The challenges for the Group in the field of Energy and Climate Change are very important and this is why the Group seeks to fulfil short-term and long-term goals to improve its energy performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Already, in the last six years a reduction of up to 50% in basic gas emissions has been achieved, in accordance with the UN sustainable development goals for Cleaner Energy.
Regarding waste management, our primary goal is to reduce waste production at source, maximize recycling, and reuse waste in the production process, seeking to limit the rate of waste that is disposed to a maximum of 15% by 2030, thereby reducing significantly the waste associated with our operation.
Responsibility also means operating within the framework of business ethics; throughout the supply chain, we should all operate with absolute integrity and transparency in following procedures and in decision-making, in the context of a modern code of conduct and corporate governance. The latter was revised in 2019 to ensure our full compliance with contemporary standards.
2. Energy Transition and Digital Transformation
The implementation of strategic planning, which includes digital and energy transformation, is of critical importance for the Group. At the heart of these changes lies the upgrading of energy and fuel production infrastructure, with the aim of increasing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. The strategy also involves investments in the fields of Renewable Energy Sources and biofuels, the gradual replacement of crude oil with low-footprint raw materials as well as R&D activities for low-carbon technologies and applications.
Specifically in the field of Renewable Energy Sources, the Group plans to have completed projects of total installed capacity of 300MW in PV, wind and biomass by 2021 and an additional 300MW by 2025. It is estimated that the total avoidance of CO2 emissions from RES in 2019 exceeded 150,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the removal of more than 100,000 cars from the Greek roads annually.
The adoption of our new productive model presupposes the use of digital technologies, the utilization of advanced data analysis, machine learning, process automation, the acquisition of new skills and knowledge for human resources and the application of modern operating methods, in order to be able, in the coming years, to create the contemporary digital refinery and a modernized retail system that will ensure greater flexibility, faster decision making, quality of services offered, and new improved products tailored to consumer’s needs.
However, the goal of protecting the environment is common and concerns the global community as a whole, rather than an individual corporation. Each of us must take personal responsibility and fulfill our role on the planet in order to help reduce the effects of climate change.
3. Contribution to Social Well-being
The third pillar of our contribution to sustainable development, which we consider as particularly crucial, is our steady and long-term contribution to society.
Meeting the basic needs of society, which has been facing many difficulties in recent years, constitutes a priority for our Group. We achieve this by securing jobs, by creating added value for the Greek economy – estimated at 2 billion euros – and by supporting the local communities in which we operate.
In recent years, the young generation has been at the center of our programs and we have been investing in it by providing scholarships and numerous employment opportunities enabling young people to gain valuable experience, develop their talents and skills, and excel in the professional field they will choose.
In 2019, we continued to support socially vulnerable groups by offering essentials and heating oil, while also implementing large infrastructure projects in areas affected by natural disasters such as the total recovery and upgrading of the Rafina Special Schools, which were completely destroyed by forest fire in 2018.
The present report makes extensive reference to our performance in sustainable development matters, which emerged as material for the Group after consultation with stakeholders.
As active members of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), we support and contribute to the dissemination of its principles of transparency, integrity, decent corporate governance, respect for human rights, environmental protection, the adoption of anti-corruption rules and the application of best practices. In addition, we have linked our strategic choices with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Group tries to achieve constant improvement in these areas, as we believe there is room to get better. Through the joint effort of all our employees and the support of all our social partners, whom we thank for the trust they have been providing us with for so many years, this improvement shall be implemented successfully.
Chief Executive Officer