Sourcing - Drax
Biomass sourcing

We only source from working forests that grow back and stay as forests. Our biomass is manufactured to a high density so it’s easy to transport in bulk and we have made considerable investment to ensure that our supply chain is as low carbon as possible. Because of this, we can go outside Britain to the places that have huge, well established working forests and source low-grade and low-value material from woodlands that also supply local wood-based industries, such as construction, furniture and flooring.

Our biggest suppliers are in North America. Through our sustainable supply chain we can take compressed wood pellets across the Atlantic for a remarkably low cost. Even when factoring in the small carbon emissions involved in manufacturing and transportation in our supply chain, our use of biomass still cuts our carbon emissions by more than 80% overall compared to coal.

Our principles for sustainable sourcing:

  1. We never work in countries that lack proper regulation
  2. We never cause deforestation or forest decline
  3. We never source from areas that are officially protected or where our activities harm endangered species
  4. We only take wood from working forests that grow back and stay as forests
  5. We require all our suppliers to pass tough screening and sustainability audits, conducted by independent auditors 

Drax is committed to the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), and as such operates a due diligence system to assess the risk of the wood pellets we purchase being from illegal sources.

Coal sourcing

As we have upgraded half the power station to produce electricity from wood pellets, clearly our need for coal has reduced. However, it is important that we continue to secure reliable coal supply from known sources and from jurisdictions and counterparties that are vetted against our various compliance policies. We avoid buying “generic” coals, where the origin can be uncertain, either bilaterally or over trading platforms.

Coal sourcing is overseen by our Compliance, Sustainability and Risk teams and we carry out appropriate due diligence around our coal sourcing. Where our checks raise any “red-flags” we undertake further targeted due diligence and will ultimately engage with Drax’s Ethics and Business Conduct Committee if that is deemed necessary.

We buy coal from a range of sources with the objectives of managing our commercial exposures, environmental obligations and diversity of supply.

When buying from overseas we have continued to require, through our contracts, that suppliers meet standards in respect of compliance with legislation, human rights, labour relations and health and safety arrangements. To this end Drax is an active member of an initiative called Bettercoal. This is a not-for-profit organisation founded by a number of major European coal generators that sets out to encourage mining companies to demonstrate that they operate in a socially responsible way.