Neptune Energy today pledged its support to tackle mental health and youth unemployment issues across the UK and beyond which have intensified as a result of COVID-19.
The pandemic and resulting economic impacts on individuals, families and communities have placed renewed focus on companies’ role in society, and how they can contribute to addressing social inequalities.
By forming a series of new partnerships, Neptune is lending its support to a range of social investment initiatives and will work with charitable organisations dedicated to providing mental health support and enhancing employment opportunities for younger people. The commitment is in line with the company’s support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to address global challenges such as poverty and inequality, and part of Neptune’s Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy.
Neptune Energy’s CEO, Jim House, said: “Mental health and youth unemployment are significant issues that affect the wider communities in which we operate as well as our own employees and their families.
“COVID-19 has led to a surge in unemployment. Even before the pandemic, nearly 68 million young people were unemployed globally. We also know that the psychological impacts of COVID-19 have been significant and are likely to have a lasting effect in the years to come, with levels of stress, depression, self-harm and suicide rates all expected to rise.
“These social initiatives are about making a difference where we can, and we want to develop mutually beneficial and long-term partnerships that can make a real and meaningful difference to people’s lives.”
Neptune will work with a range of partners in each of the countries and regions it operates, including the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, North Africa and Asia Pacific.
In the UK for example, the company will partner with Mental Health UK, and will fund a project to ensure people living with mental illness in some of the most remote, rural communities can get online and access support services. This particularly impacts older people who may not have access to a smart phone or computer, or lack the knowledge and skills on how to use available support networks without some level of assistance.
Neptune will also support the charity’s Clic website which provides people across the UK with access to community support, 24 hours a day. Neptune employees will have the opportunity to be trained as volunteers to join a community of moderators that assist visitors to the site.
Mental Health UK Chief Executive, Brian Dow, said: “Millions of people across the UK have had to deal with the isolating effects of lockdown during the pandemic. For people who are older and in rural communities this can be a double disadvantage, so we are thrilled to be working with Neptune Energy to help digitally equip, skill up and give access to online support so that they can stay connected with friends and loved ones.”
As part of its commitment to enhance youth employment opportunities, Neptune will join Movement to Work, a coalition of employers, youth outreach organisations and civil servants committed to helping young people who are not in education, employment or training, to move closer to the world of work. Neptune will partner with Movement to Work to identify opportunities such as work placements that help to break the ‘no experience, no job’ cycle that many young people face.
Movement to Work’s CEO, Sam Olsen, said: “The UK is facing the highest levels of youth unemployment in four decades – now more than ever we need to provide opportunities for our young people to get on the career ladder and forge bright futures.
“Movement to Work is delighted to have Neptune Energy as a partner committed to supporting our young people during this challenging period and beyond. We hope many other employers will continue to join us in the fight against youth unemployment.”
Jim House added: “Our industry already makes an important contribution to society by delivering energy needs and providing valuable careers for hundreds of thousands of people through direct employment, and indirectly by supporting the supply chain.
“Working with our partners, we hope to go further and bring real and lasting benefits to many of the individuals in society who have been hardest hit. We would actively welcome the support and backing of our industry colleagues and individuals with the means to support these important causes.”