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Supporting SSEN Distribution to Become the First UK Electricity DNO to Set 1.5°C Aligned Science-based Targets

December 9, 2021 | Case Study,

Anthesis were critical at helping us navigate the SBT process, we felt assured that we had experts in their field guiding us the whole way. Following the work Anthesis carried out, we were able to demonstrate how we could deliver against a 1.5 degree pathway and had our targets accredited in October 2021, making us the first UK DNO to set targets in line with a 1.5 degree trajectory.

Shirley Robertson
Head of Environment, Consenting and Sustainability Strategic Policy at SSEN


SSEN logo

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is a District Network Operator (DNO) that distributes power to 3.7 million homes across the UK. SSEN is responsible for maintaining the power networks to ensure the homes it serves receive an uninterrupted supply of energy.


The company commissioned Anthesis to carry out a review of its carbon emissions portfolio, develop a science-based target (SBT) and determine an agreed route to achieving the target by 2033. SSEN also required support in submitting its targets to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), and upon validation, embedding the ambition into its wider business plan.

Learn more about Science Based Targets

The project was split into 2 main phases

  1. Calculating and summarising SSEN’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and modelling its SBT carbon reduction pathway to 2050.
  2. Scenario analysis and identification of reduction measures to help SSEN reach its targets. The reduction measures were modelled against SSEN’s calculated trajectory.


The Project

Anthesis collected the necessary data required to calculate SSEN’s footprint, covering scope 1 to 3, and used this data to calculate the SBT trajectories. We then hosted a workshop with experts within SSEN to gather and understand the planned carbon reduction initiatives.

Using this information as well as regular meetings with the client, we modelled the reduction measures and developed onto tableau software, enabling the client to dynamically visualise how different measures could help the company progress towards the SBTs. Anthesis then supported SSEN with its submission to the SBTi.

Following validation, Anthesis has worked with SSEN to feed the SBTs into the wider regulated business plan and its annexes, such as the Environmental Action Plan, and to embed the action plan within the business to ensure that all areas are working in support of the plan.

Find out more about our SBT evaluation services

Key Services Delivered

  • Conducted value chain screening and baseline emissions inventory.
  • Modelled emissions pathways and proposed reduction strategies.
  • Prepared summaries, data visualisation models, and communications to support internal engagement.
  • Carried out a workshop to understand the activities already being carried out by SSEN Distribution.
  • Supported the SBTi submission and target validation process.
  • Continuing to provide support in the development and implementation of SSEN Distribution’s SBTs.

Project Impacts

Anthesis supported SSEN Distribution to become the first Electricity DNO to set science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C pathway. SSEN Distribution’s SBTs are:

  • To reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 55% by 2033 from 2020 base year
  • To commit that 35% of suppliers by spend covering purchased goods and services and capital goods will set SBTs by 2026

Further to this, SSEN Distribution has begun embedding the ambition within its regulated business plan, to ensure that targets are met.

Shirley Robertson, Head of Environment, Consenting and Sustainability Strategic Policy at SSEN said:

As a DNO we will play a critical role in the strategic delivery of Net Zero, our network needs to be ready to connect low carbon technologies like EVs and heat pumps to ensure the energy transition happens on time. With that in mind, we wanted to make sure we were taking responsibility, accountability for our own Business Carbon Footprint and we wanted to set targets that we knew were going to reach Net Zero.

Our Sustainability Strategy is embedded in global frameworks of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and now the SBTi. We needed to take a good look at our carbon inventory and art of the possible – could we meet the most ambitious target that was aligned with science? Anthesis were critical at helping us navigate the SBT process, we felt assured that we had experts in their field guiding us the whole way. 

Following the work Anthesis carried out, we were able to demonstrate how we could deliver against a 1.5 degree pathway and had our targets accredited in October 2021, making us the first UK DNO to set targets in line with a 1.5 degree trajectory. It also which meant we headed into COP26 with accredited targets. Anthesis is now helping us to bake this ambition into regulated business plans to ensure we deliver on those targets.

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