SSE’s strategic goal is to create value for shareholders and society in a sustainable way.
Value is delivered for shareholders in dividends, and for society it is reflected in economic contribution,
taxes paid, jobs created, sustained investment and the long-term stewardship of infrastructure.
Inclusion and diversity
An inclusive and diverse workforce is seen as a key priority for the future growth and success of our business. Progress and performance were reviewed by the Executive Committee on a quarterly basis and by the Nomination Committee twice per year in 2018/19. From 2019/20, SSE’s Group Executive Committee will review progress on a monthly basis.
As well as being an active member of the UNGC Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, we have been working with inclusion experts Equal Approach since 2017 to develop and implement a targeted Inclusion Strategy which encourages more difference IN, ON and UP at SSE. Driving this approach in SSE is an understanding that greater inclusion will drive more diversity across the business, and that a more diverse workplace means access to a wider pool of talent and leads to better debate, decisions and delivery.
Read more about SSE’s Inclusion Strategy in the Decent Work and Economic Growth section of the Sustainability Report 2019.
Equality and opportunity
The drive for greater gender balance across our business has been a key element of our inclusion strategy, seeing us take action in line with our ‘IN, ON, UP’ approach: to bring more women ‘IN’ to the company, create the conditions where women want to stay ‘ON’ with SSE, and support women to move ‘UP’ in the organisation. In 2018/19, we were again included within the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, one of just 230 companies globally.
Progress was also made over 2018/19 to ensure more women at SSE’s highest levels, in line with our gender balance ambitions for senior management which were set in 2017/18. The reorganisation of SSE’s business agreed over 2018/19, and subsequently implemented, resulted in the opportunity to further senior female leaders with effect from 1 April 2019. While there is clearly more progress to be made in our ultimate goal of gender balance at all levels, we believe this marks important progress for the company.
To read about our progress against our gender balance ambitions, including the new ambition set in 2018/19 to achieve 33% female membership of the Board on average over a three-year rolling period, see the Sustainability Report 2019
Commitment and contribution
We recognise that the business must be an active contributor to the communities we are part of, and have an on-going commitment to share value where it is created.
SSE Renewables’ Community Investment Funds support a diverse range of community projects near our renewable developments, and SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund supports community resilience projects in its network areas.
In 2018/19, SSE Renewables provided its largest ever award, with £600,000 granted to build the Fort Augustus Medical Centre in the Great Glen, Scotland. Between its community fund programmes and its Be the Difference employee volunteering programme, which allows all employees to volunteer a working day each year, in 2018/19 SSE invested a total of £8.5m in communities across the UK and Ireland, an increase from £6.5m the year before. This brings SSE’s total investment in communities over the past five years to over £30m.
Tackling climate change
SSE recognises the serious risk that climate change poses to society and to its business. It also recognises that the need to decarbonise presents significant opportunities in supporting the UK and Ireland transition to low-carbon electricity systems.
The International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark report released in October 2018, unlike studies before it, estimated that unprecedented levels of change are needed in a much shorter timeframe to limit global temperature increases to within 1.5˚C or 2˚C.
At the same time, there have been growing calls for the UK to stretch its ambitions, currently set as an 80% cut in emissions by 2050. This movement towards a “Net Zero” emissions target reflects the scientific analysis of the available window for action, at the same time as a greater understanding of how Net Zero would be achieved.
SSE firmly supports the UK adopting a Net Zero emissions target for 2050 at the latest.
2030 sustainability goals
The UN has created a blueprint for a sustainable world which SSE is placing at the centre of its business. Four new 2030 Goals, aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underpin SSE’s strategic focus on being a developer, operator and owner of long-term, low-carbon and sustainable assets.
SSE’s strategic focus on core businesses that support and enable the transition to a low-carbon electricity system provided an important opportunity to ensure SSE’s drive to be a sustainable business is not in addition to its core strategy, but at the heart of it.
SSE will report comprehensively against its four fundamental 2030 Goals from 2019/20. SSE’s Remuneration Committee has agreed to align a proportion of executive remuneration to the achievement of those four goals.