Tags: Ethical Values
For ScottishPower, being a principal partner of COP26 is about living their business ethics. Pamela Mowat, Chief Compliance Officer at ScottishPower explains why this is so important to the organisation.
ScottishPower is honoured to be a principal partner for COP26, for many reasons – it is being hosted in our home city of Glasgow; we are delighted to be able to show some of the innovative work we have underway to a host of other industry players and nations, and it is a vital time in which the eyes of the world will be focussed in our direction.
More than anything, though, it’s about ‘putting our money where our mouth is’, as the saying goes. At ScottishPower, we have long had the aim of a ‘Better future, quicker’. We were the first integrated energy company in the UK to switch to 100% renewable generation and we continue to actively invest in developing an energy infrastructure that is ready for measures to address the climate crisis. Our support of, and role in, COP 26 is a natural extension of that aim, as we want to help facilitate a real and honest conversation about addressing the climate emergency and achieving net-zero.
For us, ethics is not just about how our employees behave or making sure that we have programmes in place to measure culture – it’s about leading the way, by setting an example and creating value for our communities, our employees and our suppliers. It’s about setting our values and sticking to them in doing business. The climate change debate has been (and in some places, still is) a matter of ethics, because, in order to drive real action, we need to disrupt our own usual way of life, both at an individual and corporate level.
As part of the Iberdrola Group of companies, ScottishPower has long been committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and these form an intrinsic part of our organisational Vision and Values. Iberdrola has a presence in a wide number of countries across the world and recognises its potential impact on local communities. We work hard to mitigate that impact, aiming to provide value for stakeholders through investment in the energy transition, environmental protection and research and development.
So, why do we think COP26 is so important?
We cannot deny that we are in the midst of a global climate emergency. We all know that we should be careful about our plastic consumption and carbon emissions, and some of us are better equipped to deal with that than others. What many of us might not realise though is that the most vulnerable communities globally are the ones who contributed the least to climate change and yet most likely to be adversely impacted by its effects. To illustrate just how great that difference can be, one flight from Glasgow to New York creates more emissions than the average total annual emissions of someone from at least 53 countries in the world.
Climate change will not just mean extreme weather impacts – it will have impacts on food security, political stability, economies and general health and wellbeing, with poorer nations much more likely to suffer violence, displacement and food crises than their better-off neighbours. Global warming has been shown to exacerbate the impacts of conflict and political instability, affecting access to clean water, sustainable food sources and limiting biodiversity. More fragile regions are less likely to be able to take measures to mitigate against climate change impacts or to adapt to the impacts when they do occur.
The value of COP26 is that it will bring all nations to the table, with the aim of genuinely discussing and addressing these issues. It will help to focus attention on the key issues and – hopefully – create a real drive to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, as well as developing our ambition for future change in order to stimulate new investment, new industry, innovation and kick start the covid recovery.
In our role as a principal partner for COP26, we can help take a leadership role in facilitating those discussions, providing active opportunities for collaboration and crucially being prepared to take further action in response to the issues raised. To us, this is business ethics in action – actively supporting what we believe to be right and in line with our values.
Our aim is to help to demonstrate that a net-zero economy can be fair for all. If we get it right, it can create jobs, reduce energy bills, improve our air quality and create a cleaner, brighter world for future generations. But it needs vital, coordinated action now, in order to limit the worst effects of climate change. This will not always be easy, as it requires working in new ways, learning while doing, and being prepared to change your risk threshold to move at speed.
From my own perspective, ScottishPower’s commitment to COP26 and the energy transition has really helped me to understand what we stand for as a business. I feel positive that we are doing what we can to support our local communities and to promote those ethical principles to others. I feel educated on the causes of climate change and what I can do to help mitigate and adapt to the impacts. And I am inspired by the excellent work that is taking place around the organisation to develop green solutions for business and domestic customers, that can help us all in our just transition.
Some of us can choose how to contribute to this call to action, but not all of our local and global neighbours can say the same. It is therefore important that the transition is just, at both a local and global level. By supporting COP26 as a principal partner, we are helping to achieve a better future, quicker, for everyone.
Chief Compliance Officer, ScottishPower