BSR worked with Hafslund, a Norwegian hydropower-focused renewable energy company, to 1) help provide a better understanding of the current nature landscape, including key regulations, initiatives, frameworks, and standards, and 2) define the company’s stated goal of, and pathway to, contributing to a nature-positive future. BSR conducted a nature landscape assessment of external global standards and initiatives, as well as those specific to the Nordics, around nature and renewable industries, benchmarking Hafslund against its peers and market leaders. Subsequently, BSR developed a high-level action plan to guide implementation and action on nature.
Hafslund is a Norwegian renewable energy company that owns and operates hydropower plants throughout Norway. The group supports half of Norwegian households’ electricity needs and is one of the largest producers of renewable energy and district heating in the Nordic region, promoting responsibility toward nature within and beyond its operations.
Hafslund's work in supporting positive contributions to nature relies on protecting the environment and the biodiversity around its old and new facilities, reducing its encroachments on nature and efficiently using its materials and resources by promoting circular economy principles.
Striving to be a sustainability leader, Hafslund’s strategy focuses on key issues impacting the planet, including transitioning its business and operations to climate and nature positivity.
As a producer of renewable energy, Hafslund is dependent on natural resources. However, the development of renewable energy facilities has direct and indirect nature impacts and dependencies that the company needs to properly understand.
Although Hafslund was already quite advanced in its sustainability journey, as well as in its nature journey, the rising support of governments (e.g., REPowerEU), the nature momentum since COP15, and the current and future uptake of key frameworks such as the Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN) and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) facilitated the company's decision to better define and advance its nature-positive commitment.
In working with BSR, Hafslund looked to leverage a combination of nature, strategy, and reporting expertise to gain a clearer understanding on how to strengthen its nature engagement while responding to current and emerging regulatory (e.g., the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, or CSRD; EU Taxonomy; EU Strategy on Offshore Wind Renewable Energy; Norway Climate Action Plan 2021-2030; etc.) and investor expectations in the evolving nature landscape.
Utilizing its nature and strategy expertise, BSR worked closely with Hafslund to develop a strategic vision and action plan for protecting nature, aligned with best practices and leading standards and frameworks, such as the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
BSR's approach constructed a foundation based on three strands of research and analysis. First, the project focused on understanding and analyzing Hafslund's existing nature-related work and projects, future goals and commitments, and reporting. Second, this was followed by a landscape assessment, which provided insights into the standards, regulations, and initiatives at both a global scale as well as those most relevant to the renewable energy sector and the Nordic market. Finally, to better understand leading practices in the market and evaluate Hafslund's positioning, BSR benchmarked three market peers and one leader to analyze their approaches and best practices and assess their maturity on nature across various dimensions, such as governance, policies, and operations.
By bringing together an understanding of the landscape and trends in the external environment alongside a rigorous, topic-focused benchmark, BSR was able to analyze Hafslund's current performance alongside existing and future expectations in nature. To do this, BSR identified gaps as well as areas of relative strength in Hafslund's current nature work and developed tailored recommendations on how to define and advance its nature commitments.
To help turn the recommendations into reality, BSR developed a nature action plan for Hafslund, specifying the goals and suggested actions to take in the short, medium, and long term. These were accompanied by high-level timelines for implementation, identification of governance and management needs at each stage, and the partnerships and initiatives recommended to support each activity. The action plan aims to advance the development and the implementation of Hafslund's comprehensive nature strategy.
By analyzing the external landscape and leading peers alongside Hafslund's existing and envisioned performance in nature, BSR was able to develop a clear and tangible action plan focused on achieving its nature-positive goal.
By providing clear actions tied to overarching objectives and timeline, Hafslund has been well-positioned to advance quickly on its nature journey, taking the following steps:
- After BSR’s analysis, the Hafslund sustainability team conducted workshops with more than 20 stakeholders throughout the company to seek their input and buy-in on the long-term plan, with actions and priorities recommended by BSR aligning well with those of their internal stakeholders.
- The company has begun conducting a nature assessment of its direct operations and collecting data in line with both applicable regulations as well as prevailing frameworks.
- The focus on nature has led to important conversations across teams, as well as an upcoming conversation with the board, about how Hafslund staff can “lift” nature in every aspect that they work on and how the company can engage and inspire its employees in supporting its nature-positive goals in their day-to-day activities.
- As of writing, Hafslund was currently mapping out a short-term implementation roadmap—including key tasks, allocation, and KPIs—for review by its board.
Overall, Hafslund evolved from having a high-level ambition to reach a nature-positive future to taking steps to actually achieve it, thanks to its new robust action plan and clear path forward.
"Looking back, BSR’s work was critical for Hafslund to get ahead of all standards on the horizon, in what is a fast-paced and complex area of corporate sustainability."
- Otto Vik Mathisen, Strategic Advisor at Hafslund
Companies are adapting to an increasingly complex landscape, where key emerging frameworks are guiding corporate commitments and actions. Within this context, and with evolving stakeholder expectations, it is increasingly important for companies to understand and engage on nature. Organizations like Hafslund that have taken critical steps on their nature journey will be better prepared to navigate the shifting landscape while promoting long-term business resilience.
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This case study was written by Erin Leitheiser, Juliette Pugliesi, and Sarah Cornelles. If your team is also interested in nature support, from better understanding regulatory landscape and peer positioning to defining nature goals and strategy, please reach out to us to learn more.