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Next stop, net zero

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges for humanity. That’s why we’re totally committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and transforming the way we create and use energy. This will protect our world and water supply for future generations.

For the last 30 years, we’ve been on a journey to reduce our carbon emissions. We’ve beaten our first target by reducing our emissions by 588 ktCO2e compared to 1990, despite customer numbers increasing by 4.3 million. This reduction roughly matches the amount of methane a quarter of a million cows produce each year! 

We’ve achieved this drop by: 

  • Implementing innovative heat recovery and energy efficiency initiatives
  • Reducing our use of fossil fuels
  • Buying certified renewable energy to power our sites sustainably 

We also self-generated 536GWh of renewable energy in 2022/23, covering 27% of our own energy needs.

An image showing a building, solar panel, vehicle charging station, homes, and industrial building.

Plans to 2030

Our plans to 2030 build on the work of the previous 10 years. We’re using existing assets as efficiently as possible, and replacing life expired assets with low carbon alternatives. Our plans include: 

  • Generating more renewable energy
    We already generate up to 536GWh of renewable energy and plan to expand the use of solar on our sites.
  • Improving energy and fuel efficiency
    We’re continually upgrading our processes to reduce the energy they use.
  • Reducing the use of fossil fuels
    We’re replacing fossil fuels with biogas and other low/no carbon fuels at all our sites.
  • Trialling electric vehicles
    We’re changing our fleet to electric vehicles to cut emissions and help us all breathe cleaner air.
  • Building a sustainable supply chain
    We’re looking at how our supply chain reduces their carbon footprint to help us reduce ours.
  • Exploring lower carbon processes
    Trialling innovative ways to treat waste and control the treatment process to reduce emissions.
  • Unlocking our resources
    Assessing resource recovery opportunities and associated carbon avoidance. 

From cutting our carbon emissions to generating our own electricity, powering your homes to planting more trees, we won’t stand still until we reach our aim. 

 

Our net zero journey

In 2019, we made a pledge to reduce our operational net carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Since then, there have been some material changes to the assumptions used by the water sector. These have a direct impact on the net zero challenge and include:

  • Changes to our understanding of the levels of Nitrous Oxide emitted from the wastewater treatment process, a significant operational emission
  • An increase in operational emissions due to an improved understanding of underlying assumptions and changes to reporting scope boundaries
  • Additional carbon impacts associated with increases in treatment standards
  • Guidance from the Secretary of State for the Environment to consider phasing non statutory commitments, including net zero, where appropriate 

These developments don’t change our desire to achieve Net Zero. As our understanding of our emissions and reduction opportunities develops, we’ll update on progress, challenges, and opportunities. 

You csee some examples of the progress we’re making in our annual sustainability report.

A picture showing large silver industrial containers with a dark sky and clouds in the background.