Vestas outlines pathway to circularity

Source: press release, 13 October 2021

photo: Vestas
photo: Vestas

Vestas, global provider of sustainable energy solutions, has launched a new circularity roadmap, detailing a comprehensive set of commitments to be implemented across its value chain to accelerate its journey to reach zero-waste turbines by 2040. Through the roadmap, Vestas aims to set a new benchmark for the wind industry within circularity and waste reduction as the first wind industry leader to implement a broad circularity approach. By maturing its circularity plan, Vestas aims to develop the first fully circular wind turbine, capable of keeping turbine materials in circulation across the value chain for longer than ever before.

“Eliminating waste from the turbine lifecycle is dependent on building a fully circular value chain. To succeed in this journey, it’s crucial for industry leaders to build mature pathways towards circularity and ensure these are fully adopted across their value chains, as this will help nurture the technological innovation, material volume and stakeholder collaboration needed to grow an industry-wide circular economy. This approach is at the heart of Vestas’ circularity roadmap, and through it, we aim to pave the way towards a fully circular economy for the wind industry,” says Lisa Ekstrand, Senior Director and Head of Sustainability at Vestas.

The roadmap marks an evolution of the previously announced ambition to produce zero-waste turbines by 2040, launched as part of Vestas’ global sustainability strategy entitled “Sustainability in everything we do”. It adds more detailed and more ambitious commitments, as well as organisational governance to execute on these commitments. The roadmap also outlines circularity pathways for Vestas’ entire value chain by setting new targets across three key areas: design, operations and material recovery.

In design, the roadmap increases the ambition level from last year’s announcement by adding commitments to increase material efficiency by 90%, achieve 100% rotor recyclability and reduce in supply chain waste by 50%, all by 2030. Across operations, Vestas is committing to expand efforts to refurbish and reuse turbine components, whilst regionalising its repair and refurbishment infrastructure where possible.

While the major components of a turbine are largely refurbished already, the roadmap commits Vestas to achieve a 55% total refurbished component utilisation by 2030 and 75% by 2040, in large part by creating new repair loops for minor components. This will lead to further waste reduction, while cutting carbon emissions and driving local job creation.

Within material recovery, Vestas is committing to reduce the amount of manufacturing waste ending up in landfill to less than 1%, along with ensuring more than 94% of manufacturing materials are recycled by 2030. This marks a significant increase from 52% of materials being recycled today.

The new circularity roadmap will ensure that Vestas can continue to offer competitive and differentiated solutions, that provide busines-case certainty for customers in an evolving global energy market environment. With sustainability metrics becoming increasingly integrated into the sales tender process, and regulation around waste management and circularity practises tightening in certain markets such as France and The Netherlands, waste reduction is becoming an increasingly prevalent factor in market dynamics across the European energy landscape.

Through its ongoing circularity journey, Vestas aims to accelerate industrywide adoption of circularity practises by fostering a close collaboration with all stakeholders across its value chain, and by leveraging its industry-leading scale, and extensive supply chain network.