SSE launches new corporate strategy aligned to SDGs

UK energy firm SSE has unveiled a new sustainability strategy for 2030 aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that will deliver a 50% cut in carbon intensity, trebling its renewable electricity output and facilitating the uptake of 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK.

SSE launches new corporate strategy aligned to SDGs

SSE will also require all senior management to be judged against the delivery of the 2030 strategy

SSE has listed four key targets under the new 2030 strategy that directly align to the SDGs. A goal to cut the carbon intensity of the electricity it generates by 50% is linked to Goal 13: Climate action, while Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy, will see SSE treble its renewable output to 30TWh annually. SSE first announced the 50% carbon reduction on edie’s Mission Possible Pledge Wall during Green GB Week.

The energy firm will also contribute to SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure by accommodating the rollout of 10 million EVs in Great Britain by investing in infrastructure and network flexibility. SSE will also champion Fair Tax and a Living Wage in the UK and Ireland, linked to Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth.

SSE’s new and first chief sustainability officer Rachel McEwen will report directly to chief executive  Alistair Phillips-Davies.

“We’ve put the transformation to a low carbon economy at the heart of our strategy and these measures demonstrate how seriously we take that commitment.  Our ambition is to be a leading energy company in a low carbon world,” Phillips-Davies said.

“The four ambitious objectives underpin what our businesses stand for and our investment in long-term, sustainable, low carbon assets and infrastructure will contribute to the UK and Ireland’s climate change targets while building a fairer and more prosperous society.”

As well as appointing a chief sustainability officer, SSE will also require all senior management to be judged against the delivery of the 2030 strategy.

A for SSE

SSE increased its CDP Climate score from a B to an A- last year. It is also the first FTSE100 company to achieve the independent Fair Tax Mark accreditation in 2014 and every year since and was accredited as a Living Wage employer in 2013.

The company is also among the 16 firms which have co-founded a new forum aimed at helping Europe’s business community champion sustainable finance and impact investing.

Last year, SSE issued its second green bond worth €650m, confirming the big six supplier as the largest issuer of green bonds from the UK corporate sector at the time.

Dame Sue Bruce, independent Chair of SSE’s Remuneration Committee, said: “Through this new approach, very clear and ambitious environmental, social and economic sustainable goals have now been cemented into the business strategy. Aligning directly those aims to how executive directors and other senior managers are rewarded, over time, sets a precedent for how we feel sustainability should be regarded by business leadership. 

“We have received clear feedback from shareholders and stakeholders stating they would welcome climate change and sustainability incentives for senior leaders and I look forward to discussing this with them in the weeks to come.”

Earlier this week, SSE announced that it would close a 485MW unit at the coal-fired Fiddler’s Ferry power station in Warrington.

The SDGs at edie Live 2019

The Sustainable Development Goals are taking centre stage at the UK’s largest sustainability and energy exhibition this year, with an entire Theatre and day dedicated to the topic at edie Live on 21-22 May.

The two-day show – edie’s biggest event of the year – has become a highlight of the calendar for sustainability, energy and environment professionals looking for new ideas and solutions that will help them achieve a low-carbon, resource efficient and profitable future for their business.

Register for your free edie Live 2019 pass here.

Matt Mace

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