#EarthOvershootDay: How our members are working to reverse the depletion of natural resources

Today, 8 August 2016, marks the date at which we have used as much natural resource as our planet can renew in the whole year. From here on out in 2016, we're overshooting.

Many of our member companies recognise that this cannot continue indefinitely and are adapting and responding to this challenge by changing the way they do business.

Click on a company's name to find out what they are doing to reverse the trend of overshooting our planet’s resources.

adi Group | Anglian Water | Asda | Bluestone Resort | Boots UKBT | CarbonClear | CH2M | The Coca-Cola Company | Costain | The Crown Estate | Diageo | Eurovia | Fujitsu | Greenzone | IHG | Kingspan | Marks and Spencer | Met Office | NestléNorthumbrian Water | PwC | Ricoh | Sainsburys | Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland | Thames WaterUnilever | UPS | Welsh Water | Yorkshire Water

Find out more about Earth #Overshoot Day and tell everyone what you are doing to to reverse this trend. Tag your tweets with #overshoot and #pledgefortheplanet

adi Group

At adi Group we faced a dilemma.  How does our business, one committed to managing its environmental footprint, continue to grow in a sustainable way to play our part in reversing the trend of overshooting our planet's vital resources.

To better focus our business on these issues, we made the decision to create a dedicated CSR team to cascade environmental issues across the Group to drive change and awareness through what is now known as our ‘Engineering A Better Future’ programme.

Whether it’s making our head office facility eco-friendly, developing our business to become more digital through becoming paperless, our carbon neutral vehicle fleet in partnership with BP Target Neutral, raising awareness of green issues internally through our Go Green Alerts, or by sharing our expertise to help our customers business processes become greener and more efficient entities - together we are engineering a better future for generations to come.

Anglian Water

We and our customers are part of the water cycle and our actions affect the most basic and vital of natural resources. So we understand how important it is that we live within the ability of the planet to support us. It’s the message at the heart of our Love Every Drop strategy, which aims to put water at the heart of a whole new way of living.

The number of properties we supply has grown 27 per cent since 1989, but the amount of water we supply each day has fallen. That’s because of our focus on reducing leaks, a huge metering programme and innovative customer campaigns to increase water efficiency.

In 2010 we set ourselves an ambitious target to halve the amount of carbon embed in the things we build. This drove a step change in how we design, build and deliver our capital programme. Today what we build has on average 53 per cent less carbon associated with it than in 2010.

Our water recycling centres not only put clean water back it the water cycle, they also use the sewage they treat to produce green electricity and high quality biosolids for agriculture. Last year we generated 112GWh of our own electricity. As a business we no longer refer to ‘wastewater’. There’s no such thing.


At Asda we understand that we have a responsibility up and down the supply chain so that’s why we are working with our suppliers to reduce the impact of the products we sell in our stores. Through our online collaboration platform the Asda Sustain and Save Exchange our suppliers have removed over 35,000 tonnes of Co2e from their businesses. 

We are also working with our customers to reduce their environmental impact by helping them to reduce the amount of food they waste at home. Through our Love Food Hate Waste Campaigns, we have helped over two million customers take action and they tell us on average they are saving £57 a month! 

We’re working hard to improve our own operations as well with a 19% reduction in energy intensity since 2010, and 99% of our waste diverted from landfill.

Bluestone National Park Resort

Bluestone National Park Resort is continuing to invest in renewable energy as part of its commitment to environmental responsibility.

All 64 of the new lodges Bluestone has just added to its stock of luxury accommodation are heated by locally-sourced biomass. To do this, the resort built a second energy centre, producing 1,200mwh of carbon neutral heat per year. Generating that amount of heat from electricity would result in the emission of 516 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The first biomass energy centre at Bluestone was created in 2007 to heat the resort’s Blue Lagoon waterpark, and the company has recently invested in new high-efficiency boilers to reduce the facility’s fuel demand by 700 tonnes a year.

All biomass used by Bluestone is BSL accredited, which means it is sourced according to strict sustainability criteria. All of it comes from within 20 miles of Bluestone; some of it from the woods actually around the resort.

Boots UK

Within Boots UK, we are consistently striving to reduce our energy consumption and carbon emissions. In 2007, Boots UK accepted Prince Charles’ Mayday challenge, and set an ambitious CO2 reduction target across legacy stores of 30% by the year 2020 (compared to 2005).

Our performance against this target has been excellent to date. This has been achieved through a number of initiatives, including: engagement with our colleagues through our EnergyCare programme to encourage an energy conscious culture; using efficient and innovative technology such as LED lighting, refrigeration and building management controls to reduce carbon whilst improving the feel-good experience in our stores; and by ensuring that wherever possible our controllable electricity originates from green sources such as wind farms and hydro-power.

Going forward, we aim to continue setting challenging targets in order to further reduce our burden on the planet’s resources. 


At BT we want to operate as efficiently as possible. By using only the materials we need, we can cut costs and reduce pressure on natural resources.

Over the years we’ve been recovering large quantities of copper cables rather than leaving them in the ground. We reuse or recycle electronic equipment that we use in our own operations and we’re also recycling more rubbish, thanks to better signs and more engagement across the business to encourage people to use the correct bins. 

We’re committed to using and developing our technologies to cut our own and other’s end-to-end carbon footprint. Our products and services support new ways to communicate and do business that can avoid emissions and stimulate economic and social benefits.

We’re already helping customers cut their emissions by 1.6 times our end-to end carbon footprint. We aim to make it three times by 2020. We’ve shown that investment in ICT could reduce UK carbon emissions in 2030 by 24%.

– Anna Easton, Director, Sustainable Business, BT Group

Carbon Clear

Carbon Clear partner with our clients to provide intelligent sustainability solutions to help them compete and prosper in a low-carbon world.

Responsible behaviour is at the core of our DNA; people typically join our team because they believe passionately about addressing climate change, environmental degradation and resource depletion.

We are a small company and our emissions are dwarfed by those of our larger clients. It is therefore, within our client base that we can have the most impact on reducing the planet’s resource use.

Through corporate programmes to calculate and report company emissions and energy use we have time and time again identified resource reduction initiatives that have a significant impact on consumption, waste and GHG emissions. An example of this is that through the energy audits carried out for our clients in 2015, we identified 400million kWh savings opportunities per annum, which would save the equivalent carbon emissions of a fully loaded passenger plane flying around the equator 33 times!

– Mark Chawick, CEO, Carbon Clear


To reverse the trend of overshooting our planet’s resources, CH2M is working to put nature at the centre of engineering design.

Green infrastructure is the art of using natural ecosystem services - such as the filtering power of a wetland or the reservoir capacity of healthy forest soils - as a key element in solving an engineering problem. Whether it is building a living shoreline of oyster reefs or restoring a functional floodplain to create a vibrant urban greenway, combining grey and green infrastructure solutions create an artful mosaic that provides the best outcome for communities, business and the planet.

– Brandy Wilson, Global Sustainability Director, CH2M, @Brandy_M_Wilson

The Coca-Cola Company

At Coca-Cola, we are committed to helping reduce the pace at which our planet’s resources are being used.

By 2020, we aim to replenish the water used in our finished beverages; sustainably source our key agricultural ingredients; and reduce the carbon footprint of the “drink in your hand” by 25 percent - with progress realised across all goals.

As we understand the positive effect that empowering women can have on communities, including addressing environmental challenges, we are also vested in supporting five million women entrepreneurs by 2020. We embrace our responsibility and opportunity to help build a healthy future for our planet.


At Costain, we are working with our supply chain to develop technical solutions to address Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and resource scarcity in infrastructure.    

Climate change and resource depletion represent critical challenges for our customers, our suppliers and our business. As part of our sustainability strategy, ‘Engineering a Sustainable Tomorrow’ we have committed to quantifying and managing GHG emissions across the whole lifecycle of all projects we are engaged on.

As part of this drive we have developed a series of tools that automate GHG quantification to identify “hot-spots” to be addressed. We have recently been awarded funding to develop an open source tool for use by the whole industry, making carbon quantification and management automated and aligned with current processes within the entire industry.

We believe that by working with our supply chain to develop technical solutions to address GHG emissions and resource scarcity in infrastructure that we will be able to jointly deliver a step change in the minimization of our GHG emissions whilst continuing to meet the UK’s essential infrastructure needs in infrastructure. 

– Damien Canning

The Crown Estate

Our Rural team has focused on supporting tenants and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our portfolio with a focus on soil quality.

We insist that all prospective tenants have soil management policies in place to ensure the commercial viability of our land. We see healthy soil as fundamental to the health of our natural resources. Effective soil management practices on our land can help improve the soil for farmers, safeguarding quality and yield whilst enhancing the asset’s capital and rental value.  

– Jane Baptist


To protect the planet’s resources, we use natural resources responsibly throughout our supply chain, with, as a drinks company, a particular emphasis on water.

 For example, in Plainfields, USA, new technology is reducing our carbon footprint by up to 9750 tonnes of CO2 (about the same as 2,000 cars) and water by 36,000M3 (about half a million baths) per year.

While in India, we are combining water stewardship with community programmes to deliver safe water and sanitation. Alongside reducing our own water use, we are contributing more than 220,000 m3 of water for local people, reaching around 52,000 people.

These measures include restoring dams; building community toilets; repairing hand pumps; installing water purification systems; building rainwater harvesting systems; and providing training in water, sanitation and hygiene.

– Charlotte Lambkin, Corporate Relations Director, Diageo 


Eurovia UK recognises that to be truly sustainable and ensure our business remains successful, resources must be managed better.

Eurovia UK’s environmental management is focussed on waste, water, carbon, materials, pollution and biodiversity and we set incremental targets each year to drive continuous improvement in these areas.

Last year, for example, we reduced mains water consumption by 10% compared to 2014. Working in partnership with supply chain partners, the company’s fleet specifications are reviewed annually, and we have lowered emissions specifications by 47kg of CO2 since 2013.

We have followed this up with training on eco-driving at the point of induction and through toolbox talks to further reduce the amount of carbon produced by our vehicles.

– David Campbell, Group HS&E Director at Eurovia


Fujitsu has developed an Environmental Action Plan to embrace both the Sustainable Development Goals and the ambitions of the recent COP21 agreement.

We are delivering innovation, solutions, services and products to support these global ambitions whilst also reducing our own impact, where our long term goal is to become a zero emission organisation. 

Working with our people, our customers and through our supply chain and stakeholders we aim to serve communities and the planet, pursuing our vision of a Human Centric Intelligent Society, delivering solutions in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Energy Management, Transport, Health and Smart Cities.

– Juliet Silvester, Head of Responsible Business, Fujitsu


GreenZone prides itself on challenging preconceptions of the cleaning industry. Our goal is to deliver truly environmentally friendly commercial and residential cleaning services.

In line with our commitment, we are exclusively using cleaning products accredited with the E.U. ecolabel. We are also driving behavioural change amongst our employees; supporting them to reduce product consumption.

Despite our small size, we have implemented environmental policies and procedures to ensure that our impacts on the environment are considered at all times during our day-to-day operations.

We are also supporting the Eden Project – an educational charity that challenges the way people think of the world around them. Ultimately, being green is not just a bolt-on to our business; it is how we do business and it is a key competitive advantage in our marketplace.

– Steve Trew, Managing Director


As a hotel company we understand the impact our business activities have and take active steps to manage it. Working with our stakeholders, colleagues, and guests we want to demonstrate how seriously we take issues such as climate change, water scarcity, utility consumption and environmental preservation.

IHG Green Engage™ system is our online sustainability tool that helps hotels to minimise their impact on the local environment. It measures energy, carbon, water and waste and recommends over 200 Green Solutions – action items that hotels can implement to be more sustainable.

The IHG Green Engage™ system supports hotels to create environmental action plans and targets. Hotels using the system can make energy savings of up to 25% on average. Thanks to the tool, over 5,000 hotels around the world have implemented more than 100,000 green solution since it was launched.

– Lisa Basford, Director, Global Corporate Responsibility, IHG


Five years ago, Kingspan pledged to become a Net-Zero Energy business by 2020 – meaning our operations across 85 countries must be energy neutral on an aggregated basis over the period of a year.
Our Net-Zero Energy programme is a very public commitment to demonstrate that it’s possible to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
We are well on track to achieve our goal and have already seen a hugely positive impact on our business. So far, we have reduced our global carbon emissions by almost 50%.
Critically, we’re also showing it makes business sense - energy efficiency measures added €1 million profit in 2014 alone.
The construction industry needs a model for reducing the 36% of European carbon emissions associated with buildings. By proving both the sustainability and financial case, we hope to persuade others to follow a similar Net-Zero journey.

Marks and Spencer

We want to lead our sector in sustainable production and consumption, offering our customers the good value, high quality products and services that they expect from M&S, while respecting planetary boundaries and the need for social equity. Here are some of the steps we have taken:

  • Zero net carbon emissions from M&S operations for four consecutive years

  • Zero waste to landfill from UK operations for five consecutive years

  • 73% of products have a Plan A quality

  • 99% of wood used in products comes from sustainable sources

  • 42% of cotton used to make M&S products come from sustainable sources

  • 100% responsibly sourced fish

  • 100% of palm oil in M&S products is RSPO certified

  • Plastic microbeads removed from beauty products to help marine life

  • 9% reduction in food waste (per 1,000 square foot) compared to 2013/14

– Jo Daniels

Met Office

Managing the planet’s resources lies at the heart of the Met Office’s work.

Our weather and climate science helps governments and businesses around the world make informed sustainability decisions. For example, our forecasts are used by airlines to help them save fuel by flying the most efficient routes.

Closer to home we like to do our bit too. One thousand solar panels on the roof of our HQ provide over 200,000 KWh of electricity per year and water from our own borehole is mixed with water from the mains to help cool our supercomputers.

Biodiversity is also important and by carefully managing our sites we’ve identified 400 different species of plants, animals and insects, with new ones appearing each year.


Nestlé aims to achieve 100% renewable electrical energy globally in the shortest practical timescale through RE100, a global initiative to engage, support and showcase influential companies committed to using 100% renewable power. 

Since April 2016, all of Nestlé’s grid-supplied electricity in the UK and Ireland comes from renewable sources. Nestlé UK&I has also structured a long term arrangement which will bring new renewable generation capacity onto the market. This new deal, an initial 15 year partnership with Community Wind Power, will see a brand new nine turbine wind farm open in Dumfries and Galloway in the first half of 2017. It will produce approximately 125GWh of power per annum, enough to supply the annual demands of 30,000 homes.
This newly commissioned windfarm will generate new power to initially cover half of the company’s electricity needs.
Combining the impact of the windfarm alongside Nestlé UK&I’s energy efficiency programme, the company is now on track to achieve at least a 60% carbon reduction by 2020 vs 2010 baseline.

Northumbrian Water

Northumbrian Water takes a proactive, industry-leading approach to protecting the planet and utilising sustainable energy sources. Our advanced anaerobic digestion (AAD) facilities at Howdon, on Tyneside, and Bran Sands, on Teesside, literally create “power from poo”.

The company leads the way as the only wastewater company in the UK to use all its sludge remaining after sewage treatment to produce renewable electricity. It captures the methane released by bacteria digesting the sludge and uses it to drive engines to create electricity. Between the two plants they treat two million cubic metres of sludge and turn it into 10 mega watts of renewable energy – enough energy to power an entire town.

Power from poo isn’t the only sustainable energy source Northumbrian Water utilises. Bran Sands is also home to a 930-panel rooftop installation for solar power.

It also stands to reason that, being a water company, hydro power has been embraced at sites including at Kielder Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe. Kielder boasts the largest hydro power plant of its kind in England.”


PwC been taking steps for many years to reduce the natural resources they use. PwC have:

  • Reduced energy consumption by 45% in absolute terms whilst growing the business, by using a biofuel made from our used cooking oil, by pioneering new technologies in their buildings

  • Reduced paper consumption by 63% by moving to multifunctional printer-copiers with default double-sided printing and secure print, as well as encouraging off-screen document access

  • Reduced water consumption by 37% by replacing plant, introducing dosed taps and waterless urinals

  • Reduced the waste they generate by 52%, by segregating and recycling all paper, glass, metals and plastics. In 2012, they achieved zero waste to landfill and have implemented an extensive ‘Going circular’ programme,  so they now recycle and reuse around 85% of all the materials they use in their business including food waste, IT, furniture and textiles.


Ricoh has developed numerous technologies to reduce environmental impact, incorporating these within our products:

  • Rules-based print management software, reducing unnecessary paper consumption

  • Ultra-low energy consumption in Ricoh devices at Standby; class-leading product energy efficiency

  • Plastics from plant-derived sources (maize, sunflower seed husks)

  • Closed-loop remanufacturing of Ricoh products and consumables

We also incorporate various initiatives within our business operations to reduce environmental impact:

  • Offering Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper products to customers

  • Remote resolution of customer service queries avoiding  CO2 emissions associated with dispatching an engineer to customer premises

  • Introduction of CO2 emissions-based penalty charge on employees receiving a car allowance to encourage drivers to adopt a more efficient vehicle or opt into a low-emitting company car instead

  • Utilise tele/video conferencing facilities to negate ‘travel to’ meetings

  • Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles introduced onto our Company Car policy and provision of on site charging infrastructure

– James Deacon, Head of CR


In 2011 Sainsbury’s promised to halve our relative operational water use compared to 2005/06. By analysing consumption we identified high-use sites and leaks, while installing new management techniques alongside technologies such as rainwater harvesting and water efficient toilets.
As a result, we hit our target by 2013 and continue to better this today. In fact, despite increasing the square foot of our estate by over 50%, Sainsbury’s still uses 1 billion litres of water less than in 2005/06. That’s 400 Olympic swimming pools.

In addition to this, we’ve introduced ‘triple zero stores’. As well as being carbon neutral and sending no operational waste to landfill, these have zero-impact water consumption.

Of course, even with the most efficient systems, stores still need fresh water, so we work with local schools and colleges to reduce their consumption. We now have three of these sites in operation with the schools and colleges offsetting all store usage, while also saving an estimated £100,000 from their combined water bills to date.

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland

Saint-Gobain Pam

At Saint-Gobain Pam we are committed to the reduction of our environmental impact. In support of this commitment, we have challenged ourselves to achieve the following targets;

  • Zero Production Waste to Landfill by 2020: Achievement to date - 81% reduction compared to 2010

  • 12% reduction in water usage by 2016 compared to 2013: Achievement to date - 15%

  • 60% process water discharge reduction by 2025: Achievement to date - all process water fully recycled

  • 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 based on 2010: Achievement to date - 13.3%, a figure independently audited under the Achilles Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) and recommended by them for Gold standard status

  • All manufacturing sites to have carried out a Biodiversity assessment with appropriate action plans by 2025: Achieved with examples of working with local wildlife trusts returning once industrial landfill sites into natural meadows and woodland.

Saint-Gobain Glass

Working in partnership means we can achieve more. We apply this principle to tackling shared challenges like reducing the need for virgin natural resources. In Scotland, with partner CMS we are closing the loop on construction waste and turning glass ‘waste’ into a vital raw material, reducing the need for virgin sand and limestone.

As CMS upgrade their customer’s windows glass from the old windows is separated from the frames, crushed and transported by us to our glass production facility in Eggborough, one of the most efficient and modern glass production lines in the world. Here it enters our production process and is transformed into new glass to make new double/triple glazing units which are supplied back to CMS. We include up to 30% recycled material in the making of float glass, which has helped enabled us reduce energy consumption by 8%, raw materials by 25% and CO2 emissions by 10%.

Thames Water

In delivering the essential service of water and wastewater to 15 million customers we use natural resources either directly or indirectly, however, we also have the potential to reduce what we use. The biggest resource we use on a daily basis is grid electricity which is predominantly produced using fossil fuels.  We have been generating and using renewable electricity since the 1930’s and we have plans to increase the amount we produce and use to 34% by 2020. 

The majority of the renewable electricity we generate is based on extracting energy from sewage sludge through a combination of; thermal hydrolysis (THP) and anaerobic digestion (AD) to produce biogas which can be used to produce renewable electricity or the direct use of dried sewage sludge a fuel to produce electricity and heat. 

However, even after THP and AD there is still energy and other resources in the treated sludge and we are exploring the use of pyrolysis to release additional biogas fuel to generate more renewable electricity. The potentially exciting benefit of pyrolysis is that it produces a by-product called char which is full of natural resources such phosphate, precious metal and carbon which can be recovered and used to substitute extraction from the ground of these materials and so contribute to the reversal of the trend of overshooting our planet’s resources.


At Unilever we have a vision to make sustainable living commonplace. Every vision needs a plan and we have the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which spans every country we operate in, and every brand – no exceptions.

The plan holds us to 50 time based targets, which between them make very clear our commitment to reducing our environmental impact, enhancing livelihoods and improving the health and wellbeing of more than a billion people. All of which add up to what we are doing to reverse the trend of overshooting our planet’s resources and create a brighter future for those to come. 

– Keith Weed, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Unilever


As a global logistics business operating over 100,000 vehicles worldwide, UPS recognises it has a responsibility to do this sustainably. This means focusing in particular on emissions, both air quality and greenhouse gas, and on congestion.

Fortunately, we have the tools for the job! Accurate measurement tells us that it all starts with efficiency. This runs throughout the company, from bespoke designed vehicles and methods that shave seconds off each delivery to leading edge ‘big-data’ technologies that, for example, consider more options in planning a driver’s daily route than there are seconds in the age of the earth.  

But efficiency is not enough, and that’s where our ‘rolling laboratory’ of alternative technology vehicles comes in.  We have over 7,000 of these now globally including trucks in the UK that run on waste and other trucks that are not trucks at all – but tricycles instead!

Sustainable logistics – it’s what we do.

– Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability, UPS Europe.

Welsh Water

As a company owned on behalf of its customers, we’re determined at Welsh Water to use the trust placed in us to do the right thing. This includes playing our part in achieving a truly sustainable environment that we are proud to hand on to future generations.

To help us achieve this, we’re:

  • Investing to increase the amount of renewable energy generated on our sites, helping us to cut our carbon footprint and the cost of importing energy. In 2015-16, we generated 100GWh (enough to power 20,000 homes), up from just 6 GWh in 2007-08.

  • Working with National Grid to provide flexible energy demand from equipment across our network and help manage peaks and troughs in electricity supply and demand nationwide.

  • Transforming our Five Fords Wastewater Treatment Works in Wrexham into the industry’s first Energy Park with five types of renewable energy.

Yorkshire Water

Assessing natural capital on Yorkshire Water's investment programme Yorkshire Water helped pilot test the recently published Natural Capital Protocol on a capital investment scheme to upgrade a water treatment works in Sheffield. A natural capital assessment showed that project optioneering significantly reduced the negative environmental impacts and introduced positive environmental enhancements, enabling environmental value of around £3.8m over and above the do-nothing scenario. This value was primarily created by reducing carbon emissions with a low energy process option, and the introduction of a green roof to protect and enhance local biodiversity.  The business is now looking at how it can embed Natural and Social Capital thinking in its standard decision making process. Read the case study.