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Tackling the climate and nature emergencies together By Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director, SSE Renewables

17 Nov 2022

Net zero must be our uncompromising goal. However, as we accelerate our investments in new, green technologies and build-out renewables at a scale and pace almost unimaginable a decade ago, an uncomfortable reality has emerged. That we can’t protect the natural world without tackling the climate emergency, but we can tackle the climate emergency without protecting the natural world.

SSE Renewables is a company with our roots in some of the most rugged, isolated, and beautiful places in the world. From hydro sites which have been operating for the last 90 years across the highlands of Scotland, to new wind farm and solar opportunities across Europe, we know it’s our responsibility to build and maintain our sites in a manner that protects and enhances nature.

That’s why yesterday we launched our ‘Positive for the Planet’ report, with a new 10-point plan to deliver Biodiversity Net Gain [here] across our business. Put simply, we are going to build out the renewable energy needed to reach net zero while at the same time leaving the natural environment around our sites in a measurably better state than we found it.

We know this won’t be a straightforward task. There remains a lot of uncertainty around how to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain, and how to measure it, in all contexts, in all geographies, and across all technologies, in a credible way. Our approach is to set targets which are underpinned by a robust methodology and clear action plan, and to demonstrate how we plan to fill the gaps where no methodology yet exists.

As a starting point, alongside the report launched yesterday, we have published our two onshore Biodiversity Net Gain Toolkits with user guides [here] to enable any other organisation to use and to scrutinise. These toolkits provide a framework from which our approach will evolve and grow – with input and inspiration from environmental experts, consultants, regulators, policymakers, suppliers, and peers.

We know the responsibility we have as a sustainable developer to build and operate our sites in harmony with nature. We are passionate about reversing biodiversity loss, and enhancing the natural environment where possible, so that present and future generations can enjoy the amazing flora and fauna in the places we operate.

By committing to targets and ambitions with a fully transparent approach, we are making a simple but important point: that none of us will achieve our sustainability goals without openness and collaboration. It’s down to all of us to work together to set common goals and standards, and make sure we are counting what matters in a consistent way.