Targets and performance

Our 2020/21 performance

Our 2030 goals

SSE has set four fundamental goals for 2030 which put sustainability at the heart of our business.

Our business strategy places addressing the challenge of climate change at the very core of what we do – that’s why we have deliberately decided to link 2030 business goals to the UN’s global goals for sustainable development (the SDGs).

The SDGs which we define as ‘highly material’ to our business and to which our strategy and operations align are: SDG13 Climate action; SDG7 Affordable and clean energy; SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure; and SDG8 Decent work and economic growth. SSE’s 2030 Goals for the company, which are linked to executive remuneration, are aligned to these highly material SDGs. Click on the tabs below to see our progress against each goal.

In addition, SSE defines a further four SDGs as ‘material’ to its business: SDG10 Reduced inequalities; SDG12 Responsible consumption and production; SDG14 Life below water; and SDG15 Life on land. Read more about our contribution to these SDGs within the Sustainability Report.

SSE made important strategic progress in 2020/21 towards achievement of its science-based 2030 goal to cut by 60% the carbon intensity of electricity generated.

With construction under way on three large-scale wind farms and the rationalisation of SSE’s higher-carbon activities, SSE’s transition to net zero continues at pace.

SSE’s last coal plant ceased operation on 31 March 2020, meaning that 2020/21 represented the first year since 2005 that our generation fleet contained no electricity output from coal. Carbon intensity of electricity generated in the year was the lowest since SSE’s records began. Nevertheless, more carbon reduction progress is still to be made and we are progressing plans with Equinor to develop carbon capture and storage generation plant at Keadby in Humberside and Peterhead in north east Scotland, as well as what could be the world’s first hydrogen-fired power station at Keadby.

In the short term, the carbon intensity of electricity generated by SSE reduced by around 11% compared to the previous year, a decrease of over 16% from the 2017/18 baseline. Year-to-year variation is to be expected based on external factors, however the long-term trajectory is clear.

Good progress made in 2020/21 on the development and construction of wind farms, despite the operational challenges posed by coronavirus, gives us confidence that we will exceed our target of trebling renewable energy output by 2030 compared to a 2017/18 baseline.

Final investment decisions taken on projects in early 2020/21, and ongoing construction, mean SSE is now building more offshore wind than any other company in the world. We reached a final investment decision (FID) on Dogger Bank A and B offshore wind farms (with Dogger Bank C aiming to reach financial close later this calendar year), Seagreen, and Viking in Shetland. These projects will be, respectively, the largest offshore wind farm in the world and one of the highest-yielding onshore wind farms in Europe.

Further progress was made on several other renewable projects over the year. While renewable energy output decreased between 2019/20 and 2020/21, from 11,442GWh to 10,242GWh, due to unfavourable weather conditions across both wind and hydro, 2020/21 represented an increase of 4% compared to the 2017/18 baseline. Please see the 2021 Annual Report and Sustainability Report for details.

Collaboration has been key in 2020/21, with SSEN Distribution moving ahead on innovation projects with partners to support flexible markets and future infrastructure provision for the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). In addition, SSE has continued with its own EV roll-out across the organisation.

Major innovation projects have included: Project LEO, which over 2020/21 continued to test demand and generation matching, flexibility and balancing across the Oxford region; Optimise Prime, a fleet electrification project which has moved into physical trials; and Skyline, a first-of-its-kind project launched in 2020/21, which will establish data sharing with the automotive and charge point industries to allow early visibility of planned domestic EV charger connections. SSEN Distribution is also a core member of the Scottish Government’s Strategic EV Partnership.

Supporting the EV industry, SSE continues to increase the proportion of EV used in our own operations. Over 2020/21, the Company launched a new low-emission company car scheme and installed the infrastructure needed for the charging of operational and employee cars at SSE sites. The Company is also trialling a small fleet of fully electric vans.

In addition to retaining the Fair Tax Mark and Living Wage accreditations, in 2020/21 SSE became one of a handful of companies that have achieved the Living Hours accreditation.

In March 2021, SSE become one of the first companies in the UK to gain Living Hours accreditation. This accreditation is timely given the insecurity of work for many people caused by the coronavirus jobs crisis. SSE also became Chair of the Living Wage Business Leadership Group in Scotland, of which it has been a member since 2014, at the end of 2020/21. We sit on the Living Hours Steering Group at a UK level and have taken a leading role in supporting development of a formal accreditation process for the real Living Wage in Ireland.

We published our Talking Tax 2020 report, offering leading transparent disclosure of our tax approach and payment of taxes. SSE met the threshold for accreditation in our annual Fair Tax Mark assessment in 2020, the seventh time we have done so.

ESG Ratings

SSE actively engages with key investor ESG ratings agencies and investor-led initiatives, including S&P’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), the CDP global disclosure framework, Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI), MSCI, Vigeo Eiris (V.E), Sustainalytics, Bloomberg Gender Equality Index and the FTSE4Good Index.


Date score awarded



October 2020

Vigeo Eiris (V.E)


November 2020



June 2020

CDP Climate Change


February 2021

CDP Water


February 2021


Top decile

March 2021

Bloomberg GEI


January 2021

Sustainalytics ESG Risk Rating


April 2021

For information on year on year progress please see the latest Sustainability Report.