Business goals

HSE: strengthened trade targets for 2030 reflect net zero acceleration

It’s been three years since we became one of the first companies to set 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, aligned with the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The seriousness with which we take these objectives was also demonstrated by the fact that we became the first company to also link them to executive compensation.

It’s not lip service. It’s about combining purpose and profit for the greater good to tackle the climate emergency.

When we first set these goals in 2019, they were ambitious goals. What’s amazing is how quickly they became seriously obsolete – which is a fantastic reflection of the progress the company has made in this era.

That’s why it was only right that we weighted them to ensure that we continue to push ourselves – and others – further and faster in pursuit of our common agenda.

Going further in reducing carbon intensity – from a 50% to 80% reduction – is what I call “net zero acceleration in action” and it’s exactly what everyone was clamoring for at COP26.

But we can do more as a company to support a sustainable future. No longer targeting a tripling of renewable energy production by 2030, we aim to increase production fivefold. Reflecting exactly what the UK, Ireland (and others) need to do to decarbonise electricity as quickly as possible.

In terms of grids, our original target of 10m of electric vehicles on Britain’s roads was written before net zero became law, and the future energy scenarios didn’t even model net zero. But now – we have localized future energy scenarios (called DFES) and an ED2 plan – which means we can be more specific about what this all means for our own grids. And – the importance of the North of Scotland transmission network cannot be overstated in its contribution to Scotland’s and the UK’s carbon targets.

Finally – our fourth goal – which has always been values-driven, “how we conduct ourselves”, has matured to emphasize our global leadership on just transition as an ongoing goal to achieve. It’s an important statement to say, tackling climate change is not just about technical solutions to carbon emissions. It’s about people: lives and their livelihoods. The transition to net zero must also be fair for consumers, workers and their communities.

Achieving net zero requires relentless focus, huge investment and the strategic foresight to get there in a way that creates a cleaner, greener and fairer world for the future.
Our Net Zero Acceleration Programme, announced in November, has accelerated the pace and scale of our ambitions with £12.5bn of investment through to 2026 – or £7m per day – in the developing and building the low-carbon infrastructure needed for decarbonization.

Our 2030 goals ensure that the power of HSE is focused on areas that can simultaneously create long-term shareholder and societal value.