How CEOs transform their enterprise from coal-intensive to sustainable energy

Despite the differences between industries, there is a common thread

Top Keynote How CEOs transform their enterprise from coal-intensive to sustainable energy

What often appears to be a technological or financial challenge is actually a leadership challenge

With this best practice example of the transition to a green business model,

I would like to share my view on the leadership approach required

Confront your reality in a changing landscape

The energy company was once one of the most coal-intensive energy companies in Europe

85% of the company’s electricity came from fossil fuels and 15% from renewables

The first major turning point was in September 2008, when the then CEO announced a new vision:

The vision was that this would be reversed by 2040

So they looked at their business and found that the only area where they had a competitive advantage was:

Offshore wind

Define a sustainable vision

You have to set a long-term vision for the company

This vision is then translated into a strategic corporate goal

They set themselves a handful of targets to achieve this goal

These goals were then turned into a series of actions for each individual in the organization

Engaging and aligning stakeholders globally

With the company’s purpose and vision, they knew they were doing the right thing in the market,

But they were acting on the front line to drive things forward

And their stakeholders were not on this journey with them

They thought they really needed to take every opportunity to communicate with them

Mobilize behind your vision

If you’ve found a technology, company or product that can set you apart from the competition,

Go all in and commit yourself and your capital to that opportunity

Driving forward concrete measures

They realized that they had to reduce costs,

Because it was clear to them that the support for offshore wind would not last unless they reduced costs

So they formulated a target that seemed completely crazy at the time

It was a revolution for the industry to make a statement that was supported by everyone in the industry

Lessons learned

When the journey began, 7% of profits came from renewable energies

Today it is almost 100%

What they have learned is that you have to face up to this reality

And you have to make decisions about how to exit these old businesses

You need to make sure that everyone involved has the right skills and capabilities

And then you should think about how you can scale your business and what partners it takes to do so

And you should have a vision of what contribution the company can make to a more sustainable long-term future

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