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The ENTEGA Group is one of the leading energy and infrastructure service providers in Germany and one of the largest suppliers of green electricity and climate-neutral natural gas. ENTEGA AG and its subsidiaries provide modern services of general interest and make a lasting contribution to a sustainable living environment. Their tasks include renewable energy generation, the classic supply of energy and water as well as the operation and construction of networks and energy-efficient large-scale plants.
In 2013, ENTEGA was awarded the German Sustainability Prize for its future strategy. Since 2015, ENTEGA has been certified by TÜV SÜD as a pioneer of energy system transformation.
Considerable time savings, equalization of work intensity and cost savings in sustainability reporting with VERSO.
With 700,000 customers and 2,000 employees, ENTEGA is one of the largest ecological regional suppliers in Germany. The energy company is active in the areas of energy generation, energy trading, energy sales, energy networks, public law management and shared services. Under the motto “From supplier to pension provider”, ENTEGA pursues a consistent sustainability strategy, for which the company was awarded the German Sustainability Prize in 2013.
ENTEGA is not only an energy service provider, but also a co-creator of the energy revolution: Over the past ten years, the energy provider has invested around one billion euros in wind farms, photovoltaic systems, ultra-modern gas-fired power plants, but also in biogas and geothermal energy. The subsidiary ENTEGA Energie is already one of the largest suppliers of climate-neutral energy in Germany. Against the background of this clear strategy, CSR as a whole, sustainability reporting and thus the transparent presentation of the ecological, economic and social effects of entrepreneurial activities are of very high importance to ENTEGA.
Reporting according to GRI
In its first Sustainability Report 2010, ENTEGA defined the basic values for future continuous sustainability reporting. ENTEGA reports in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which sets the most internationally recognised standard for sustainability reporting.
The changing form of CSR reporting
The first report appeared as a separate publication alongside the annual report. The next step was to combine the Sustainability Report, which remained independent in terms of content, with the Annual Report in a single publication. At first only in print, later also as a native online version. Since 2014, ENTEGA’s Sustainability Report has been published exclusively online.
The ENTEGA Sustainability Report is the result of cooperation between the central sustainability management and over 50 sustainability officers throughout the ENTEGA Group. They enter all relevant information into a central, company-wide uniform database, which we use for the management of sustainability indicators and for reporting.
Frictional losses in cooperation with external sustainability reporting agencies
Sustainability reporting was implemented over the entire period in cooperation with external agencies. ENTEGA’s sustainability team was responsible for collecting, reviewing and evaluating the data as well as designing and roughly pre-formulating the individual chapters. The actual editorial work as well as the conception and design of the layout was carried out by the agency commissioned. Although ENTEGA was always accompanied by communication professionals with many years of experience in the field of sustainability reporting, the challenge was always great to reconcile our wishes and requirements with their ideas. Those responsible for CSR have found that, as ENTEGA employees, they have a much deeper knowledge of their own company and the different contexts than someone from outside would be able to learn within a very short period of time required to produce a report. The result was many discussions, texts passed through many hands within the company, and costly correction paths. This resulted in high external costs and friction losses.
Internalisation of the reporting process
In order to reduce its time expenditure and external costs, ENTEGA 2016 decided to internalise the reporting process as far as possible. “In addition to reducing external costs, we were particularly interested in reducing frictional losses such as the induction of new agencies and service providers, correction loops and long coordination paths,” says Marcel Wolsing, Head of Sustainability Management at ENTEGA.
Create an online sustainability report without an agency
Nothing therefore stood in the way of internal text production. Only the consideration of how the online implementation of the sustainability report should take place was a big question mark – the agency had also taken over this until now. Today, the sustainability department maps all this internally with VERSO and creates an online sustainability report itself, in line with ENTEGA’s corporate design.
Connectivity of VERSO to existing software and IT
At ENTEGA, a common database has already been used by the more than 50 sustainability officers, in which all the figures converge. This database was to remain the process management software. This is why the requirement for the new solution was to be connectable to the existing IT system. VERSO was able to fulfil the relevant interfaces without any problems.
“Considerable time relief and equalization of work intensity”.
With VERSO, it is possible to work on the next sustainability report in the background, while the “predecessor” is published and available online.
“For us, this means that in future we will be able to edit general content such as the company portrait or the strategy, which does not change fundamentally every year, earlier. Additional content, such as the presentation of individual projects, can even be entered directly into VERSO on a continuous basis during the course of the year under review.”. According to Marcel Wolsing, this and the independence from external service providers leads to a “considerable time relief as well as an equalization of the work intensity”.
Intuitive usability, fast telephone support from and server in Germany
“VERSO is easy to use and as good as self-explanatory. After a one-day introduction by the VERSO team, users are very well prepared to create their own content. The sophisticated user interface allows intuitive use,” says Sustainability Manager Wolsing. “And if it didn’t work out, the VERSO team was always available to provide telephone support. The report generation itself is simple and fun, because you don’t have to deal intensively with the IT behind it”.
One major concern for Wolsing and his team, in addition to fast, professional and German-language support, was that the future service provider’s servers should be located in Germany. VERSO was also able to meet the requirements here.
Emails become superfluous with VERSO for interdepartmental cooperation.
The individual chapters and their subcategories are easy to create and change. The different coloured status lights of the individual chapters facilitate the parallel work of the ENTEGA CSR department in the system. For all users, it is always easy to see which parts have already been processed and where work still needs to be done. “The integrated task function makes parallel e-mail communication in the editorial team almost superfluous and ensures that the comments are always exactly where they are needed: in the sustainability report.
Reader-friendly PDF version of the CSR report at the touch of a button
ENTEGA also had the requirement for the solution they were looking for to generate a reader-friendly PDF version from the online report “at the push of a button”. VERSO makes this possible without any problems – without external agencies and in compliance with the corporate design.
Head of Sustainability Management at ENTEGA AG
“With VERSO and its founders, we have found a partner with whom chemistry was right from the start. In the end, the decisive factor for VERSO was that we not only found a non-specific editorial tool that meets all our requirements, but also that it is the icing on the cake and specializes in the online creation of sustainability reports and sustainability communication. This starts with the GRI Content Index and ends with a team that lives sustainability out of conviction.
We are convinced that VERSO enables companies to focus more on the content and benefits to the reader than on the reporting process itself. The ability to internally reproduce the previously outsourced services such as texts and layout paves the way to a better and more authentic report. The elimination of time-consuming coordination processes and correction loops saves the nerves of the reporters”.