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Stakeholder management

When you venture into new territory – you need a solid basis

Stepping into new territory brings risks: this is also true for regenerative energy forms. Used on their own, they aren’t yet able to cover the energy demand. What is needed is a flexible generation mix that can ensure sufficient reserve capacity. Also important is a sound balance between decentralised generation, on the one hand, and centralised management and optimisation, on the other hand. An integrated model allows EVN to leverage the valuable potential of renewable energy and ensure its successful and sustainable inclusion. In the long term, the share of renewable energy in EVN’s own production shall be raised to 50%.

EVN is actively engaged in addressing the diverse concerns of its stakeholders. Its energy and environmental services businesses are the focal point of substantial public interest and are therefore subject to more intense critical observation than companies in other industries.

EVN‘s steady expansion, growth and investments in recent years have also been accompanied by growing interest on the part of stakeholders. This development has led to a further increase in the transparency of communications and the number of participatory processes as well as greater weight given to the importance of a regular dialogue with stakeholders.

The dialogue carried out with the various stakeholder and interest groups helps EVN to develop, in the course of its stakeholder management, effective strategies for the company’s further development and the on-going sustainability process. These activities are aimed at identifying stakeholders‘ expectations, recognising risks at an early stage and utilising opportunities to develop, maintain and strengthen good relations with stakeholders.

The core of EVN‘s stakeholder management is based on strong relationships between the managers of the various strategic business units and departments with their stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers, partners, external organisations, associations, NGOs, interest groups, science and research.

An institutionalised dialogue with the many different stakeholder groups takes the form of working groups, committees in local communities, project mediation with regional citizens‘ initiatives, the EVN Advisory Board for the Environment and Social Responsibility, the EVN Customer Advisory Board, the EVN Social Fund and the EVN Art Advisory Board. EVN has also installed a complaint management system. Employee-related issues are handled through extensive communications and cooperation between management and the works council.

EVN carries out regular stakeholder surveys to systematise and structure its stakeholder relationships. These surveys help to identify the most important sustainability issues and to develop a focused, strategic orientation for sustainability activities. The results are also used to facilitate corporate communications, to identify appropriate dialogue and cooperation partners and to supply important content on economic, social and ecological issues as input for managerial strategic decisions. Based on the survey results, stakeholder management is improved and the priority ranking of the activity areas is reviewed. For example, the stakeholder survey in spring 2014 led to an adjustment of the EVN materiality matrix (see here). In comparison with the previous materiality matrix, “sustainable energy generation and climate protection“ and “focus on customers“ were added to the subjects with the highest importance, thereby increasing this group of activity areas to six.

  • GRI indicators: Restatements in the report (G4-22); Changes in the scope and aspect boundaries (G4-23)

Stakeholder survey 2014

The main CSR areas of activity for EVN were identified in 2009 during a workshop with the CSR network officers from all areas of the company. These interrelated themes formed the basis of the 2010 materiality matrix. Since then, the subjects have been discussed internally with all specialist departments within the framework of the regularly scheduled CSR target discussions and were updated to reflect the new priority ranking before the 2014 stakeholder survey took place. The updated list was then discussed and approved by the CSR steering committee, which also includes the EVN Executive Board. The 2014 survey started with a stakeholder workshop and telephone interviews, during which the major themes were limited and their relevance and scope were discussed. The previous stakeholder ranking was then reviewed and adjusted in an internal workshop.

Based on these preliminary results, 330 stakeholders were contacted from the fields of science, research, business, media, NGOs, politics and government authorities as well as suppliers, employees and customers, the members of the Supervisory Board and the Advisory Committee for Environmental and Social Responsibility and EVN managers. The analysis of the 187 responses crystallised six areas of activity as the most important and led to their inclusion in the materiality matrix (see page 37). The results of the survey were discussed by the CSR steering committee with managers and afterwards with employees. Presentations were also made to the members of the Supervisory Board and the Advisory Committee for Environmental and Social Responsibility. Further measures are currently being developed with the relevant corporate units as part of the CSR target discussions. In the future, an annual process will be implemented to include stakeholders at the strategic level.

  • GRI indicators: Definition of the report content (G4-18); List of stakeholder groups (G4-24); Identification of stakeholder groups (G4-25); Engagement of stakeholder groups (G4-26); Results of stakeholder engagement (G4-27)

What is important?For whom is this subject very important?
Interest groups/
Supply security
Focus on customers
Sustainable increase in shareholder value
Responsible employer
Environmental protection and resource conservation
Sustainable energy generation and climate protection

Project-related inclusion of stakeholders and their interests

EVN is well aware of the social, ecological and economic impact of its business activities. Compliance with all relevant international guidelines and agreements and national legislation, above and beyond legal requirements, is a matter of course. A special focus is placed on the execution of environmental and social impact assessments and on proactive communications for new infrastructure projects. EVN supports the early, comprehensive and open inclusion of stakeholders in decision-making processes. From small-scale hydropower plants, pipeline projects, windparks and biomass heating plants to waste utilisation plants – all these projects are planned and realised with the active participation of neighbouring residents, citizens’ groups, NGOs, political representatives, local initiatives and associations. EVN views these stakeholders as valuable planning partners and information contributors for realising projects and conducting business activities to the greatest possible satisfaction of all stakeholder groups. Early inclusion creates the basis for broad acceptance, provides valuable information on the best possible resource-conserving realisation and is a decisive factor for planning security (“licence to operate“).

A central role in this process is played by the “project communication”, which was established several years ago as part of the information and communication department to institutionalise project-related stakeholder communications. “Project communication” forms the Group-wide competence centre for participation, project and stakeholder communications, conflict prevention and conflict management and, as such, maintains direct contact with the managers of all major infrastructure projects. With the establishment of this area, EVN was able to create a bridge between the technical, financial and legal requirements of projects and Group requirements for participation, transparency and proactive communications, on the one side, and the needs and viewpoints of relevant stakeholder groups, on the other side.

Project communication supports prevention in various ways by ensuring the close and early inclusion of stakeholders in project planning:

  • Close contact with relevant stakeholders and feedback to project management allows for the early identification of project risks,
  • The development of trusting working relationships with important NGOs and other stakeholders over the medium and long term creates effective communication channels that allow for mutually acceptable compromise solutions,
  • Direct inclusion in project planning strengthens the expertise and awareness of the project managers in the areas of stakeholder communications and participation and thereby helps to sustainably anchor these valuable participatory skills in all relevant areas of the EVN Group.

The insight gained through stakeholder communications is considered in the extensive due diligence audits that are conducted before the start of a project. The results of these audits are used by the Executive Board and/or the Supervisory Board, depending on the size of the project, to evaluate the projects’ feasibility. Instruments such as environmental impact assessments are also used to evaluate the sustainability risks and effects of new projects.

  • GRI indicators: Engagement of stakeholders (G4-26); Role of the highest governance body’s role in the identification and management of economic, environmental and social impacts, risks, and opportunities (G4-45); Operations with implemented local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs (SO1); Operations with significant negative impacts on local communities (SO2)
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EVN’s stakeholders and
method of inclusion (selection)
Surveys 1)Active and
frequent contact
Working group,
annual meetings2)
expert groups3)



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