Eric de Haan:

Eneco wins Golden Ear Award

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The client is Number One, which means that we listen well to our customers, including when they have questions or problems. Eneco worked on a new approach in 2013, with cordial and welcoming contact with our clients. This enabled Eneco to win the Golden Ear Award in 2013, an annual prize for the organisation which excels most in listening to its clients.
Eric de Haan, Chairman of Stichting Gouden Oor, about Eneco:

You relinquish your control, and trust in the abilities of the employee. That is very innovative

‘I visited Eneco as a jury member. The first thing I noticed on arrival was the company’s open and easy character, a very warm welcome. And as you go further into the premises this atmosphere of openness and transparency persists, including in the department I visited. People were friendly and honest and did not attempt to talk things up. Everyone was open to criticism and improvement suggestions. There was a willingness to listen to each other. We also listened-in on conversations with customers. These were good conversations, where the staff always took time for the customers.’
Sustainable growth from the inside out
‘What is special is Eneco’s approach. It’s not the manager who prescribes what must be done – precisely the contrary. It’s about the development of the employee, who is after all closest to the customer. The manager has a facilitative and coaching role. This is extremely innovative. You relinquish control and trust in the abilities of the employee. And that trust is rewarded – the results prove it. In this way they are working on sustainable growth from the inside out, because the employees are changing radically. And this is also appropriate for the sustainability to which Eneco aspires.’
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Ton van Keken

Eneco’s Environmental Dinner

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For the past six years the Board of Management has invited its corporate relations to the annual Environmental Dinner. During this event we discuss sustainability issues with fellow managers in an informal setting. With a small seminar, practical examples and innovative speakers we offer our corporate relations inspiration for sustainable entrepreneurship.
Ton van Keken, Senior Vice President of Operations of Interface EMEA of Interface, was guest this year at Eneco’s Enviromental Dinner this year.

‘Eneco hits the nail on the head’

‘At Interface we are very busy with sustainability. We are trying to reduce our impact on the environment to zero, and you need partners for that. Eneco supplies us with 100% green energy and is an important partner for us. ‘The Environmental Dinner – my first – was an enlightening and inspiring evening, with a large number of guests who are also dealing with this topic. Sustainability is a social issue, and we need to achieve it together. On this evening we were able to learn from each other, and could reinforce each other. There was a light-hearted atmosphere, also thanks to a performance by the band The Kik, giving the evening an informal and dynamic feel. I think the Environmental Dinner is a wonderful initiative. Eneco hits the nail right on the head with this formula.’
Inspiring words
‘I was impressed by the speakers. For example Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands spoke about children’s perceptions of social problems and corporate challenges. They are effective in getting to the core of the issues and finding simple solutions. We often over-complicate things.
Development is happening rapidly, and we need to prepare for the future. Is our business model suitable for this? That’s why I found the words of Eneco’s CEO Jeroen de Haas to be so inspiring. He was very open about the search for a different business model. “We need to reinvent ourselves,” were his words. I have a lot of respect for this. It shows courage and vision to subject your business model to discussion. And in that process Eneco is acting with enormous customer orientation, which is wonderful to see.’
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Family Barclay

Tullo Wind Farm, Eneco’s start in the United Kingdom

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Eneco has made good progress in expanding its sustainable electricity production capacity in the United Kingdom since its first wind farm in this country became operational in 2010. The first wind farm, Tullo near Laurencekirk, Aberdeen (7 turbines and a capacity of 17 MW), was followed by the installation of another 10 turbines (25 MW) at the same location in 2013. A special effort was made to establish a good relationship with the local community in connection with this project.
Family Barclay, landowner Tullo Wind Farm:

’Eneco is a good partner’

The Barclay family has been managing the land and the farm on which Eneco’s first wind turbines in Scotland are located, for many years.
Brian Barclay, who decided ten years ago that money could be made from alternative activities such as the production of wind energy, about Eneco: ’We were not familiar with Eneco when we came up with the idea of installing wind turbines. The initial plans were developed by another company. I had never heard of Eneco until they purchased the rights to build Tullo Wind Farm, but now I know a lot more about them. They have been a great company to work with, having gone out of their way to keep everyone involved happy. I now tend to regard the members of the Eneco team that we deal with as friends rather than business associates.’
Partner in sustainability
Eneco is truly a partner in sustainability as it takes the interests of the region into account. In addition to expanding local employment with the construction of the wind farm, they also invest in activities that benefit the entire local community. They have spent a lot of time and effort developing an environmentally friendly site by planting a lot of trees and shrubs and managing the habitat. This includes creating beetle bank grass strips and setting up nesting boxes, all manufactured locally at Milltown Community Centre for adults with learning difficulties, which is sponsored by Eneco. In the three years since the installation of the first Tullo wind turbines I have not seen any damage to birds on the hill. Quite the opposite: we have even had Oystercatchers nesting on the crane pads. So it is only logical that we are positive about the expansion of Tullo Wind Farm’.
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Erika Huizinga

Eneco Energy Challenge

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‘Wanted: young people between 17 and 27 to help us make Toon even better.’ Toon is Eneco’s revolutionary thermostat, and this was the call with which we invited youngsters between 17 and 27 to take part in the Eneco Challenge in May last year. In the subsequent months 30 youngsters worked in teams on the challenge with a huge amount of enthusiasm. They produced surprising ideas and concepts. The winning concept was ‘Saving together’, where for example youngsters could join together to save for a mutual goal.
Erika Huizinga was part of the winning team:

‘You achieve a lot more together’

‘The Eneco Challenge was a really great experience. The days were long and intense, but I drew
a lot of energy from them! Eneco’s people were open to our questions and ideas, and supervised us well. After the first pitch we received constructive criticism to expand the concept further for the grand finale. We worked in teams of four to five people. Working in groups leads to knowing new people, knowledge and experience is exchanged and you start to think outside your own boundaries. And I think that’s what’s so great about working in a group, because you achieve a lot more together than on your own!’
Saving becomes fun
‘For Eneco’s young target group we wanted to give the topics of ‘saving’ and ‘sustainable energy’ more relevance and make them more interesting. Sustainable energy needs to be hip! That’s why we added a winning element to the current Toon concept. Friends could all save a certain amount a month on their energy consumption, thereby saving for a common goal. This turns saving energy costs into a competition which is also attractive for the younger consumer, while making him deal more consciously with energy. Although the other group had a strong and innovative concept, our project fitted particularly well with Eneco; after all, ‘together’ is also their motto!’
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Jeroen de Haas

Working together and being welcome

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Led by Jeroen de Haas, Eneco has stood out in recent years as the Netherlands’ most sustainable energy company. But the top executive wants to go further. Journalist Max Christern interviewed him exclusively for Eneco’s Annual Report. He discussed working together and feeling welcome, cycling to work and the social importance of his company. And, in particular, the power of belief.
The Netherlands chose ‘selfie’ as its word of the year for 2013 – taking a self-portrait on your mobile phone at arm’s length and then publishing it on social networking sites. Asked for his favourite word of the past year, Jeroen de Haas, Chairman of Eneco’s board, cited one which is almost diametrically opposed to selfie: ‘together’. It’s the warmest word from the three concepts which express the vision of his company: sustainable, decentralised, together. This is how Ene co views the future of energy. All energy, De Haas and his people believe, will be sustainable in the future, and will largely be generated locally. And Eneco is going to do that generation – here comes the word – together with customers and corporates.
“Our mission and vision are rock-solid,” insists De Haas. “There were so many signals last year that we were on the right track. But that doesn’t make us the winner in this era by definition. Plenty of companies with brilliant missions and visions have disappeared, because they didn’t manage to put them into practice. The difference is made by actually carrying out that vision and mission. By doing it. Doing it together. With the client.”
It’s a stormy Friday morning in December. The wind is howling outside. Jeroen de Haas is sitting in a peaceful working area. It’s a place where he often sits. Eneco’s new headquarters in Rotterdam is a widely-adulated icon of the New World of Work, open and transparent, with a splendid network café on the ground floor where the chairman of the board also likes to sit.

This year, at the invitation of the director of sustainability campaigning group Urgenda, Marjan Minnesma, he took part in the so-called Low Car Diet, a ten-day test for managers to travel the country without a car. He cycled through wind and weather, and discovered along the way that the status of a director on a bicycle is different to that of the man who is chauffeured. “At the Ministry of Economic Affairs the doorman asked me to put my bike in the storage area rather than on the pavement,” he recalls. “But if you are brought by car, no-one minds if the car is left briefly at the kerb.”
The doorman treated De Haas as ‘a normal person’, and in fact that’s exactly what Eneco’s top man prefers. He is averse to trappings or status. Being normal suits him just fine. But Jeroen de Haas has certainly always been marked by ‘daring’. “And I want to see more of that mentality among our people, particularly now,” he explains. “Dare to leap, I often say. See whether you can stay in the air. Dare to break free of the orderly structure every major company has, including ours. I often see how fearful people can be of that, and I certainly understand it. But we in Eneco, Stedin, Joulz, Ecofys, Oxxio, in short all the members of the family, we really are different from all the other energy companies, and we must dare to express that.”

So what is Eneco’s story which needs to be more clearly expressed to the outside world?
“Our company operates in a market which is in revolutionary evolution after a very long period of tranquility. All the major energy companies are being shaken to their cores. Naturally, the
economic crisis is a major reason, but so too are the discussions on shale gas, coal-fired power stations, alternative energy sources and the low CO2 price. There’s also the question as to whether energy companies like ours, the way we have known them for decades, will soon still exist. It’s unsettled, but it is also a perfect moment to distinguish yourself from the rest. Naturally we are doing that with our sustainable-decentralised-together vision. And within that, I think our attitude to customers is really revolutionary, as opposed to those of our competitors. For Eneco, a customer is not just someone who buys energy from us or is connected to our grid. We used to regard a customer as a system risk: someone who, above all, needed to keep his hands off the electricity meter. But now a customer is also someone who lives in the vicinity of one of our wind turbines but doesn’t buy power from us. We also need to involve these people in our plans, I believe. If we want to realise our vision, we need to think in terms of the broad definition of a customer, who is increasingly part of our energy system because he can also produce
energy himself. And because he also has an opinion on the energy he uses or generates.
The modern customer of an energy company involves himself in the energy product. And so we simply also need him. For instance if there are strong winds. Or even if there is no wind, to explain that he or she should not turn on the washing machine for a while. It’s all about a revolutionary, different attitude from Eneco towards the customer.”

And is that where that favourite word ‘together’ comes peeping around the corner?
“Yes exactly. I think collaboration is crucial. And in all the examples of successful projects we have seen in the past year, that is still the common thread. In the Netherlands, consider a project like Heijplaat, where we create an energy-neutral district together with the residents. Or our projects abroad, for example the one in the UK, where we have now opened a second wind farm in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire,
in close and excellent consultation with the inhabitants. These are projects I look on with enormous pride and satisfaction, because this is where we fulfil that concept of ‘together’ so well. And internally I also see exceptional collaborative initiatives coming into being. Take The Movement for instance, where around a hundred colleagues from Eneco, Joulz and Stedin, from technicians to managers, are inspiring the staff to really put the client at the core of everything. Naturally there’s also the cooperation with external partners, such as WWF, or Vitens, or Akzo or Scottish Water – gradually there are almost becoming too many to list. And I think that’s a wonderful thing to see. Genuine, successful practical examples of collaboration from our mission. Increasingly we are seeing that we are simply doing it automatically in Eneco, and that’s important. That ‘together’ feeling now really enjoys broad support. It’s not me, it’s all of us here, together.”
How does Eneco measure whether something has actually been a success?
“What I am trying to introduce here is the idea that yields are not just a financial concept. For me it’s about whether something fits within our mission and vision, so I think it is hugely important that we keep an eye on the societal importance, the broad social yield. And if we adopt that as our guideline for our strategy, for our operations, in fact for everything we do, then that’s the best basis for a good and predictable financial yield.
For many large companies I see far too much of a division between the company’s interests and those of society. Company interests predominate almost everywhere. I think this is no longer viable in 2014. And actually it’s never been viable. The founder of the free market economy, Adam Smith, indicated a while ago that the free market does not function if companies do not also ensure care for others, for social importance.
I also point out these days that Eneco is only present where it is welcome. This is relevant to what I just explained. Eneco doesn’t just go
ahead and install wind turbines, even if we do have official permission. No, I insist that we first hold discussions with the people living in the affected area. These are the clients I was referring to in my broad definition. I am insistent on this in Eneco. And I’m happy to note that the message is getting through strongly within our company. We need to keep a constant eye on the social relevance of our work.”

You can only provide leadership to a mission like this if the leader believes in it himself. Where does your belief come from?
“Ultimately everything begins with yourself. With daring. You need to overcome your primary fears. You self-reflect and discover who you actually are. And why you want to do specific things. My experience is that when you say and do things from a strong personal belief, that’s when they work best. I believe in our mission and I dare to say it. That immediately creates a bond with the people you talk to.
Slowly but surely we are also succeeding in not being the company or the Eneco Group, but being a collection of 7,000 people who are
increasingly able to tell their own story on the basis of a vision. If you understand what that vision means for you, for your role within Eneco, that’s good. For me that is the real meaning of the concept of sustainability.”
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