Integrating ESG Into Our Core Business and Values

About the Experts

Michael Bailey

Michael Bailey,
Environmental and Sustainability Senior Manager, National Grid Ventures

June Hohl

June Hohl,
Safety and ESG Specialist, National Grid Renewables

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Environmental, social and governance (ESG) may be one of today’s trending topics in business, but these essential concepts have always been guiding principles for the way we do business at National Grid Renewables and across the larger National Grid organization. Our core valuesdo the right thing, find a better way, and make it happen — not only push us to set aggressive environmental sustainability goals but keep us accountable to an important reality: It’s not just about where you’re going (your goals); ESG is just as much about how you get to those goals and targets.

To show how we’re walking the walk on ESG and sustainability, we’re sharing our inside perspectives on how our parent company, National Grid, understands and defines our ESG responsibilities — and how National Grid Renewables both fully exemplifies our core responsible business principles and acts as a critical catalyst in our ESG efforts.

The National Grid Responsible Business Charter

Over the past several decades, National Grid has progressively elevated our efforts around environmental management, sustainability, and workplace safety. But we took a major step forward in 2019. That’s the year we added National Grid Renewables to the National Grid organizations, and it’s also the year our Chief Sustainability Office created the National Grid Responsible Business Charter. The charter articulates what ‘responsibility’ means to us and what it looks like for us in practice. It lays out our ESG commitments for the next several decades, as well as more real-time goals and metrics we’re working toward. The charter is our guiding light on ESG.

To support our Responsible Business Charter, we also created our dedicated ESG Strategy team. That team’s responsibility is to take those top-level ESG goals and commitments from the charter and help each business shape its contribution for them into action. We also work to support, monitor, and ensure accountability to those commitments within each of the National Grid Ventures businesses.

Man walking near solar panels

Refreshing our commitments

Our business is constantly evolving, as are the ESG challenges in our broader world. So, this year, our Chief Sustainability Office completely refreshed our Responsible Business Charter. The refresh ensures we remain centered on the ESG issues most important to our stakeholders and communities. We also made several updates that increase our short-term ESG commitments. We’ve updated near-term emissions reduction targets to align with a 1.5ºC pathway defined by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). To hit these new targets, we will further reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

We also introduced our Climate Transition Plan in 2022. This plan defines the concept of ‘real zero’ — our aim to achieve zero emissions by 2050, without using offsets.

Powering a purpose-led business

One of the main reasons that National Grid leads the industry with our ESG targets and achievements is that our leadership recognized very early on that we needed to stand for something more than profitability. As an organization, we have a responsibility to ensure everyone benefits in the transition to a clean energy future — that nobody is left behind.

We are a for-profit company, but we are also a purpose-led business. Our broader vision is to be at the heart of a clean, fair, and affordable energy future. To realize that vision, we’ve organized our ESG priorities and commitments around three core pillars:

  • Our Environment: To help deliver a clean energy future, we’ve committed to achieve net zero by 2050 for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. We’re also working to protect our natural environment, to use resources responsibly, and to invest aggressively in the decarbonization of the future of energy—evidenced by the industry-leading work of National Grid Renewables.
  • Our Customers and Communities: To support a fair and affordable energy transition, we’re working today to accelerate social mobility in the communities we serve. We engage directly in our communities through volunteering, and we listen—seeking out and acting on feedback we receive from our customers, stakeholders, and communities.
  • Our People: To do our part in building the net-zero workforce of tomorrow, we’re investing today in helping our people build the skills needed to deliver the clean energy future. To support societal equity, we’re working to ensure our teams reflect the communities we serve, with heightened attention to increasing ethnic and female representation in our workforce.
People in construction vests with trash bags

ESG isn’t just about outcomes — how you get there matters

It will come as no surprise that National Grid Renewables plays a critical role in leading and supporting the ESG goals of the entire National Grid organization. But it’s important to note that National Grid Renewables is not only directly supporting our environmental targets (the ‘E’ in ESG), but our social and governance goals, as well.

National Grid Renewables has built its reputation on doing what’s right. We’ve built a competitive advantage in the rapidly growing renewables space because of — not despite — our ethical business practices. We pay fair prices and keep promises to landowners, partners, and employees. We support local communities through dedicated community funds and we help to create a vital economic engine in rural areas. We source technologies and materials from ethical suppliers.

In other words, it’s not just what we do here at National Grid Renewables; it’s how we do it that really shines as a beacon in the world of ESG.

The key: Holding ourselves accountable

The final concept of ESG, governance, helps to give us the accountable motivation to drive ESG progress. We believe being a responsible business means being transparent and accurate in corporate governance and ESG reporting. We do this by setting science-based targets that align our actions with the macro progress that leading experts say our world needs to make. We made those targets and goals explicitly public through our Responsible Business Charter. We committed to putting out our Responsible Business Report on an annual basis, for all to see and judge. We’re extremely proud of the areas where we’re doing well. But we’re just as adamant about the need to shine a light on areas where we need to improve.

At National Grid Renewables, we’ve built our business on accountability: We keep their promises. We do what we say we’re going to do. We find solutions, bring projects to life, and bring the promised value to their stakeholders. This perfectly reflects the broader commitment to accountability at National Grid — and our beliefs around how the business world can accelerate its collective progress toward a clean energy future. We believe that ESG is our fundamental responsibility as a business, and we believe transparency on ESG progress is essential because we believe public accountability pushes us all to achieve more and be the best versions of ourselves.

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