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“Bettercoal”: EDF and its competitors team up to improve corporate responsibility in the coal supply chain

5. Fair Operating Practices

Responsible purchasing


The EDF Group is an integrated utility covering the full energy chain (production, transport, distribution, trading and sale), and serving over 39 million customers worldwide. EDF Trading, one of the Group’s subsidiaries, is a top-tier player in the coal trading market, where it fulfills both the Group’s and other industrial customers’ requirements. Controlling and securing coal supplies are essential for EDF.
The coal supply chain’s economic, social, societal and environmental impacts—especially during extraction—are attracting attention among NGOs, public authorities and business firms. EDF is involved in the Bettercoal initiative to address those issues.


  • Secure coal supplies 
  • Enhance corporate responsibility throughout the supply chain 
  • Positively impact miner working conditions, community living conditions and the environment


To achieve those objectives, utilities needed to build and apply specific mining audit protocols worldwide. EDF took part in this initiative by teaming up with its peers to develop and roll out this Bettercoal standard.Besides the 7 founding energy companies (Dong Energy, EDF, Enel, E.on, GdF Suez, RWE and Vattenfall), Fortum and Gas Natural Fenosa joined the initiative as regular members and Rotterdam Port joined as an associate member. They developed a specific set of self-assessment and audit standards based on existing mining standards and identified the industry’s social, societal, environmental and ethical best practices. A panel of representatives from civil society and mining companies has been appointed to exchange with stakeholders over the long term.  The companies involved strictly comply with competition legislation and anti-trust provisions throughout the initiative. The Bettercoal code was adopted in 2013 after extensive public consultation among stakeholders in South Africa, Colombia, Indonesia, Russia and other countries. The first audits will take place in 2013 and EDF will factor findings into its sourcing organization.


  • Competitors are sharing the Bettercoal Code, audits and self-assessments.
  • The Bettercoal Code and first audits started in 2013.
  • Sourced contracts have secured coal supplies.
  • Developed responsible purchasing.


  • Identified best practices (social, societal and environmental). 
  • Improved working conditions for miners, living conditions in communities, and environmental stewardship and protection. 
  • A more ethical coal supply chain.
159 112 salariés (2015)
75 milliards d’euros (2015)


Martin CHRISTIE, Executive Director, Bettercoal: Tel: +44 7917 214 311

Mise à jour le 26/05/2016

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