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What's corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility is about businesses doing the right thing. That means embracing more responsible business practices and thinking more ethically about all the areas in society that your business touches.

This is a mindset that runs all the way through an organisation. It’s not just about making money. It’s about how a company makes money.

That includes being honest, open and fair with your employees, suppliers and customers. It also means thinking more about the local community and being part of the Living Wage Foundation, where employees earn an hourly rate above the national living wage.

One way that a business can be more responsible is through its energy use. That includes everything from being more energy efficient to using 100% renewable electricity and gas. At SSE, we strive to do the right thing. When it comes to energy usage, we have the expertise to help businesses be more responsible too.

Responsible business drives growth

Yet corporate social responsibility is not just about doing the right thing. It’s also vital for the future growth prospects of any business – to set you apart from the competition.

Being responsible can add value to your business in the eyes of existing and potential employees, customers, suppliers and investors.

Employees increasingly want to work for a company with purpose: 70% of people across China, Germany, India, the UK and the US now want to work for an organisation with a strong social conscience, PwC reports.1

Customers want to buy from businesses that share their values: 86% of companies expect their sales to grow over the next year from a greater focus on sustainability, according to HSBC’s latest global research.2

Investors are placing ever greater focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors when evaluating companies, KPMG reports.3

And in both private and public sector procurement, more and more organisations are looking to see evidence of good business practice when making their decisions.

There used to be a trade-off between making money in the short term or being a long-term force for good. Now public expectations have changed, and companies that fail to contribute to society risk falling behind.

How we strive to do right thing

At SSE, we believe it’s important to lead by example. We promote a culture of fairness for all our stakeholders, take an active stance on environmental issues and are a proud Living Wage employer.

That’s why we’ve set four long-term business goals aligned with four United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • Cut carbon intensity by 60%: Reduce the carbon intensity of electricity generated by 60% to around 120gCO2/kWh by 2030, compared to 2018 levels (SDG 13: climate action).
  • Treble renewable energy output: Develop and build more renewable energy by 2030 to contribute renewable output of 30TWh a year (SDG 7: affordable and clean energy).
  • Help accommodate 10m electric vehicles: Build the flexible electricity network and infrastructure to help accommodate 10m EVs in Great Britain by 2030 (SDG 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure).
  • Champion Fair Tax and a real Living Wage: Be the leading company in the UK and Ireland championing Fair Tax and a real Living Wage (SDG 8: decent work and economic growth).

To find out more about SSE’s 2030 goals and our progress, see the latest latest SSE sustainability report.