• Water company joins world’s largest alliance on climate change
  • Plan published to hit Net Zero by 2027
  • Backing from Minister for Energy and from UK Net Zero Business Champion

Northumbrian Water Group – which includes Essex & Suffolk Water – has been welcomed into the world’s largest alliance on climate change after being approved by the United Nations to become part of its Race To Zero campaign.


The news comes as the company today launches its Emission Possible plan for achieving Net Zero carbon by 2027 – 23 years ahead of the campaign target and that of the UK Government.


The company has already slashed its carbon emissions from 303,000 tonnes in 2008 to just 56,000 tonnes in 2020 meaning it is well on its way to hitting this industry-leading goal.


Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.


Part of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Race To Zero sees the water company joining 120 countries, 454 cities, 23 regions, 1,397 businesses, 74 of the world’s biggest investors and 569 universities, in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2050 at the latest.


Among the achievements that have contributed to the company’s carbon reductions so far, and the company’s continued carbon reductions, are:

  • An industry-leading offshore wind PPA, which was the first of its type in the UK. This 10-year deal has Northumbrian Water Group sourcing around 30% of its electricity demand from the Race bank offshore wind farm.
  • Northumbrian Water powers all 1,886 of its sites using renewable electricity. This means Northumbrian Water can achieve 125,000 tonnes of CO2 savings each year.

Additionally, the company has plans for new solar installations in the next 18 months, as well as the deployment of onshore wind at more sites, where suitable and sensitive to the environment and communities.


The company has also set a target for zero avoidable waste by 2025.


The water company’s Emission Possible plan is available to view here.


Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Essex & Suffolk Water said: “We are delighted to launch Emission Possible, which showcases the amazing work that has already gone into our own drive towards Net Zero in 2027, and the way we intend to achieve that ambitious goal.


“We are proud to show our support for the ambition that will be outlined at COP26 by joining the Race to Zero, and delivering leadership and support for our region and communities in the face of climate change and all the challenges it brings.


“Climate change poses the single greatest threat to our environment and reducing carbon emissions is a vital step in tackling that challenge. Our plan outlines how we are facing this as a business – head on! And by joining the Race To Zero, we are recognising our part on the global fight ahead.


“When tackling something on this scale, collaboration is key to success, whether it is as a sector, as set out in our industry’s plans to achieve net zero carbon by 2030, or on a global scale as part of the Race To Zero. Nobody has all the answers, but by working together we can share knowledge, ideas and experience in a way that can deliver impactful – and vital – results for our environment.


“It’s fantastic that the United Nations recognises the role the UK water industry and businesses such as Northumbrian Water can play in this challenge, and we look forward to working with regions, cities, countries and companies around the world as we Race to Zero.”


Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change said: “As one of the UK’s leading water companies, Northumbrian Water are leading by example by rising to the challenge of decarbonising the water sector ahead of COP26.


“This pioneering plan not only supports the water industry’s sector-wide commitment to be Net Zero by 2030, but goes even further and faster, committing to eliminate its contribution to climate change by 2027.”


UK Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP added: “Today’s Race to Zero commitment from Northumbrian Water is a shining example on how it is possible to build a greener, more sustainable water system.


“At both a regional and national level, these innovative steps to reduce emissions will not only protect the environment, but also prevent threats to water supply, secure green jobs across the country, and open the door to future investment.


“I hope other businesses across the sector follow in their footsteps and join the Race to Zero.”


Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, is one of the UK water industry’s leads on tackling climate change through Water UK’s Routemap 2030. This represents the world’s first sector-wide detailed plan to reach Net Zero carbon.