Biodiversity is the theme for World Environment Day, 5 June 2020 – a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world. One million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities. With its ‘Time For Nature’ message, World Environment Day urges us to rethink how our economic systems have evolved and the impact they have on the environment.
SSE’s Biodiversity Report 2019 discloses the most significant developments from the SSE Group in relation to biodiversity and the natural environment.
Rachel McEwen, Chief Sustainability Officer, SSE, says: “The significance of this report, amongst the suite of sustainability-related reports, is increasing as stakeholders are seeking evidence of SSE’s impact on the natural world and because the scale of the biodiversity loss emergency globally is ever-more apparent.
“It is now well understood that the emergency of biodiversity loss is as important as, and intrinsically interwoven with, the climate emergency. Environmental degradation is bad for societies, economies and business.”SSE’s strategy review in 2018 hardwired the transition to a zero-carbon world front and centre of the business, and in May it published a greenprint for a cleaner, resilient economy. SSE Business Energy is focused on delivering climate change solutions such as Green and EV contracts.
SSE’s Group Environment Strategy outlines the actions being implemented to manage the business impact on the natural environment and biodiversity from its operations. The strategy sets goals, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to:
- Tackle climate change;
- Be responsible in SSE’s use of resources; and
- Protect and enhance the natural environment in the places SSE operates.
To develop habitat management plans at renewable energy generation sites, SSE works with stakeholders including joint venture partners, academic institutions and wildlife organisations.
At Dunmaglass wind farm, monitoring found that there were 25 territories occupied by golden eagles within the study area, up from 19 in 2015, making this area one of the most rapidly increasing populations of these birds in Scotland.
And following environmental assessments, it was discovered that sea pea, a nationally scarce plant is present in small numbers near SSE’s proposed Seagreen wind farms. The habitat management plan committed to enhancing this species by several measures including local seed collections and translocations.
Most of the work to complete the SSE biodiversity report was undertaken before the coronavirus outbreak in the UK and Ireland.
Rachel McEwen says: “SSE is committed to playing its full part in supporting the response to coronavirus, without losing sight of the fact that the climate and natural environment emergencies remain, and must be dealt with to safeguard well-being for the long term.
“There is an argument that we may emerge from the coronavirus with a greater appreciation of the natural world. While it is too early to know with confidence, there will be lasting consequences of the pandemic and SSE will play its part in helping to ensure the most positive lessons are learnt: for the benefit of both society and the natural environment.”