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Sustainability and Climate Change

Trusted to serve Scotland in a changing climate

Our purpose is to support the protection of public health and the environment through providing high quality affordable drinking water and safely managing society’s waste water. We do this whilst ensuring our services are affordable and support Scotland’s economy.

Water and waste water services that are resilient to change are vital to a sustainable society. Our challenge is to find ways to be increasingly sustainable in how we deliver those services.

Our Sustainability Reports, published on this page, show examples of some of our achievements in supporting a sustainable Scotland. They also contain our annual Carbon Footprint Reports.

Carbon Footprint

We monitor and report our annual carbon footprint to help us understand how our emissions of greenhouse gases are accounted for by the different processes and activities within the business. Knowing our carbon footprint allows us to efficiently manage these emissions and to benchmark ourselves against the UK water industry as a whole.
Our underlying carbon footprint for 2014/15, adjusting for the effect of external factors such as the carbon intensity of grid electricity, fell by 1.4% compared to 2012/13. This continues a downward trend in our carbon emissions since we started monitoring and reporting them in 2006/07. It is notable out that these long term reductions in our carbon emissions have been achieved alongside continued investment to deliver higher service levels, meet growth in demand and improve statutory compliance.
Our reportable carbon footprint, however, increased by almost 7% to 404,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) in 2014/15, the first annual increase we have seen. This was entirely due to a sharp rise in the carbon emissions factor for grid electricity, which was in turn caused by more coal (which is highly carbon-intensive) being burnt in UK thermal power stations.
The pale blue line on the graph below shows our reportable carbon footprint since 2006/07. The darker blue line in 2014/15 shows what our footprint would have been had the grid emissions factor remained static at 2013/14 levels.

Carbon Footprint Graph 2015

Further details of our 2014/15 carbon footprint can be found in our Sustainability Report 2015 (pdf).

Scottish Water is committed to managing emissions and to ensuring all parts of our business consider carbon and wider sustainability within decisions and actions. To this end we are currently developing our updated Carbon Management Plan to encourage and track actions that each area of Scottish Water can undertake to help mitigate our emissions.  Our Carbon Management Plan is due to be published during early 2017; in the meantime our Carbon Plan 2010 is available.

Read our Q and A for our approach to carbon.

If you have any further questions or comments, please Contact Us.

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