Renewable energy – Powering a tartan revolution

Entrepreneur Clare Campbell chose SSE renewable electricity to power her vision of a tartan mill in the Highlands for the first time in over 20 years

Net Hero Podcast

Prickly Thistle designs and manufactures artisan textiles for modern times. Sustainability is woven throughout the bespoke tartan company, helping win an enthusiastic customer base that includes distillers, global brands and people celebrating personal events.

“Our customers really care about sustainability,” says Clare Campbell, Prickly Thistle’s founder. “Most people jump to the conclusion that the clan system must work for us as a sales tool, but sustainability is proving more powerful than the Scottish element.”

Key facts: Prickly Thistle

Operations: Manufacturing

No. of employees: 10

The problem: Sourcing a sustainable power supply to run 100-year-old looms, as well as sewing machines, lighting and so on.

The solution: A 100% renewable electricity SSE Energy Solutions plan.

 

 

The value of solid environmental credentials

“It was important to go with green energy because we want to be as sustainable – and Scottish – as we can, and to find an electricity supplier with the infrastructure to supply our building,” says Clare.

“SSE Energy Solutions was the most well-known name, with the Scottish connection.” SSE was formed in 1998 following the merger of Scottish Hydro Electric and Southern Electric. “And plenty of renewable power comes from Scottish rivers and dams, as well as the wind on the hills that we’re nestled among.”

All SSE Energy Solutions fixed price electricity plans include 100% renewable power from SSE wind and hydro assets, matched to energy used from the national grid. It’s backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) and independently verified by EcoAct, which proves it comes from renewable sources.

SSE’s vision is to be a leading energy provider in a low-carbon world and it’s investing in renewable energy in Scotland and elsewhere, planning to increase output fivefold by 2030.

Making sustainability a core value, showing integrity and being transparent about greener decisions is helping Prickly Thistle build a solid customer base. “We heavily promote sustainability and what we’re learning on our journey, actually more than our products,” says Clare.

“We want to be as sustainable as possible. It’s hard work as a start-up, but worth it – I don’t think there’s another option. It’s about recycling, composting waste wool and so on. We’ve even said no to commissions that would have produced too much waste.”

Clothes are designed to avoid waste material from the start, and be reusable then biodegradable to close the circle. Ethical production is also important, being slavery-free as well as using green energy. This environmental and social accountability saw Prickly Thistle become the UK’s first B Corp certified textile mill in 2021.

“SSE is a well-recognised and reputable organisation, and validation by a third party helps show we’re doing our due diligence. With digital communication, customers can ask anything and if it’s not shared there’s a question mark. I’m excited that companies now have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”

“Our SSE Green certificate is on display inside our mill. It’s important that it’s verified because it adds to our credibility.”

 

SSE renewable energy

SSE has around 4GW renewable energy capacity across the UK and Ireland.

  • 52 hydro power stations
  • 42 wind farms

With a further 7GW of off- and on-shore wind power in the pipeline, SSE is making a significant contribution to net zero targets.

For more on how to power your business sustainably, contact SSE Energy Solutions. Find out more about SSE renewable electricity, read energy efficiency tips for manufacturers or get small business sustainability advice.