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Energy, Biomass Power Company Drax Names Chief Sustainability Officer: 5 Things to Know

September 7, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Energy and power generation company Drax has hired Miguel Veiga-Pestana as chief sustainability officer, reporting into Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner.

Here are five things to know about Veiga-Pestana and the overall Drax sustainability strategy.

1. Business Scope and Scale: Drax, based in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, has roughly 3,000 employees. The company's business focus includes electricity generation; electricity sales to business customers; and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties.

Although Drax has been shifting aggressively into the renewable energy market, the company in 2021 was removed from the S&P Global Clean Energy Index amid doubts over the sustainability of its wood-burning power plant, Argo & Chemistry reported at the time. 

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station -- which supplies 5% of the country’s electricity needs. The company also has 19 operational pellet plants that support renewable energy power customers in Europea and Asia. The plants leverage materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests.

2. North America Expansion: Drax in May 2023 announced plans to establish a North American headquarters for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) in Houston, Texas. The new office will serve customers across the United States and Canada. The company is investing roughly $36 million in the United States, Reuters reported in February 2023.

3. Sustainability Commitments: Drax Group is striving to be carbon negative by 2030. That effort will leverage bioenergy, carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

4. Executive Experience: Veiga-Pestana previously held key posts at British multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Unilever.

Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group
Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group

5. Executive Perspectives: In a prepared statement about hiring Veiga-Pestana, Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said: “I am delighted to welcome Miguel into this critical role at Drax and I look forward to working with him to deliver on our corporate strategy, including generating dispatchable renewable power, building BECCS facilities around the world, becoming a major player in the carbon dioxide removal (CDRs) market and maintaining our leadership position in the production and sale of sustainable biomass.”

Added Veiga-Pestana: “Drax has the potential to play a significant role in tackling climate change and I welcome the opportunity to join the business at such a critical moment in its journey. During my career I have focused on building and protecting reputation, purpose and embedding sustainability into core strategy and feel that this experience is closely aligned to Drax’s growth ambitions."

Drax Sustainability Strategy: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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