Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
Working in a socially responsible manner is part of Boralex’s culture. Our corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy underscores our mandate for sustainable development and our approach to the relationships we have with all of our stakeholders. Through ten priority issues sorted under three clear and distinct areas of commitment, CSR is now part and parcel of Boralex’s business model.
Boralex unveiled its first CSR report in February 2021, under the theme “Beyond Renewable Energy”. It details our value-adding, more structured approach, with careful consideration of risk and opportunity management.
Through a selection of 18 issues relevant to Boralex’s activities, the Corporation surveyed a representative panel of its stakeholders (21 qualitative interviews were conducted) on their perceptions and expectations of its non-financial performance. These stakeholders include investors, communities (municipalities, non-governmental organizations) and employees. This exercise, carried out in 2020, led to the development of a materiality matrix highlighting the most significant sustainability issues for the Corporation’s stakeholders.
Combined with the mapping of non-financial risks inherent to Boralex’s activities, this matrix identified ten priority issues on which the Corporation is committed to intensifying its efforts until 2025.
These ten issues are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Boralex assessed its contribution to the SDGs based on the direct and indirect impact that impact the Corporation. Reporting is done in accordance with the recommendations of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The execution of this plan is integrated to the achievement of Boralex’s strategic plan and financial objectives, reflecting Boralex’s management’s commitment to CSR.
Boralex’s ESG progress in 2021
Boralex has already begun implementing its CSR strategy, and the results are starting to show. Here is what has been undertaken since February 2021.
Environment - Making Renewable Energy in a Sustainable and Resilient Manner
- Production underway of the Corporation’s carbon footprint report.
- Implementing new technologies to protect birds and bats near some wind farms.
- Disposal of the Blendecques (12 MW) cogeneration power station.
The next steps are to pursue our diversification strategy to reduce impact of climate change and the analysis of TCFD recommendations.
Social - Respect our People, our Planet and our Community
- Formalization and globalization of the internal health and safety team, including the definition of a continuous improvement plan.
- Training on unconscious bias regarding diversity and webcast on mental health.
- Significant progress in employee engagement based on the most recent annual survey results.
- Historic partnership with the Innu communities in Québec in the 200 MW Apuiat project which will provide the region with a long-term clean energy source, while respecting the Innu values relating to the preservation of flora and fauna, as well as to maintain of traditional practices (innu-aitun).
The next steps are to firm up culture of sustainable performance, attract and retain talent and development of skills and career, and reach our diversity targets with more training and disclosure.
Governance - Leading Through Example
- Mobilizing internal CSR governance, including hiring a CSR director, creating a CSR committee and integrating CSR into our mission, vision and organizational values.
- Improving disclosure of executive compensation and increasing shareholding requirements for members of the management team.
- Signing of the Solar Energy Industry Association Pledge, a formal commitment against the use of forced labour in the solar industry.
The next steps are for diversity at both the management and board levels to remain a priority, and to formalize our procurement practices guidelines.
A CSR distinction for Boralex
Boralex was awarded a silver medal in the evaluation of the EcoVadis platform, which measures the CSR performance of companies. Boralex’s result places the Corporation in the 92nd percentile in its industry. Boralex underwent this review in the context of the conclusion of an agreement with French company Orange, for the sale of renewable energy.
The EcoVadis assessment also includes areas for improvement that we are integrating into our action plan and CSR strategy.