This is how we measure our performance:
In 2009 we set a carbon management plan which aimed to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 303 ktonnes CO2e by 35% by 2020. In 2019/20 we have actually achieved a 54% reduction, with our emissions totalling 139 ktonnes CO2e.
Our target for 2019/20 was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 150 ktonnes CO2e. We did better than that by reducing the total to 139 ktonnes CO2e.
Having outperformed our previous commitments, we needed to reset the dial and create a plan for the future. That’s why we have committed to achieving net zero emissions by the end of 2027.
We are also proud to be one of three water companies leading a programme that will see the whole water sector in England achieve this record by 2030.
The following updated measures will be used throughout 2020-25:
Our Chief Executive, Heidi Mottram, took a leading role in highlighting the importance of this issue when she opened WaterUK’s industry-wide conference, Delivering a Net Zero Water Sector in March 2020. Representatives from across the sector came together at the event to discuss the challenge and share experience.
As the industry leader in Advanced Anaerobic Digestion, through which we use 100% of our sewage sludge to create energy, we have already reduced our carbon emissions by 50% since 2008.
We have also committed to increase the amount we spend with the local suppliers in our operating areas to 60p in every pound. By supporting local economies we aim to reduce travel and movements, while green fleet plans are set to add to existing sustainable energy purchasing and generation.
All 1,858 of our sites are powered by renewable electricity, which means we eliminate the equivalent of 125,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. We will create zero avoidable waste by 2025; this will mean eliminating, re-using or recycling 90% of waste from our operations, and working with closely with our partners to contribute to the circular economy in their regions.
Our investment in natural solutions such as reedbeds for the treatment of the waste from our water treatment process has provided great environmental benefits in biodiversity and reduction in CO2 emissions, with the use of hydroelectric power and solar continuing to contribute.
Looking ahead, the use of ‘digital twin’ technology demonstrates our continued industry leadership in this area. These pilots involve the creation of a virtual model of the real world and allow us to explore scenarios and the production of hydrogen in hydropower sites that cannot be connected to the grid.