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Hard coal & Bettercoal

For a sustainable value chain

In order to be in a position to exert more pressure and meet demands for sustainable production and transport conditions in the supply chain for hard coal, collaboration with other energy companies is absolutely essential. Therefore, in 2012 we joined forces with other large European energy suppliers to launch the Bettercoal initiative. By the end of 2021, 12 large energy companies had joined Bettercoal. Dutch ports, where most of the coal imported into Europe is landed, have also become associate members of the initiative.

Objective: improving standards in coal production

Through audits in coal mines worldwide and binding measures to alleviate problems that have been identified, Bettercoal is ensuring better environmental protection, better mining and working conditions and that the interests of people living in mining regions are further taken into account. Bettercoal leads to an intensive dialogue with all stakeholders and affected parties, including mine operators. Further information, for example on participating coal mines, can be found on the Bettercoal website.

It is Bettercoal’s objective to bring about improvements in all important production companies and to raise the environmental and social standards in coal production to levels that are globally acceptable.

Continuous improvement 

Bettercoal has developed an extensive catalogue of criteria for the audits. This is accessible to the public via the Bettercoal website. It is based on widely accepted international regulations and standards, for example those set out by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation (ILO). The catalogue of criteria provides the basis for the binding, regular audits that Bettercoal suppliers have committed to. External auditors ensure that the evaluations are unbiased. The audits result in a “Continuous Improvement Plan”. They contain agreed and binding measures that must be implemented by the coal producers. External auditors monitor the implementation of these measures.

Audit results 

Detailed results from the audits are made available to the Bettercoal member companies. For interested parties, Bettercoal publishes summaries of the audits on its website, which show the results achieved and progress made by individual coal producers.

Bettercoal at RWE

Our collaboration with Bettercoal has been successful. All lignite produced by RWE and most of our hard coal procurement is covered by the initiative. This means that a total of 99,8% of coal along our value chain was audited by Bettercoal in 2021.


Percentage in 2021

Hard coal procured from Bettercoal supplier
(as % of total volume procured for end use)


Lignite produced as Bettercoal supplier
(as % of total volume produced at RWE)


Overall share of Bettercoal-audited coal at RWE


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