“Carbon neutral, renewable and prevalent” has become synonymous with biomass power. Fossil fuel and industrial processes contribute 65% of greenhouse gas emissions, notes U.S. EPA. Biomass has emerged as an invaluable alternative to petroleum, coal and natural gas. Advanced wood-burning stoves, fireplace inserts and pellet stoves can reduce the amount of particulates from burning wood.
Industry leaders have furthered their focus on sustainability, workplace diversity, sound corporate behavior, transparency and ethics & compliance. Burgeoning demand for electricity generation, heating and transport fuels has furthered the demand for biomass power, a trend likely to shape the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and goals.
An uptick in biomass production has posed challenges and opportunities to provide products and technologies underpinning social and governance pillars in tandem with business activities. Leading players are vying for environmentally friendly solutions for a sustainable future, preferring biomass fuel to coal-based products. In January 2023, Valmet announced converting two coal-fired boilers to boost biomass combustion for Veolia Group's subsidiary in Hungary. The Oroszlány power plant is expected to produce over 600 GWh of renewable electricity. A sustainable response to energy challenges will potentially be observed in the near term.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Vies for Environmental Upsides
Global push to meet the sustainable profile has encouraged incumbent manufacturers to foster their decarbonization strategies with the reduction of water usage, waste generation and CO2 emissions. For instance, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group set an environmental target to decarbonize its business activity (scope 1 and 2) by 2040. In fiscal year 2023, the company expects to reduce water usage per unit by 7% and CO2 emissions per unit from plants and offices by 9%. The Japanese-based company has an interim target of minimizing scope 1 & 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2014 levels); and reducing scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2019 levels).
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Suez Fosters Diversity Culture and Workplace Safety
The need for a workplace environment that underpins social independence and reduces the gender pay gap help companies enhance their ESG rankings. In essence, boosting skills and employee engagement has become a go-to strategy to stay ahead of the curve. Suez is gearing up to leverage 5,000 people annually to gain from vocational integration programs. It also aims for zero serious accidents in occupational health & safety. Additionally, the company is bullish on eliminating the gender gap, with the target of 40% women in management positions by 2027. In 2021, the France-based utility company introduced WO&MEN network to promote gender equality and diversity and expedite shared experience.
Xcel Energy Accentuates Governance for Clean Energy Goals
Investors, suppliers, manufacturers, employees, customers and other stakeholders rate sound corporate governance highly. To illustrate, Xcel Energy alludes that all the members are independent, non-employee directors (except the Chairman and CEO). The company's state public utilities commissions gave a green signal to clean energy plans for Colorado and the Upper Midwest, helping retire remaining coal operations and minimizing CO2 emissions 80% by 2030. Its Governance, Compensation and Nominating (GCN) Committee has ESG-related issues and risks responsibility. Investor's Business Daily, an American newspaper and website, predominantly ranked Xcel Energy among the 100 best ESG companies in 2022.
The competitive landscape suggests stakeholders could inject funds into the circular economy, technological advancements, innovations, collaborations, mergers & acquisitions to further their ESG plans. The European Commission notes that biomass for energy contributes around 60% as the EU's primary renewable energy source. Grand View Research reported the global biomass power market size at USD 121,340.76 million in 2021, which could depict a 6% CAGR between 2022 and 2030.
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