Ratings that certify a long-term conviction
Cellnex moves towards its commitment to a fairer and more sustainable planet
These days sustainability has become an element that is inseparable from the activity of people or companies. Although sometimes overused to the point of becoming almost worthless, the popular adjective or noun – depending on how it is used – forms an essential part of our vocabulary and, fortunately, is increasingly a part of our habits.
The word sustainability, and others related to climate change or the environment, are not only widely used in political manifestos but also come in conversations over a coffee or in family gatherings against the backdrop of the climate emergency. Google searches for these types of terms have increased exponentially in recent years and their application in business practices has become a fundamental element in gaining the support of the investment community.
In this totum revolutum of the corporate trend to integrate green practices into business, the clarity, measurability, implementation and communication of the objectives —whether economic, social or environmental in nature— constitute a differentiating element and are beginning to be scrutinised almost as intensely as profit and loss account.
And Cellnex, which is among the corporate pioneers in Spain in promoting ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) matters, and has made sustainability an essential element of its business model since its inception, is currently one of the companies that is most highly valued for its good practices in this area.
“Cellnex’s progression in the various sustainability ratings shows a continuous improvement that highlights our convictions under a long-term vision. This positions us as one of the most committed companies in our sector”, explains Andrea Suarez, senior ESG analyst at the telecommunications infrastructure operator, in an interview.
Cellnex’s gradual performance in these areas translates into a positive progression in the main sustainability ratings, which include references such as CDP Climate Change, Sustainalytics, MSCI, the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), and S&P Global’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), which determines companies’ inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index indices.
For the fourth year in a row, CDP has included the company in its “A List” of companies with the highest rating in terms of climate change. At the head of its sector, it thus consolidates its leadership in transparency and commitment in the fight against climate change. The non-profit organisation this year assessed the environmental practices of more than 18,000 companies worldwide, highlighting that Cellnex has “exhaustive disclosure, awareness and management of environmental risks and has demonstrated best practices associated to environmental leadership, such as setting ambitious and meaningful targets.”
The company has also been recognised by Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year as one of the 484 listed companies most committed to advancing gender equality in the labour market. The index has once again positively assessed the efforts that Cellnex is making in one of the pillars of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) programme, considering its policies focused on improving wage parity, female leadership and the promotion of women in the organisation, among others.
Fully immersed in developing and implementing the actions included in its ESG Master Plan 2021-2025, the Group also improved one and a half points in the ESG risk index from Sustainalytics, placing it among the five best telecoms globally in this area. At the same time, MSCI awarded the company its “A” rating for the second consecutive year, highlighting its leadership in Corporate Governance within the telecommunications services sector. The variable remuneration system for both management and employees is linked to achieving not only financial objectives but also ESG objectives in the 12 countries in which it is present.
“This firm belief in sustainability, as an unequivocal commitment to the long-term vision of the business, is part of our DNA and is integrated from the Board to the Foundation’s social actions involving Cellnex volunteers. This shared conviction and attitude is what marks this pride in belonging and the motto growing together that we are so fond of using.”
The consistent application of these policies has allowed Cellnex to also improve its profile based on the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), rising from a score of 53 in 2017 to 81 in 2022 (c. +53%). In 2022, the telecommunications company improved its performance in the Economic-Governance and Social dimensions (+8 and +15 points respectively), placing it among the 10% of companies with the best rating in the sector, standing out with good practices in human rights and materiality.
It was precisely in relation to materiality (identifying and prioritising the most important environmental, social or corporate governance issues for stakeholders and the company) that Cellnex performed a “double materiality” analysis in 2022. Through this exercise it analysed the financial and environmental impact in the company’s relationship with the surrounding area, but also in that of the surrounding area with the company (how rising temperatures, financial tensions, rising debt, inflation or lack of supplies affect the business in the value chain).
“With this review exercise, which involved the participation of the business units and the expectations and needs of our stakeholders, we performed anticipation and integration work to adapt our ESG strategy to achieve the best results and better identify risks and opportunities”, underscored Angels Ucero, Director of Sustainability and Head of the Cellnex Foundation.
This materiality analysis represents a starting point for updating the company’s strategy priorities. Within this review, Cellnex identified issues beyond the growth of the company, related to matters such as environmental management, people, talent, the value chain, energy transition or climate change. This review will culminate in mid-2023 to adjust the current ESG Master Plan that ends in 2025, and which is already aligned to meet the carbon neutrality commitment in 2035, before the great “net zero” goal set for 2050 and aligned with the Paris Agreements.