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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 the 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 80%: Reduce Scope 1 carbon intensity by 80% by 2030, compared to 2017/18 levels, to 61gCO2e/kWh (SDG 13: climate action).
  • Increase renewable energy output fivefold: Build a renewable energy portfolio that generates at least 50TWh of renewable electricity a year by 2030 (SDG 7: affordable and clean energy).
  • Enable low-carbon generation and demand: Enable at least 20GW of renewable generation and facilitate around 2 million EVs and 1 million heat pumps on SSEN’s electricity networks by 2030 (SDG 9: industry, innovation and infrastructure).
  • Champion a fair and just energy transition: Be a global leader for the just transition to net zero, with a guarantee of fair work and commitment to paying fair tax and sharing economic value (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.