27 July 2023 Company News, Press Release, Sustainability

Ed Miliband MP visits SMS offices in Doncaster to highlight social impact of the UK energy sector

Ed Miliband visits Doncaster office

Miliband made the visit to Doncaster – where SMS employs 100 people – as part of an awareness event organised by The Purpose Coalition

Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net-Zero, Ed Miliband, has visited the Doncaster offices of smart energy company SMS Ltd to highlight the importance of people and planet in purpose-led organisations. Miliband, who is MP for Doncaster North, was accompanied by Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Dame Rosie Winterton (MP for Doncaster Central) to find out more about the organisation’s commitment to tackling climate change.

SMS, which hires around 100 people at its offices at the Icon Building in Balby Carr Bank, provides a range of low-carbon energy solutions and has set a target to become a carbon neutral business by the end of the decade. The event was organised by The Purpose Coalition, a collective of private and public sector organisations committed to making positive impacts on communities through support of the UK’s Levelling Up agenda – a Government-led, nationwide initiative that aims to narrow regional inequality.

As well as hearing about SMS’s activities to enable a smarter, greener, and more affordable energy system, the Parliamentarians also had the opportunity to meet local employees, many of whom are taking part in the company’s successful apprenticeship or management development programmes, and to listen to their experiences first-hand.

In October last year, SMS partnered with the Purpose Coalition to launch a Levelling Up Impact Report to assess how its business was making a positive social impact and to evaluate its progress in making opportunity more accessible. It highlighted its investment in, and operation of, national energy infrastructure that drives carbon reduction, including its work to deliver the UK’s smart meter programme, grid-scale energy storage projects, and electric vehicle charging solutions. It also demonstrates how it spreads opportunity by offering skilled jobs for many of those furthest away from a level playing field and providing support to its communities where it is most needed.

In addition to its operational base in Doncaster, SMS – which employs over 1,400 people nationwide – has invested across a variety of regions in the UK, including its headquarters in Glasgow, a customer contact centre and training academy in Bolton, a logistics hub in Barnsley, as well as offices in Cardiff and Cambridge.

Speaking at SMS’s Doncaster office, Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change & Net Zero, Ed Miliband said:

“It’s been great to be here at SMS today and hear about all the work that is going on including the installation of smart meters and the benefits people can get from having smart meters in their home. Also to hear about the career progression of all the fantastic apprentices we’ve met here in Doncaster, it’s been a great visit and I’ve learned a lot.”

Chief People Officer at SMS Ltd, Judy Keir, said:

“We were delighted to welcome Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary, Ed Miliband, and local MP Dame Rosie Winterton to our office in Doncaster today, further highlighting SMS’s dedication to championing the cause of sustainability and advancing the nation’s net-zero agenda.

As a key player in the energy industry, SMS Ltd has embarked on an ambitious smart energy journey, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to revolutionise the way we consume and manage energy. With the invaluable insights and support of our guests today, we are more inspired than ever to drive positive change for the environment and the communities we operate in.

We firmly believe in equipping the next generation with the necessary tools and knowledge to thrive in the evolving energy landscape. Through these initiatives, we contribute to building a skilled workforce that will drive progress and sustainability for years to come.”

Chair of the Purpose Business Coalition, Lord Walney, added:

“The impact of climate change and rising energy costs on the most vulnerable and poorest in our society is clearer than ever – it hits the least resilient the hardest. That means the energy sector comes under greater scrutiny to ensure that it delivers a positive social impact for its colleagues, customers and communities and for the environment. It has the ability to promote two sides of the same coin – people and planet.

“That is why I am proud to be launching the Purpose Energy & Infrastructure Coalition, part of the wider Purpose Coalition, to bring together the sector’s most innovative leaders and businesses to share best practice and develop policy solutions. Our partnership with SMS has highlighted the great work it is doing to provide opportunities for those from less advantaged backgrounds while also delivering innovative solutions for decarbonisation and sustainable and affordable energy choices that will deliver net zero. It has shown its willingness to go even further by focusing on the areas around its key sites, like the one visited in Doncaster today, that need the most support and by committing to measuring and reporting progress on improving its socio-economic diversity.”

Read our Levelling Up Impact Report

Our Levelling Up Report, published in Westminster in 2022, assesses how our business – and the energy solutions sector more widely – is making a positive social impact amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.