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Strengthened 2030 business goals reflect net zero acceleration

08 Feb 2022

It’s been three years since we became one of the first companies to set out 2030 sustainability goals, aligned the UN Global Goals for sustainable development. The seriousness with which we take these goals was also demonstrated by the fact we became the first company also to link them to executive remuneration.

This is not paying lip service. This is combining purpose and profit for the greater good to tackle the climate emergency.

When we first set these goals in 2019, they were stretching targets. What’s amazing is how quickly they became seriously out of date – which is a fantastic reflection of the progress the company has made in that time.

That’s why it was right we upweighted these to ensure we’re continuing to push ourselves – and others – further and faster in the pursuit of our shared agenda.

Going harder in cutting carbon intensity – from a 50% reduction to 80% – is what I call ‘net zero acceleration in action’ and is exactly what everyone was calling for at COP26.

But there’s more we can do as a business in support of a sustainable future. No longer targeting a trebling of renewable energy output by 2030, we aim to increase output fivefold. Reflecting exactly what the UK, Ireland (and others) need to do to decarbonise electricity as quickly as possible.

In terms of networks, our original 10m EVs on GB roads target was written before net zero was a law, and the Future Energy Scenarios didn’t even model net zero. But now – we’ve got localised future energy scenarios (called the DFES) and an ED2 plan – which means we can be more specific on what it all means for our own networks. And – the importance of the north of Scotland Transmission network cannot be overstated in its contribution to Scotland’s and the UK’s carbon targets.

Finally – our fourth goal – which was always value driven, “how we conduct ourselves”, has matured to place a focus on our global leadership on the just transition as an ongoing goal for us to achieve. This is an important statement to say, tackling climate change is not just about technical solutions to carbon emissions. It’s about people: the lives and their livelihoods. The transition to net zero needs to be fair to consumers, working people and their communities too.

Achieving net zero requires a relentless focus, huge swathes of investment and the strategic foresight to go about it in a way that creates a cleaner, greener, and fairer world for the future.

Our Net Zero Acceleration Programme, announced in November, ramped up the pace and scale of our ambitions with £12.5bn of investment to 2026 – or £7m a day – in developing and building the low-carbon infrastructure needed to decarbonise.

Our 2030 Goals ensure SSE’s might is focused on the areas that can simultaneously create value for shareholders and for society for the long term.