Today, any forward-looking project must comply with environmental impact reduction policies, but also with social and good governance ones (described collectively as ESG). Cellnex, the main European operator of wireless telecommunications infrastructure is well aware of this matter. In fact, it took one step further during 2021, strengthening its commitment to move towards the sustainable transition of its activity, bolstering ESG criteria as a central and integral part of the corporate strategy of all the group’s areas and units.
As a way of defining its actions, Cellnex is aligned with the idea of ‘Growing Together’, a cross-cutting approach involving all the company’s staff to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. “The planet on which we live belongs to all of us equally and a change in mindset, accompanied by direct action, is truly essential. Our ESG Master Plan is one of the fundamental pillars of the corporate strategy that involves all areas and all Cellnex staff. This strategy is much more than a declaration of principles, good intentions or simple box-ticking; we take on the commitments linked to it from our knowledge of the values that we defend and the way they are anchored into the essence of our business purpose”, declares Àngels Ucero, Sustainability Director at Cellnex and Director of the Cellnex Foundation.
ESG Master Plan 2021-2025: firm commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals
Since the 2016-2020 CSR Plan finished, Cellnex has established new, more ambitious objectives in its new 2021-2025 ESG Master Plan, which was approved by the Board in December 2020 and began to be implemented in 2021. In this first year of the ESG Master Plan, 97% of actions were planned and 91% of the actions defined for 2021 were implemented.
The Plan revolves around five key axes, and one cross-cutting axis dedicated to transmitting and communicating the commitments taken on, with the same goal in mind: driving telecommunications connectivity between territories with a common and inclusive culture and seeking to be part of the solution to society’s challenges, through 92 actions aligned with the SDGs.
Progress in sustainability indices
The good results obtained over the past year highlight this commitment to sustainability. Indeed, Cellnex continues to improve the ratings it has obtained in the sustainability indices, and in the case of Sustainalytics – ESG Risk Rating, it is now one of the companies with the lowest ESG risk globally within its sector.
Furthermore, last February the non-profit organisation CDP recognised the company as a ‘Supplier Engagement Leader 2021’, as one of the most outstanding organisations in this index of 518 companies, only 16 of which are Spanish. This award highlights its commitment to assessing and mitigating climate risk within the supply chain. On top of this distinction comes the recognition, for the third year in a row, that it is among the group of companies comprising CDP’s Climate Change “A List”.
Likewise, Cellnex was upgraded from ‘BBB’ to ‘A’ in the 2021 MSCI ESG assessment. Cellnex obtained the highest rating (10 out of 10) in the Environmental dimension, and is acknowledged as an industry leader in Corporate Governance.
Commitment to fighting climate change
In 2021, Cellnex enhanced its commitment to fighting against climate change by establishing specific emission reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) aligned with a scenario of limiting warming to 1.5ºC.
The targets validated by the SBT involve reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), as well as scope 3 emissions through a 70% cut in fossil fuel energy sources by 2030; achieving a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2025; and reducing scope 3 emissions generated by the purchase of goods and services, and a 21% reduction in GHG emissions from capital goods by 2025.
Energy transition plan and renewable energy consumption
Cellnex’s commitment to energy management as established in the Energy Policy was implemented with the approval of the Energy Transition Plan framework in 2021, which aims to set progressive guidelines to make the energy supply more sustainable, working together with the company’s main customers to this end.
Along with the approval of the Energy Transition Plan framework, in 2021 it also launched the corporate objective of purchasing green energy, setting a goal of 100% renewable energy consumption by 2025 throughout the organisation. In 2021 the global percentage of green energy consumption of the entire organisation stood at around 40.5%.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
Under its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Policy, Cellnex is firmly committed to promoting these aspects through inclusive leadership as a lever for change and business sustainability. In this connection, it has set various objectives to be met in this area, such as boost the percentage of women in management positions, as well as increasing the percentage of female and young talent hires and maintaining a minimum of 40% women on the Board of Directors.
In 2021, the company joined Target Gender Equality, an accelerator programme for companies that have signed up to the United Nations Global Compact to deepen the implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) and strengthen its contribution to SDG target 5.5 (ensure women’s participation and equal opportunities for leadership). And in early 2022, it was included for the first year in the diversity and equality index called the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index.
The Cellnex Foundation responds to Cellnex Telecom’s firm will to go one step further in contributing to a better connected and socially inclusive environment as a comprehensive initiative that complements the company’s ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) strategy.
Cellnex considers connectivity to be a universal right, therefore it aims to extend connectivity to reduce inequality. In its first year, the Foundation launched initiatives such as the Cellnex Bridge, an acceleration programme for tech start-ups with a specific focus on social action. Likewise, the Foundation has continued to run its “Youth Challenge” corporate volunteer initiative which began in 2019 and aims to prevent pupils from dropping out of school and attract young people at risk of exclusion towards Information and Communication Technology (ICT) vocations. In 2021 the Cellnex Foundation extended this programme beyond Spain to include Italy, Portugal and France.