Northumbrian Water Group – Responsible Business Champion: Environment

Northumbrian Water Group is caretakers of the water in its regions

The UPS Environmental Sustainability Award

Northumbrian Water Group’s work is rooted in the natural environment and the communities it serves. Their ‘Caretakers of water in our regions’ initiative embraces this responsibility – safeguarding the environment and water supply in their operations for future generations.

We aim to reduce the adverse environmental effects of our operations as much as possible, and promote improvements in the environment

Heidi Mottram, CEO, Northumbrian Water Group

Environmental impacts

Northumbrian Water Group is:

  • the only water company in the UK to use 100% of sewage treatment sludge to produce renewable power
  • using renewable electricity across all its 1,858 sites, enabling it to eliminate the equivalent of 125,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year
  • managing peak water demand with lessening resources to ensure its industry leading 100% security of supply, including a £150m investment in expanding Abberton reservoir to hold an additional 15 billion litres of water. This will help secure supplies to 1.5million customers in Essex for the next 25 years and beyond.

Business impacts

The company has:

  • achieved a four star industry leading company rating in the Environment Agency’s Environmental Performance Assessment in 2018 (results announced in July 2019)
  • halved its annual greenhouse gas emissions over 11 years and is industry leader in green energy generation, purchasing and usage
  • in 2018/19 its net emissions were 148.2 ktonnes CO2e – less than half of the 2008 baseline
  • its investment in natural solutions such as reedbeds has provided environmental benefits in biodiversity and a reduction in CO2 emissions, with the use of hydroelectric and solar power continuing to contribute
  • supported 105 projects and invested £410,000 since 2013 with its Branch Out fund. This has been used to lever in 12 times that amount in funding into its regions. This has resulted in it being part of, and helping to enable, a £5.4million investment in wildlife and people across its regions
  • its CEO leads the WaterUK Public Interest Commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030.

“Our commitment to the environment runs through the heart of our business. We aim to reduce the adverse environmental effects of our operations as much as possible, and promote improvements in the environment. Our values are the set of guiding principles which collectively define who we are, what we do and how we do it. They make us different from the rest, and allow us to make decisions and take actions. An example of the work we do is on carbon emissions which is industry leading, we have reduced operational emissions and the only water company in the UK to use 100% of sewage treatment sludge to produce renewable power. We have also used our experience from this to create further opportunities for green gas development – our second Gas to Grid plant will soon be commissioned. By 2027 we will achieve a net zero carbon emission position.” Heidi Mottram, CEO.

TOGETHER WE CAN BECOME PARTNERS IN CHANGE