UN Goals-planet-protection

Strategic plan


  • Minimize our environmental impact en route to carbon neutrality
  • Manage water even more sustainably by improving our understanding of our impacts and dependencies
  • Work with suppliers, contractors, and customers to improve resource efficiency and embrace life-cycle approaches
  • Support the transition toward a circular economy, including minimizing waste production as well as maximizing reuse and recycling
  • Enhance the biodiversity of our operations and new developments


  • Have no severe environmental incidents
  • Maintain certification of 100% of Uniper’s operational assets to ISO 14001
  • Develop a science-based strategy to measure and enhance the biodiversity of our operations and new projects by 2022

Emissions to air, land, and water

Energy production results in the emission of greenhouse gases as well sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, and wastewater. Their release could impact air, water, and/or soil quality. We address these risks by ensuring that we meet all legal requirements and by implementing improvement programs where required. In addition, our expertise in combustion technology enables us to further reduce our facilities’ impact by using best-available techniques, including for emission abatement.


kilotons of SO2emissions

SO2 results primarily from the combustion of sulfurous coal. Flue-gas desulfurization equipment captures about 90% of our SO2 emissions and prevents them from entering the atmosphere. We emitted 12.3 kilotons of SO2emissions, 3.9 kilotons more than in 2020.


kilotons of NOx emissions

Most NOx emissions are produced from the reaction between nitrogen and oxygen during combustion at high temperatures. Our gas- and coal-fired power stations emit NOx. Our NOx emissions increased by 4.7 kilotons in 2021.


kilotons of dust emissions

Despite extensive filtering, the burning of coal and lignite in power stations results in some dust emissions. Dust refers to particles with a diameter of 10 and 2.5 microns. Our dust (or particulate) emissions were 173 tons higher in 2021 than in the previous year.

Continually improving our environmental performance

We actively manage our operations to minimize their negative environmental and social impacts. To minimize environmental risks, we have environmental management systems in place that are certified to ISO 14001, an internationally recognized standard. In 2021 all operational facilities maintained their ISO 14001 certification. Furthermore, all our fossil-fueled power plants and energy storage facilities in Germany have ISO 50001 energy management systems in place.


of our operational facilities maintained their ISO 14001 certification in 2021.


of our fossil-fueled power plants and energy storage facilities in Germany retained their ISO 50001 certification.

Water use and optimization

Water is an essential resource for the generation of energy. When we develop businesses in parts of the world where water scarcity is a more urgent issue, we must be particularly vigilant. In 2021, we withdrew 10.4 billion cubic meters of water, which is an increase from 2020 (9.1 billion cubic meters). The main reason was the increase in our power output. In 2021, we improved of our processes for collecting water data. This resulted in an increase in our recorded water use. 97% of the water we withdrew in 2021 was discharged back to the source.

10.4 billion

cubic meters of water withdrawn


of withdrawn water discharged back to the source

Circular use of by-products

We strive to market the by-products of power generation, which replace virgin materials and thus conserve resources. Doing so enhances our operating efficiency, margins, market position, and reputation. It’s also good for the communities and natural habitats near our assets. We sold, recovered, or disposed of 1.58 million metric tons of pulverized fly ash,furnace bottom ash, and gypsum in 2021. Almost 97% was recovered or sold.

1.58 million

metric tons of by-products from coal-fired power plants


of by-products pulverized fly ash, furnace bottom ash, and gypsum recovered or sold

Waste management

We strive to minimize the waste we generate and improve our waste management. We always try to reuse and recycle as much waste as possible. But our primary objective is to not produce any waste in the first place. We produced 158 kilotons of operational waste in 2021, 8.1 kilotons less than in 2020.

8.1 kilotons

less operational waste

Promoting biodiversity

We recognize that our operations have the potential to impact biodiversity, directly and indirectly. We therefore aim to minimize these risks by complying with applicable laws and regulations and by managing our assets carefully. We also collaborate with government agencies and nature-conservation organizations to promote biodiversity at and near our assets. We contributed five voluntary initiatives to the two companies’ total of 13. During 2022, we’ll develop a science-based strategy to measure and enhance the biodiversity of our operations and new projects.


major voluntary measures conducted in 2021
Dr. Andreas Niehoff Head of Sustainability & Systems

Andreas Niehoff

Head of Sustainability & Systems
picture KB

Kathrin Becker

Head of Sustainability Reporting & Stakeholder Engagement
Anne Hem Sustainability Manager

Anne Hem

Senior Sustainability Manager
Oliver Roeder

Oliver Roeder

Head of Sustainability & Financial Media Communication

Our global presence

We continue to strengthen our presence in key markets, develop innovative solutions and acquire companies in prioritized areas. Uniper solutions are sold to over 100 countries and we currently operate in over 40 countries.