26 October 2022 Company News, Press Release, Sustainability

Levelling up report highlights the impact of energy solutions on social mobility

Levelling Up Impact Report Westminster
Smart energy infrastructure company, SMS plc, has unveiled its Levelling Up Report in Westminster, which assesses how its business – and the energy solutions sector more widely – is making a positive social impact amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The report, which has been developed with the Purpose Coalition and benchmarks SMS’s progress against five of the 14 Levelling Up Goals, was unveiled at UK Parliament by SMS Chief Executive Officer, Tim Mortlock, and Levelling Up Goals founder and former Education Secretary, Justine Greening.

Launched in 2021, the Levelling Up Goals provide a framework to help organisations identify gaps in access to opportunity, address common socio-economic barriers that prevent people from achieving their potential, and in turn help narrow regional inequality and improve overall living standards of the communities in which they operate.

The report, which can be read here, highlights SMS’s commitment to delivering opportunity in the UK through implementing responsible environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies alongside the delivery of energy solutions. The Glasgow-headquartered company – which funds, installs, and operates energy and carbon reduction technologies (including smart meters, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure) – is contributing across five of the following Goals:

Goal 3: Positive Destinations Post 16+ (ensuring young people have the choice of a high-quality route in education, employment, or training)
Goal 5: Open Recruitment (ensuring professions are open to people of all backgrounds through transparent, accessible, and open recruitment practices)
Goal 6: Fair Career Progression (ensuring opportunities for career advancement for all based on ability and potential, not connections)
Goal 8: Good Health and Wellbeing (ensuring improved mental and physical health at all ages to boost overall wellbeing that allows people to fulfil their potential)
Goal 13: Harnessing the Energy Transition (ensuring that the energy transition is fair and creates opportunities across the UK)

The report provides examples of good practice carried out by SMS in these areas, including:

  • an apprenticeship programme, training academy, and test laboratory in Bolton (one of the UK’s most deprived areas) which delivers technical training and skills;
  • various partnerships which help it to provide mentoring and job opportunities for those furthest away from a level playing field, including the disadvantaged, those from ethnic minorities, the disabled, and military veterans;
  • a commitment to ensuring that individuals with potential can progress within the company regardless of background, including ensuring more gender diversity at board level;
  • a wide range of company initiatives to support employees and communities with maintaining and improving their physical and mental wellbeing;
  • a successful business model to deliver the future of smart energy by funding, owning, installing, and operating energy infrastructure that drives carbon reduction in line with the UK’s Net Zero 2050 target.

As well as highlighting these key strengths, the report makes a number of recommendations where SMS can go even further in extending its social impact. For instance:

  • targeting its community efforts more closely to focus on the most deprived areas around its key sites;
  • measuring and reporting its socio-economic diversity to provide a more accurate picture of how well social mobility is working; and
  • using its position in the energy sector and through relationships with its own key stakeholders and supply chains to be an advocate for responsible business.

Tim Mortlock, Chief Executive Officer of SMS plc, said:

“Climate change is not merely an environmental challenge, it also presents a distinct socio-economic problem, with the least well-off in society set to be the worst affected by environmental and energy-related issues. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the UK, punctuated by rising energy costs, offers stark evidence of this. Our purpose as a business – ‘to serve our customers and protect the environment’ – could therefore not be more pertinent considering these climate and economic pressures we are currently all facing.

“This clear commitment to sustainability – manifested through our target to become a carbon neutral business by 2030 – proudly upholds everything we do at SMS. That means not just doing what we can to help our environment, it means contributing to the prosperity of people and society in general. We’re extremely proud to be part of this movement through our membership of the Purpose Coalition, and hope that this report – which sets out our progress towards achieving the Levelling Up Goals – helps to gauge our continuing contribution, as well as inspire other like-minded organisations to follow suit.”

Chair of the Purpose Coalition, Rt Hon Justine Greening, said:

“The environmental challenges posed by climate change and a growing cost of living crisis, largely driven by rising energy prices, will undoubtedly hit our most disadvantaged communities the hardest. We therefore need businesses to demonstrate genuine leadership and ambition to help their employees, their customers and the communities they serve to thrive, with short term measures as well as longer term solutions.

“That is what SMS is already doing, defining what it means to be truly purpose-led in an industry which is in the eye of the storm. Its operations are underpinned by a focus on decarbonisation and providing more sustainable energy choices and it strives to maximise its positive impact on the UK homes and communities it services and supports, directly and indirectly. Its innovation is steering it towards a more balanced energy mix which in turn will mean more sustainable and affordable choices for consumers. That approach also supports communities by delivering opportunity, creating the skilled jobs and rewarding careers that are needed for a greener, hi-tech economy.

“SMS is committed to an ambitious agenda for change. Its aim to deliver the future of smart energy will not only benefit its employees, its customers, its communities but will also contribute to the increased security of our energy supply and a step-change in energy efficiency. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with them to make a difference in the communities which need it most.”

Download Report

Download our full Levelling Up Report, or visit our Sustainability page for more on our ESG goals.