Sustainable Company Awards 2023

Circular economy transition of the year, global: EDP

Portuguese electric utilities company EDP Group has developed its circular economy best practices in part as a response to international guidelines and regulations, such as the European Green Deal and Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance.

This includes the development of EDP's Circular Economy for a Regenerative Business, which aims to guide circularity practices across all the group's business practices.

"EDP is embracing the circular economy, increasingly a path we want to take to sustainable prosperity through resource regeneration and business innovation," said Miguel Viana, head of investor relations and sustainability at EDP & EDP Renewables. "This recognition is an encouragement for us to keep progressing down this path."

Instances of this new emphasis on circularity include integrating cork composites into a floating solar park in Algueva, Portugal, which was established last year.

The solar park consists of almost 12,000 panels that produce around 7.5GWh per year, supplying the equivalent power to 30% of the residents of the area, according to EDP.

By using cork composites, rather than conventional virgin plastic, EDP says not only does it replace a non-renewable material with a natural and local one but it also abates the greenhouse gas emissions created from non-renewable material. EDP reports the cork composite reduces the floating solar park's carbon footprint by 16%.

Elsewhere EDP Ventures, the venture capital arm of the business, last year invested in Green Li-on, a Singapore-based company that has developed a closed-loop process to rejuvenate lithium-Ion batteries and produce re-usable battery-grade cathode material from recovered batteries.

"Development of a specific circular economy strategy core to the business is admirable.Unique and innovative project qualities set it apart," commented one Environmental Finance Sustainable Company Awards judge.

"Great project with good outcomes. Hopefully, this project is just the start of their regenerative business success," said another.

Algueva floating Solar Park EDP