Sustainable organisation

Our social policy is one of the fundamental pillars of our governance: Alliander is future-proofed because we act to make our organisation safe, cost-conscious, sustainable and inclusive. Our social objectives focus on the facilitating capacity of our energy network for sustainable energy, our carbon emissions, the circular use of materials, our efforts to promote biodiversity, a diverse and inclusive corporate culture and our performance as an employer. We discuss the topic of having a diverse and inclusive company culture in the section An attractive and inclusive employer with equal opportunities for all

Climate-neutral operations in 2023

Partly thanks to green certificates, Alliander achieved climate-neutral operations in 2023 in line with its target. In other words, we had net zero carbon emissions caused by our network activities, offices and vehicles in 2023. We have achieved this by reducing carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable in recent years. Our vehicle fleet is increasingly electric, energy usage in our buildings is falling, and we are focusing on limiting our network losses for electricity and reducing the environmental impact of this.

Unfortunately, our direct gross emissions in 2023 were up on 2022, exceeding our target for 2023. Among other things, this is caused by increased network losses (the largest share of our footprint). The increased network losses are related to higher loads on our components; feed-in doubles the load on a cable. We also started increasing the load on our cables as standard to create room in the power grid. Our emissions were also up due to the procurement of electricity with a higher carbon emission factor (less green) to compensate for network losses.

Emissions in our supply chain

We determined the supply chain-related ‘scope 3’ carbon emissions in 2023. These include the emissions released by our suppliers when making, transporting and delivering products and providing services. As an organisation, we have an indirect influence on the scale of these emissions. Therefore, they are not covered by the scope of our own internal climate objectives. The supply chain-related emissions in 2023 amounted to 515 kilotons of CO2. This is 21% higher than our direct gross emissions under scopes 1 and 2. Carbon emissions are a criterion in many of our procurement tenders (buildings, lease partners, components). We began identifying an appropriate target for our scope 3 emissions in 2023. This revealed that parties in our sector calculate scope 3 emissions in different ways and that the costs of eliminating these emissions entirely can be high. In 2024, we will publish a proposal for improved collaboration within the sector and a potential common target. We are also planning to report on gas-related emissions as part of a new CO2 methodology.  

Emissions per scope, converted to CO2 equivalents (CO-eq)1
  • 1In order to add up the effects of the various greenhouse gases, emission figures are converted to CO2 equivalents, or the extent to which a gas contributes to the greenhouse effect. One CO2 equivalent is equal to the effect of emitting 1 kilogram of CO2, e.g. 1 kilogram of methane (CH4) emissions is equal to 25 CO2 equivalents. The GWPs of fluorinated gases vary quite significantly and can be very high, e.g. 1 kilogram of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is equal to 22,800 CO2 equivalents.

Trend-based development of carbon emissions

Classified gross carbon emissions with trend line for net carbon emissions1
  • 1The results of the gross carbon emissions and sustainability improvements for the years 2019-2022 were recalculated based on the most recent emission factors and new insights into the overall network losses for electricity and gas in 2022.

Internal CO2 price increased

Since 2021, we have used a higher internal CO2 price as a weighting factor when assessing the sustainability of our investments. Energy savings or reductions in methane leaks are assigned greater weight as a result. The higher CO2 price is part of a sector-wide agreement between all network operators, which was initiated and is coordinated by Liander. Following intensive discussions, the ACM approved the price agreements between the network operators in February 2022. In 2023, all Dutch network operators increased the calculation price from €100 to €150 per ton CO2. The network operators are investigating options to increase the calculation price further in the next couple of years. The higher CO2 price is forcing us to consider all the risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions more closely, including replacement investments for (old) cables, transformers and SF6 emissions. It also helps us assess suppliers objectively during tender processes regarding the CO2 performance of components.

Emissions from network and gas leakage losses

Network and leakage losses, which arise mainly during the transmission of electricity and gas, account for 96% of our gross carbon emissions by our own organisation. Network losses cost us €330 million in 2023 and can only be mitigated to a limited extent. Nevertheless, we are working to reduce our technical and administrative network losses each year by using the stated internal CO2 price, among other things. The network losses percentage is an accurate approximation.

Share of network losses compared to total input

Greening network losses with renewable energy

Alliander is offsetting its network losses for electricity by generating additional renewable energy in the Netherlands. We made 297 kilotons of our total network losses sustainable with Guarantees of Origin in 2023 and also received 27% of the electricity network losses as green electricity. We have made a conscious decision to progressively green our procurement for network losses with electricity from investments in renewable sources. This approach ensures that our network losses are low-CO2 and supports growth in renewable energy generation. In 2023, we made 100% of the total electricity network losses sustainable by activating additional contractually secured green certificates with Dutch wind certificates. The gas network losses were made 100% sustainable with EU Gold Standard certificates.

24/7 matching

Alliander recognises that purchasing electricity sustainably with Guarantees of Origin does not take account of the simultaneity of generation and consumption. Because the electricity network must remain balanced at all times, the system works better if network users coordinate the timing of their consumption and (purchased) generation. This concept is known as 24/7 matching. 

24/7 consumption and origin of electricity purchased by Alliander1

  • 1Electricity generated from fossil and non-fossil (sustainable) sources is made available for use, depending on production levels. The graph shows in steps of 15 minutes how much of Alliander’s consumption is simultaneously provided by sustainable energy sources (solar power from own sites and procurement of onshore and offshore wind power using guarantees of origin). It shows that sustainable energy sources are often lacking during the winter period, while the summer months have a ‘green’ surplus. Alliander uses its matching model to calculate the matching score of power generation and consumption for every kWh it consumes in steps of 15 minutes. 

We used the ENTRNCE Matcher to calculate the matching score for Alliander for 2023 based on the consumption due to network losses, electricity consumption in offices and (EV) mobility. Our own generation from solar panels on the roof and wind power purchased with Guarantees of Origin was then offset against this consumption. The matching was calculated on a quarterly basis to ensure alignment with the Dutch electricity market. The result for 2023 was a matching score of 61.0%. We are planning to investigate how we can increase this score in the coming years. This may include diversifying generation technology of the electricity we purchase or adding storage or demand management.

Technical network losses

The total technical electricity network losses rose by 14% in 2023 compared to 2022. This increase was mainly due to the increased network load compared to 2022, which resulted from an increase in local sustainable power generation and network congestion. This resulted in higher network losses. In the years to come, we are expecting further increases in the feed-in of sustainable energy and persistence of congestion issues for the time being. Eventually this will lead to higher loads on our networks, increasing network losses. Our gas-related network losses rose by 35% compared to 2022. In the coming years, the CO2 equivalent of a cubic meter of gas will be increased, so we expect to report higher gross carbon emissions for this category in the future.

Administrative network losses

Administrative network losses are caused by issues like energy fraud, e.g. illegally tapping into the electricity supply to grow cannabis, or the absence of contracts for new or existing connections. In view of the high energy prices, we mainly looked closely in 2023 at how we can minimise that impact. Disconnections and the absence of contracts automatically lead to higher administrative network losses for the network operator. Measures implemented by the national government in partnership with suppliers and network operators kept the number of disconnections and customers without a contract to a manageable level.

We rely partly on the efforts of the police and judiciary, with whom we have collaborative agreements, to help us detect fraud. In 2023, we continued to improve our fraud detection and recovery of losses suffered due to the absence of contracts for new and existing connections. We recovered more administrative network losses in 2023.

Emissions from buildings

CO₂ consumption in our offices and buildings fell in comparison to 2022. This was primarily due to reduced gas consumption. Part of this was due to leaving the gas-fired Spaklerweg site in 2023 after more than 100 years. The replacement Westpoort core site was put into service in May. Its wooden structure makes Westpoort an office of the future: wood is fully renewable, stores CO₂ and is light-weight, so parts like the foundations require fewer materials. Sustainable energy generation, including the use of solar panels and thermal energy storage, make the site energy-neutral. An energy label is being prepared. The renovated sites in Doetinchem and Leeuwarden were also put into service, in June and October respectively. These sites now also operate without gas. NZEB (nearly zero energy building) calculations were performed for both sites and labels are being prepared. By now 67% of our buildings have been disconnected from the gas network.

The energy purchased for buildings is fully greened through Guarantees of Origin. Sustainability improvements are still being planned for a number of sites in the years to come, such as disconnecting the buildings in Alkmaar and Leiden from the gas network. Removing gas connections does, however, boost electricity consumption. We have also noticed an increased use of electric vehicles, so our sites are being used more for charging.

Emissions from vehicle fleet

In recent years, Alliander has taken steps to improve the sustainability of its vehicle fleet. Fully electric vehicles will become standard for business use. Since July 2023, employees with a lease vehicle have only been able to choose a fully electric vehicle. The percentage of electric vehicles in our vehicle fleet rose to 29.6% last year (up 5.2% compared to 2022). We expect our lease vehicle fleet to use completely fossil-free energy by 2030.
In 2023, we also started the electrification of company vans. About 40 mechanics and technicians are now driving electric vans. They are participating in a programme for electric vehicle use frontrunners using company vans. This gives us the opportunity to gain experience and to learn from driving electric vans. All Alliander employees have NS Business Cards, which allow them to use public transport for their work. In this context it was also agreed that the commuting allowance for car or bicycle use should be similar to the average cost per kilometre of second-class public transport. In 2022, the travel allowance was therefore raised temporarily to 19 cents per kilometre. For official travel kilometres, the allowance was raised from 19 to 28 cents per kilometre. We extended the travel allowance scheme in 2023. 

Footprint of IT equipment

Our IT facilities are responsible for a large part of Alliander’s electricity consumption and carbon emissions. The measurements for 2022 were published in mid-2023, the figures for 2023 will follow in mid-2024. Data centres had the highest contribution to our overall CO2 footprint (77%) in 2022, followed by computers (10%) and decentralised networks (10%). Alliander’s digitisation organisation is taking measures to reduce the energy usage and carbon emissions of the IT equipment. Their efforts focus on equipment in offices, Alliander’s data centres, cloud services and equipment being used to work from home, which is issued or registered by Alliander. In 2022, the total carbon footprint was 2,217 tons of CO2. As we included the energy usage of the operational technical data centres in the measurements for the first time in 2022, the total CO2 footprint cannot be compared to previous years. In order to reduce emissions, our efforts in 2023 included improving the efficiency of the data centres and replacing desktop computers with laptops and other more energy-efficient systems. We are phasing out desktop computers and fax machines as much as possible and replacing power-hungry multifunctionals with more energy-efficient models.

Top level on the CO2 performance ladder

We assess our approach to and the reduction of our climate footprint based on the criteria for the CO2 performance ladder. We have now performed at the highest level for several years. This demonstrates our understanding and implementation of the following:

  • Our own footprint (level 1)

  • Possible reduction measures (level 2)

  • Our capability of actually implementing those measures (level 3)

  • Transparency regarding our performance and ambitions (level 4)

  • Innovations with our supply chain partners (level 5)

CO2 performance is an assessment criterion for tenders. We know the carbon emissions of our main suppliers and are committed to the government’s CO2 reduction programme. In 2023, an interim assessment of the operation and scope of our certification was performed externally by our certification body and confirmed.

Air emissions 

Apart from its focus on carbon emissions, Alliander is also looking at emissions of other (non-greenhouse) substances in the air. Examples of these are nitrogen (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), chlorinated substances and halogenated hydrocarbons (CFC-x, Halon-x, CCl4, HFC-x). The investigation into emissions of these substances performed in 2023 revealed that particulate matter, NOx, SOx and CO are Alliander’s most relevant emitted substances. The business activities with the greatest impact on the investigated emissions are transport and network losses. Petrol used for transport is the biggest source of particulate matter and CO emissions. Network losses are the biggest source of NOx and SOx emissions. We were advised to conduct a more in-depth investigation into the biggest emission sources. Most of the recommendations to reduce emissions match the CO2 reduction measures. We will be aligning ourselves with the existing GHG (CO2) approach. The conclusions of this investigation will be discussed in 2024, including the calculation model that aligns with Alliander’s impact model. Based on this, an action plan will be drawn up in 2024.

Soil emissions 

Many of Alliander’s energy networks are buried underground. The management of these networks may cause soil contamination. Since 2018, we have known that minor prolonged gas leaks may cause benzene contamination in the soil. Netbeheer Nederland has since conducted several investigations with contributions from Alliander to determine the nature, scale and risks of this contamination to employees and the physical living environment. Based on the investigations in 2022, a ‘Benzene soil contamination due to gas leaks’ action framework was drawn up. Alliander uses this action framework as a guideline for handling possible benzene contamination due to gas leaks. Another form of soil contamination is caused by oil pressure cables. These cables were used in the past for the transmission of higher voltages (>50 kV). The oil provides the electrical insulation. If the sheath of an oil pressure cable is damaged, this may cause local soil contamination. In order to prevent this, Alliander has a policy in place to limit damage to oil pressure cables, to track down possible leaks and to eliminate the consequences of them.

Science-based targets

Science-based targets are business objectives that align with the two-degree scenario in the Paris Agreement. In 2023, we spent a lot of time and effort preparing to sign up to the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) for verification in 2024. In 2020, it was determined that Alliander’s CO2 reduction policy for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions is in line with the science-based targets. This goal can be broken down into the maximum CO2 emissions per sector and maximum CO2 emissions per company. This is known as the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach. In Alliander’s specific case, this scenario means a total CO2 reduction of about 21% by 2025 in comparison to 2020 and 42.4% by 2030, in line with our current CO2 reduction policy. We are also obliged in 2024 to define our objectives for scope 3 emissions for the final verification.  

Climate risks and adaptation


Alliander aspires to be future-proof. One aspect of this is dealing effectively with the risks and opportunities presented by climate change. These risks may be physical, e.g. flooding, but they can also be related to the business and commercial environment; e.g. changes to the tax regime. Alliander uses the guidelines of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as the starting point for its approach. Following on from this, climate risks have been part of the Alliander risk management framework since 2021. This means that climate risks are included in the annual risk session with the Management Board. 

Outcomes in 2023 and follow-up action

The results of the 2023 risk session indicate a potentially high risk of damage and loss of company assets due to flooding. The effects of drought and high temperatures can also pose a risk to the continuity of our operations. During the analysis of the results, we concluded that more research on climate scenarios is needed to increase the accuracy of our assessment of the possible risks due to climate change. A Climate Adaptation working group is investigating the potential physical effects of climate change on network components and energy infrastructure under the Netbeheer Nederland banner. The group is also developing proposals for climate adaptation measures in line with the TCFD’s recommendation. 

Physical risks and opportunities

Our physical risks mainly stem from supply chain effects in the event of extreme weather conditions and flooding. This involves potential damage to our own components or TenneT’s high-voltage pylons. Given the low elevation of some of our service areas, rising sea levels also pose a risk. Having to deal with higher temperatures more frequently also leads to higher electricity consumption, as homes and businesses will have to be cooled more.

Transition risks and opportunities

Our networks are an indispensable element for ensuring a successful transition to a sustainable energy supply. The transition offers opportunities: growing electrification in society and the growth of green gas feed-in in our networks. But there are also transition risks: the demanding but unavoidable pace at which we must fulfil our task, and phasing out the gas infrastructure.

Physical risks

Possible effects

Extreme weather events like drought, heat waves, wildfires and heavy rainfall

Damage to infrastructure
Power outages
Damage at suppliers, in the energy supply chain and to transmission infrastructure

Rising sea level

Damage to energy supply chain, assets and at customers

Increasing average temperature

Damage to company assets
Pest damage/insect plagues
More demand for air conditioning, cooling, etc.

Transition risks

Possible effects

Technological innovation and market changes

Decrease in natural gas distribution in our networks in combination with the transition to other sources for heating
Limitations in available workforce
More and more consumers are becoming ‘prosumers’
Electrification of society
Energy storage
Opportunities for hydrogen

Changes in policy and regulation

Cost allocation of energy transition
Carbon pricing


Under the Dutch Nature Protection Act, we are already bound by spatial requirements in our building and construction activities. In addition to that statutory duty, we want to focus more intensively in our operational processes on minimising or mitigating damage to biodiversity. To give an example, we are now working on standards for sustainable power station design. Following a successful pilot in which sheep were used instead of mowing, we embedded this structurally into our mowing policy for Westwoud station in 2023. The experiment into reducing the nutrients in the soil in switching areas was continued in 2023. We implement our mowing policy with the assistance of the Dutch butterfly foundation (Vlinderstichting).

Implementation of biodiversity

We want our infrastructure to add positive value to biodiversity from 2030 onwards. In order to achieve this, we have improved our internal organisation so that we can now work towards this. This year, Naturalis and the Impact Institute developed a management model showing how an organisation like Alliander should be embedding biodiversity in its organisation and driving results. This management model is being offered to the sector, allowing them to benefit from it as well. In addition, we launched an analysis to investigate where Alliander is impacting biodiversity and how high that impact is. Finally, we published an Inspiration Guide in 2023, which presents an overview of a series of successful facilities that promote biodiversity and which provides insight into possibilities for making energy infrastructure more nature-inclusive. This guide is being offered to the sector, so that we can work on developing a sectoral standard.

Ecological Main Infrastructure

Alliander participates in a broader coalition of infrastructure companies, which considers opportunities to manage and connect the land they own for large-scale nature recovery. In total, the national infrastructure companies in the Netherlands manage roughly 900km2 of land, so a collaboration among these companies to promote biodiversity will have a national impact. The ‘Ecologische Hoofdinfrastructuur’ (Ecological Main Infrastructure) project started in 2020. In 2023, a new dimension was added to the partnership with the ‘Agenda Natuurinclusief’ (Nature-Inclusive Agenda). The initiators of this agenda, intended for nature recovery in all non-Natura 2000 areas, include the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Association of Provincial Authorities (IPO). Alliander will be signing the ‘Agenda Natuurinclusief’ in 2024.