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We sat down with Claire Fowler - Environmental and Sustainability Manager at SSE sat with us to discuss how passionate she is about social value in how it can add value to businesses, clients, communities and even the planet. Read below to find out more.

1. You've been working at SSE now for 2 years. Share with us what the experience has been like for you so far and tell us a little about your role?

It has been refreshing to work for a company that has sustainability built into its core business strategy. I was privileged to be a keynote speaker at the 2022 Decarbonisation Summit in Manchester, collaborated across our business to develop a new human rights due diligence process for our solar supply chain, and am excited to be building a new Enterprise Environmental and Sustainability team that has the passion and drive to challenge SSE’s thinking and develop new innovate ways of working. My role is to develop and implement the Energy Solution sustainability plan (see below), assess and mitigate the environmental and social risks of our projects and operational sites, and raise net-zero/ decarbonisation awareness at events and across the SSE.

sustainability Plan
SSE Energy Solutions Sustainability Plan

2. What one thing truly ignites your net zero spirit and makes your role at SSE Energy Solutions an enjoyable one?

I am passionate about developing and collaborating with others to demonstrate how sustainability adds value to the business and the services we provide to our clients, the local community, and the planet. By layering up Energy Solution’s climate action, biodiversity, and social strategies and working on the high-risk issues with our supply chain so we can make significant innovative strides in reducing our impact on people and the planet.

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3. The value that SSE adds to society is crucial to us. Can you shed some light on how SSE Energy Solutions goes above and beyond to prioritise Social Value, making a real difference in the communities it serves?

This year a new social value strategy was developed that champions a Fair and Just net zero energy transition. We have 3 key objectives:

  • Become a trusted community partner as a result of visible engagement and investment in regional growth aspirations.
  • Challenge inequality through inclusive recruitment and inspiring low-carbon career education.
  • Reduce environmental impact by installing innovative low-carbon technology and providing access to more biodiverse green spaces.

This strategy is underpinned by the regional hubs across the country that will bring renewable energy jobs to the areas where SSE Energy Solutions are building energy infrastructure.


4. How can individuals get behind Social Value plans to contribute and be a part of the positive change you're championing?

There are many ways we encourage our staff to get involved:

  1. Volunteering to support Local community projects, environmental conservation and/or sustainable ecosystem management initiatives.
  2. Providing ‘support into work’ assistance to unemployed people through career mentoring, mock interviews, CV advice, careers guidance and/or delivery of curriculum-related activities in schools and collages by becoming a STEM ambassador, a mentor as part of the SSE Barnardo's Works programme and/or Career Ready Programme.
  3. Organising site visits for school children and/or local residents.
  4. Donations and in-kind contributions to specific local community projects or Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSE).
  5. Provision of expert business advice to VCSEs and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) (e.g., financial, legal, HR and SHE advice).
  6. Hosting an employer’s fair to encourage local employment.
  7. Implement and record the details of circular economy initiatives for your projects/ sites.
  8. Suggesting innovative ideas that help create and add social value with measures that cover:
  • Promoting local skills and employment
  • Promoting and supporting responsible business(es)
  • Enabling healthier, safer and more resilient communities
  • Safeguarding the environment and responding to the climate emergency

5. What's the most exciting thing you're looking forward to in your role over the next year of plans?

Other than launching this social value strategy across the business and with our regional hubs’ stakeholders. I am also looking forward to strengthening our supplier engagement. Being clearer on our sustainability expectations with our supply chain, launching the new sustainability data capture tool to gather ESG data from our direct contractors, and building collaborative industry partnerships to work on material sustainability topics.