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Power sector joins forces to deliver a fair and just net zero transition

11 May 2022

• Newly launched ‘Powering Net Zero Pact’ created as COP26 legacy
• World-leading initiative recognises need for private sector collaboration to reach net zero
• 11 founding partners of Pact operate in >100 countries, have combined turnover of >£55bn and employ >240,000 people
• Pact signatories committed to investing at least £16bn in net zero
• Tangible actions will support human rights, sustainable jobs and local communities, as well as decarbonisation and nature

A global group of companies working across the power sector will today (May 11) join together to create a new initiative to promote a fair and just transition to net zero.

Led by Scottish-headquartered energy company and COP26 principal partner SSE plc, the 11 founding partners have worked together since COP26 to develop the Powering Net Zero Pact.

The Pact sees the firms – which operate in over 100 countries, collectively employ around 240,000 people and have a combined turnover of more than £55bn – promise to uphold a series of social, environmental and corporate commitments.

These include achieving net zero; working towards 1.5°C science-based carbon targets; protecting the natural environment; guaranteeing fair work practices including living wages and freedom of association; targeting human rights risks across global operations; and supporting local communities and supply chains around projects.

Between them, the founding partners are working on some of the largest low-carbon infrastructure projects in the world. These include the 3.6GW Dogger Bank, which will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm £3bn Seagreen, the £580m Viking onshore wind farm, which will be Europe’s most productive onshore wind farm as well as billions of pounds in investment on the electricity transmission and networks.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE Chief Executive, said:

“The climate emergency and the need to secure more stable and affordable energy supplies have accelerated the transition to a low carbon future.

“But as we are all swept-up in the race to net zero we have a duty of care to ensure no one is left behind. And not just in our own operations.

“At SSE we are doing all we can to understand what we need to do to make the transition a fair and just one, on these shores and beyond.

"Collaboration will be key in achieving the best possible impact on lowering emissions and supporting the natural environment whilst ensuring the mistakes of past industrial transformations aren’t repeated."

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE CEO

Alistair continued:

“At SSE we are doing all we can to understand what we need to do to make the transition a fair and just one, on these shores and beyond.

“Today we are very proud to have brought together this coalition of the willing, as we look to translate our experiences and help and learn from others to develop firm action and tangible results. The Powering Net Zero Pact is a perfect example of private companies taking matters into their own hands – not just to reduce carbon, but to make sure people benefit from a fair and just transition too.”

Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy UK & Ireland, said:

“Tackling climate change is an enormous and complex challenge. We can’t do this alone, that’s why Siemens Energy is delighted to join our partner SSE and other businesses to sign the Powering Net Zero Pact. This pact proudly unites key players from our industry and builds on the legacy from COP26 and our collective net-zero commitments.

“We all recognise that what’s good for the planet is ultimately good for business. We are convinced that climate protection and economic growth can be two sides of the same coin."

Clark MacFarlane, Managing Director UK and Ireland, Siemens Gamesa, said:

"As a key supplier to SSE on their major projects, as well as our wider global portfolio, we are hugely supportive of this initiative and the work being undertaken to grow the profile and necessity for delivering renewable generation sustainably.

“We have already taken considerable strides on this journey and are proud of our extremely high environmental credentials and will continue to collaborate with SSE and our other customers and suppliers to reach the ultimate goal of Net Zero."

Alexander Kara, President and CEO of NKT, said:

“I am proud that NKT is one of the founding members to the Powering Net Zero Pact, as we are committed to connecting a greener world in a sustainable way. As one of the world’s major power cable manufacturers we play an important role in the transition to renewable energy and the decarbonization of society, and we are happy to support our partner, SSE, in this great initiative.”

Lisa Ekstrand, VP of sustainability at Vestas, said:

“We are pleased to join SSE and the other founding partners in the collaborative journey towards a just energy transition for net-zero. Ranked as the world’s most sustainable company in 2022 by Corporate Knights, we are already well underway towards these shared commitments, including a SBTi approved target for carbon neutrality of our own operations by 2030, a 45% reduction of supply chain emissions intensity, and the creation of a zero-waste wind turbine. We look forward to working with like-minded companies to further accelerate progress towards a truly sustainable energy system that brings value to all stakeholders in harmony with the natural world.”

Ian Funnell, CEO of Hitachi Energy in the UK, said:

“Collaboration is key to ensure we transition to an energy system fit for a carbon neutral world. We are proud to stand alongside our key partner SSE and the wider industry in signing up to the commitments in this Powering Net Zero Pact today.”

Bruce Clark, Joint Managing Director of RJ McLeod (Contractors) Ltd, said:

“RJ McLeod are delighted to be one of the founding members of the Powering Net Zero Pact and look forward to taking an active role in this initiative in the months and years ahead.”

Marcelo Xavier, EVP Strategy and Sustainability at Subsea 7, said:

“The energy transition is going to be an incredible journey. Through the continuous evolution of lower-carbon oil and gas and by enabling the growth of renewables and emerging energy, Subsea 7 is delighted to be a founding member of the Powering Net Zero Pact and partner with industry to deliver the offshore energy transition solutions the world needs, for today and tomorrow.”

Jo Gilroy, Balfour Beatty UK Director of Sustainability, said:

“We are delighted to have joined together with SSE on their journey to reach Net Zero, coming together to help combat the global challenge of climate change.

“The industry has a key role to play in abating the consequences of global warming. As a key customer, Balfour Beatty remain committed to working alongside SSE in helping identify new solutions and technologies to drive net zero outcomes; constructing low-carbon infrastructure for generations to come.”

The Pact is a legacy of the UN climate change conference, COP26, which was held in Glasgow and SSE was a principal partner.

The launch is six months on from the event and took place at the All Energy Conference at the city’s Science Centre today (May 11).

The pact is built around five areas of ambition, five shared commitments and five topics for collaboration, and is strategically driven by being aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The five areas of ambition are: Achieve net zero carbon emissions; Protect and enhance the natural environment; Transition to a circular economy; Guarantee fair work and sustainable jobs; add value to local communities.

The five shared commitments: Work towards science-based carbon targets, aligned to 1.5 degrees; Disclose wider environment metrics; Set waste reduction targets and incorporate circularity; Create a roadmap for net zero skills and guarantee fair work standards; Identify shared responsible developer, constructor and operator principles.

The five topics for collaboration are: Quantification of scope 3 carbon emissions; Frameworks for achieving Biodiversity Net Gain; Innovative products and methods for reducing waste; Targeting human rights risk across global supply chains; Supporting competitive, local supply chains close to assets.

Read more about the Powering Net Zero Pact here.