Italian gas distributor Italgas has been recognised for its approaches to sustainability and methane emissions reductions.
In terms of sustainability, Italgas has been included for the first time in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe and confirmed for the third consecutive year in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index World.
The two indexes are managed by S&P Global and are based on the performance of companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.
Italgas was named one of the three sustainability leaders in the ‘Gas Utilities’ category and achieved the highest score (90 points out of 100) out of 28 companies assessed in the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment.
The achievement – an improvement of 8 points versus last year – is a recognition of the company’s strong commitment to all aspects of sustainability across its entire value chain, its daily activities and growth strategy, it says in a statement.
In the commentary on gas utilities, S&P Global note the need for them to explore new business models based on clean energies, such as biogas, wind and solar, or power-to-gas technologies. In addition, building stakeholder trust and increasing the safety, reliability and energy efficiency of operations are key requirements for the industry.
Italgas was also assigned the ‘Gold Standard’ for its methane reduction targetting in the first edition of the annual report of the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) released by the United Nations Environment Programme.
Methane emissions are gaining a higher profile alongside CO2 emissions with their growing concentration highlighted by the IPCC in the latest ‘Physical Science Basis’ for climate change. According to the report, if methane continues to grow at rates similar to those observed over the past decade, it will contribute to decadal scale climate change and hinder the achievement of the Paris Agreement.
Italgas was highlighted for its “ambitious targets and detailed plans for direct measurements” of methane, with “credible timelines, targets and technology deployments on an asset-by-asset basis”.
These include an 83% reduction in emissions by 2025 – the largest of any company with a listed target – supported with the adoption of laser-based leak detection technology that is faster and can achieve a methane detection accuracy in parts per billion compared with the parts per million of traditional methodologies.
With this, Italgas says the result is annual verification of its entire network and measurement of actual emissions, along with the development of an algorithm capable of calculating annual emissions based on the actual leakage rate of each material or component of the network.
In addition, analysing field data from verification, specific asset replacement and maintenance programmes have been implemented to reduce the possibility of future emissions.
“Italgas firmly believes that reducing methane emissions is the main challenge facing gas DSOs, for safety reasons and to contribute to European environmental goals,” the company said in a statement.
“Italgas has taken a leadership role in the gas DSO industry joining the OGMP 2.0 initiative from the outset and encouraging proactive methane emission reduction behaviours among its peers.”