We act in an economically responsible way on our journey towards carbon neutrality.
Economic responsibility is a basic requirement for our operations. With our operations, we create value for our customers and for society, as well as for our owner, the City of Helsinki.
We aim to increase the market share of our current products in a profitable way and to launch new and innovative energy solutions and services on the market. We also aim to improve the efficiency of our operations in order to ensure the competitiveness of our services and continuity of our operations.
Helen achieved an excellent result under exceptional circumstances due to good commercial operations, although year 2020 was characterised by the coronavirus pandemic and warmer than normal winter, resulting in a decrease in net sales. The company’s customer numbers grew to record high levels amongst the electricity contract and heat customers. The net sales of the solutions business doubled, and we invested 4 million euros in growth companies.
During 2020, we continued the planning and implementation of our extensive investment programme. We aim to make progressive investments in reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy, and to make use of all the opportunities offered by new technologies on our journey towards carbon neutrality.
Helen is investing especially in increasing renewable energy in district heat production, recycling of energy with heat pumps and the security of supply in the energy networks.
In 2020, we invested EUR 59.3 million in reducing emissions and increasing renewable energy (EUR 55.6 million in 2019). Our largest investments were wind power, the cavern heat storage facility in Mustikkamaa, heat pumps, the Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant, and the modernisation of the hydro plant and the Lassila heating plant. We made investment decisions in carbon-neutral production with a total value of EUR 350 million.
In 2020, Helen Ltd paid EUR 68 million in dividends on its owner, the City of Helsinki (EUR 51 million in 2019).
The tax footprint describes our impact on society. In 2020, Helen Ltd and its subsidiaries Oy Mankala Ab, Helen Electricity Network Ltd, Helsingin Energiatunnelit Oy, Tuulipuisto Lakiakangas 3 and Kristinestad Tupaneva Oy paid a total of EUR 116 million in various taxes and tax-like payments (EUR 139 million in 2019). We also have an indirect impact on the tax revenues for the state and several municipalities by employing almost 1,000 people.
Helen Ltd and its subsidiaries pay all their taxes in Finland.
Taxes and tax-like payments 2020
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The Helen Group paid a total of EUR 116 million in taxes and tax-like payments.
Taxes remitted in 2020
to the tax authority
Electricity taxes paid by the customers of the Helen Group, withholding taxes on our employees’ wages, and value added tax amounted to a total of EUR 229 million.
The suppliers and the responsible partner network are important to us. We expect the suppliers of services and goods to join Helen in committing to responsible action in the economic, social and ecological sense.
We actively promote the sustainability of our purchases. We take sustainable development into account in the entire procurement process whenever possible. We also make an effort to take the entire life cycle of products and services into consideration. Our procurement processes comply with the legislation and regulations in accordance with our own ethical guidelines and good business practice. In the procurement process, we ensure that any conflicts of interest have no impact on the handling of purchases or decision-making, and we increase transparency in our supply chain. We do not accept corruption in any shape or form in supplier cooperation, and we act in accordance with our ethical principles.
In connection with competitive tendering, we request all tenderers to submit an account of the way they observe sustainable development in their operations, and we expect our suppliers to commit to the Supplier Code of Conduct of the Helen Group. In addition, taking the nature of procurement into account, we appreciate sustainable development aspects in the comparison criteria of competitive tendering processes. We also ask for further information on individual purchases with respect to, e.g. sustainable development considerations related to the manufacture, use and disposal of products or the provision of a service. We require our contractors to act responsibly and to comply with the law.
We do not accept grey economy in any shape or form. We verify that our suppliers are registered in the trade, prepayment, employer and VAT registers. We also investigate whether the company has paid its taxes and statutory pension insurance contributions, and whether it complies with the collective bargaining agreements for the sector or the key contents of the terms of employment and provides occupational health services.
Furthermore, we monitor together with our suppliers that the agreed matters are carried out also with respect to the subcontractors.
We monitor the responsibility of our suppliers with audits, if necessary, and are a member of the HSEQ cluster. In the cluster, we assess occupational health and safety issues, environmental responsibility and quality output in partnership with other industrial client companies. In addition, in order to assess the responsibility risks of the suppliers from different aspects, we ask our suppliers to respond to our responsibility survey, the objective of which is to improve responsibility throughout our supply chain. If they do not meet Helen’s targets in terms of responsibility, we require our suppliers to carry out remedial measures and draw up development plans in order to improve responsibility.