“Incorporating ESG into a business strategy is not just another trend but a matter of survival”

December 22, 2021 9:28 am

Jordi Garcia Tabernero (PDD 02), director general of Sustainability, Reputation and Institutional Relations at Naturgy

Born in 1964 in Barcelona, Jordi Garcia Tabernero has a degree in Information Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a Master’s Degree from Esade in Management Development in Public Administration. In the course of his career, he has held senior positions in the realm of communications in public administrations and different media. Since joining Naturgy in 2004, he has been responsible for the areas of External and Internal Communication, Corporate Marketing and Brand, Institutional Relations and Sustainability. He is also VP of the Naturgy Foundation.

-After graduating from Esade, you have held many positions of responsibility in the sphere of communication in the course of your career. What Esade values would you say have accompanied you during your career?
Everyone who studies at Esade shares a set of values that we place at the service of society in an attempt to improve it. Of all these values, I would emphasise those that have always accompanied me and that I’ve tried to apply throughout my career.
First of all, integrity and honesty. Regardless of the circumstances, managers must always be upright and honest. Any other path is doomed to failure.
Secondly, respect and sensitivity for others. Respect is the basis of any relationship, either personal or professional. We must respect others, be approachable and help people when necessary.
Finally, responsibility and commitment to society. People and companies are not separate entities, we are part of a single whole, i.e. society. Managers must always remember that we have responsibilities towards others and so I have always insisted on the importance of companies contributing to the social development of the regions in which they operate. This is what is often referred to today as “corporate citizenship.” All this whilst always managing teams and projects with passion and an innate curiosity and desire to learn new things.

-You have been a member of Esade Alumni for many years and still are. What value do you place on being a member of this community?
Esade Alumni enables me to be in constant contact with a global community of leaders committed to society. Thanks to the Esade Alumni network, you can contact people with similar interests, and it even provides opportunities of finding travel companions with whom you can launch joint ventures or projects.
My two children, Jordi and Maria, are now finishing their BBA on the Sant Cugat campus and, without any shadow of a doubt, I will recommend them to join and use this vast network of contacts. A network of professionals who share Esade’s values, and whose example and advice will help them grow professionally and personally.

– You joined Gas Natural (now Naturgy) almost 17 years ago in 2004. How has the company changed in the interim period?
In these 17 years, the company has changed completely from being mainly a gas company focused on Spain to an international utility company operating in almost 20 countries and clearly committed to renewable energies.
Another massive change has been the integration of sustainability criteria into the company’s overall management. I would particularly highlight our commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, our commitment to gender parity especially at management levels, and the rejuvenation of the company by hiring young talent.
In terms of communications and marketing, the drive towards going global in this period has also been quite radical as regards the sale of products and customer service and relations with our different stakeholders.
Another of the major changes I have experienced personally has been the company’s rebranding: firstly to Gas Natural Fenosa in 2009 after the acquisition of Unión Fenosa, and later, in 2018, to Naturgy. Our brand, one of the company’s most important assets, had to reflect the strategic shift towards natural, renewable energies, and I think we have achieved this with Naturgy. Rebranding is an extremely sensitive, critical and far-reaching issue. It is one of the issues that can leave a positive or negative impact on a manager’s career.
Finally, but this is something that is already part of the normal evolution of any company, our company has tailored its organisational structure to suit industrial, commercial and market needs.


“Esade Alumni enables me to be in constant contact with a global community of leaders committed to society”


– The transformation of recent years has been remarkable and doesn’t seem to have ended. In fact, at the end of July, Naturgy presented a new Strategic Plan until 2025. What will your lines of action for the next five years be?
Under the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, Naturgy will bolster its role in the energy transition and decarbonisation by focussing on renewable energy, electricity distribution networks and the development of sustainable new energy vectors such as hydrogen and renewable gases.
The plan outlines our intention of investing €14bn to reach the targets we have set ourselves. In addition we want to do all this in countries with robust regulatory frameworks in order to provide even more help for our businesses going digital, with considerable emphasis on ESG.

-The presentation of this new Strategic Plan was accompanied by a new Sustainability Plan. What does this mean, and why are ESG considerations important for companies?
Naturgy’s entire Strategic Plan is indeed part of a strong commitment to ESG. This roadmap includes a Sustainability Plan that was unanimously approved by our board of directors and has robust environmental, social and governance targets for 2025.
The main aims of this plan are zero emissions by 2050, some 60% of installed capacity to run on renewable sources by the end of that period, gender parity by 2030, and more than 40% of executive and managements posts to be occupied by women by 2025. In order for all this to become part of way the company’s executives are managed, we have launched an initiative to increase the impact of ESG compliance on the remuneration of the management teams.
In this respect, I am very proud to say that Naturgy was one of the first Spanish companies to create a Sustainability Committee within the board of directors to monitor compliance with ESG targets and also challenges. We did so in the conviction that whilst conducting their business, companies must respect the planet and society. Incorporating ESG into the strategy and core of each company is not just another trend but a question of survival.


“One of the main targets in Naturgy’s Strategic Plan is to become carbon-neutral by 2050”


-Speaking of commitments to society, in recent months we have witnessed unprecedented increases in the price of electricity. What is the real reason for this rise and what specific measures is Naturgy implementing to help consumers?
The higher electricity prices of recent months is a complex issue caused by several factors: an increase in the price of emission rights, gas producing countries charging higher prices on international markets … At Naturgy we have once again decided to help society by launching a campaign called Compromiso, a new rate available to all types of customers (household, commerce and industry) with a fixed energy price of €65/MWh for the next three years.
The aim of this campaign, which has a far lower price than the €200/MWh recorded in recent weeks, is to enable individuals and companies to dissociate their energy bills from current market fluctuations and thereby help alleviate the impact of soaring prices on customers and our country’s economy.
I think this highlights our social sensitivity and the fact that we don’t just say things, we also do things, in other words, a shift from “storytelling” to “storydoing”. Having a business purpose obviously helps you focus on the things that are important for your customers and society, and Naturgy’s business purpose is “to transform the world through energy whilst resolutely addressing the challenges of the energy transition and the demands of society and our customers.”