Climate Change

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.

Reports in the media about extreme weather conditions across the world are becoming more and more frequent.

Only recently, in summer 2019, we have seen temperatures reach record highs here in the UK, including the hottest day since records began.

We can see the effects it’s having. That’s why we must act now.



Key challenges presented by Climate Change





Climate change risk

Climate change is a priority risk for us and acts as a contributor to other principle risks, as everything we do is impacted by weather. We work to calculate, mitigate and eliminate climate change risks through our Enterprise Risk Management process.



The key risks highlighted in our last adaption report are:

All of these result in a poorer customer experience. Our annual report details the risk climate change poses and how we will manage climate risks.



Accountability and Governance

The Board has overall responsibility for our approach to climate change, and meets 7 times a year to review strategic matters. Climate change is discussed as a key environmental topic.

The board regularly reviews carbon performance metrics as it is an outcome delivery incentive, reported to our regulator, OFWAT.

Carbon is monitored at the group level as a sustainability  metric, and is reviewed at each Corporate Sustainability Commitee meeting. 

Climate change risks are assessed by the Corporate Sustainability Commitee Committee and reported into the board.

We have an Energy Steering Group who meet quarterly and is chaired by our Chief Executive Officer.

Both mitigation and adaptation climate-related issues are integrated into the performance objectives and business plans for the Energy and Environment teams, steered by our Head of Environment and our dedicated climate change lead.



Investing in our future

If you want to help us continue our work reducing carbon emissions and building a brighter future for our region, there are many ways you can invest in Severn Trent and the work we do.





How we’re reducing our carbon emissions

We’ve been reducing our carbon emissions year-on-year over the last decade, but we need to do more.

Our triple pledge

In 2019 we set a clear and bold ambition, which we have named our Triple Pledge.


By 2030 we will reach:

Our climate achievements so far

In 2018, we won Energy and Carbon Initiative of the year at the Water Industry Achievement awards for our energy demand management work to deliver over 20 Mega Watts of energy flexibility, balancing supply and demand on the National Grid.




Our carbon footprint explained

Our triple pledge relates to our operational carbon emissions and focusses on direct and indirect emissions we produce. These are categorised as scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

We currently report all of our scope 1 and 2 emissions, and estimate a proportion of our scope 3 emissions. We are working to improve our data capture for scope 3 emissions, which include emissions from our supply chain companies who do work for us




The sources of our carbon emissions

Electricity use represents for 64% of our carbon emissions.

Process emissions accounts for 21%, chemical use is responsible for 10% and transport 5%.

We are investing in innovative projects that aim to reduce our emissions from all sources.



What we’re doing to reduce our carbon emissions

Our PR19 Business Plan, covering 2020 to 2025, sets out how we will continue to cut our carbon emissions


We take a range of actions to reduce our energy consumption. We regularly monitor site energy performance, challenging current practice and identifying energy saving opportunities.

We’re delivering energy efficiency improvement work on all assets across the wholesale business. This includes:

  • Improving heating and lighting assets and controls
  • Replacing or refurbishing inefficient pumps and other infrastructure
  • Refurbishing office sites as part of our workplace improvement programme, to create more efficient, resilient and comfortable places to work
  • Improving treatment processes on clean and waste water sites
  • Researching and developing newer, more efficient technologies.

We also encourage our teams to support and take responsibility for reducing our energy consumption at work. Our monthly Kill-a-Watt league recognises people who achieve the best energy saving measures each month.

We engage with customers on water efficiency and sewer misuse, to reduce the amount of water and waste water we need to treat.

Across 2020/21, we self-generated the equivalent of 53% of Severn Trent Water's electricity needs. 

We are able to generate green energy using the following methods:

  • Solar panels
  • Sewage sludge
  • Anaerobic digesters
  • Hydro turbines
  • Wind turbines
  • Food waste

We're currently researching, investigating and working on new projects to use a variety of renewable technologies, such as converting food waste into green energy.

Our commitment will roll out gradually to all our vehicles:

  • Cars: from now on, we will purchase only electric cars, reaching 100% in use by 2026 in line with our fleet replacement programme.
  • Vans: in 2020 we will start purchasing small electric vans for shorter trips. We expect suitable larger models to become available in the next few years, and plan to be buying only electric vans from 2023 onwards. We’ll also explore how we can weight our fleet toward smaller vans – for example, by carrying less kit – to speed up this process.
  • HGVs and tankers: based on today’s outlook, electric options may not be available by 2030, so we are working with electric vehicle suppliers to speed up this process. We are also exploring alternative low-carbon options such as hydrogen and biogas – fuels that we may be able to produce from our own operations.

To support our commitment to 100% electric vehicles, we are installing over 300 charge points across 65 sites over the next 18 months.

Greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide are released through the biological treatment of sewage and biosolids.

We are running and involved in projects to better understand and quantify these emissions so we can focus activity to reduce them.

Our approach to reporting is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and we have included only emissions from the assets which we own and operate and which we can directly influence and reduce, known as the financial control boundary.


  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
Emissions for combustion of fuel and operation of facilities (Scope1) 132,535 132,406 134,584 138,131 134,307 132,360 156,014 164,115
Emissions from electrcity purchased for own use (Scope 2) 330,679 357,756 337,028 294,426 279,393 217,726 199,635 182,768
Total Annual Gross Operational Emissions 463,214 490,163 471,612 432,557 413,700 350,086 355,649 346,883
Emissions benefit of the renewable energy we export (including biomethane exported for which we hold green gas certificates) 21,672 38,878 45,085 42,069 45,333 46,986 59,878 62,003
Emissions reduction from purchase of renewable energy (market based carbon accounting benefits) - - - - - 34,818 35,784 182,768
Total Annual Net Operational Emissions 441,542 451,285 426,527 390,488 368,367 268,283 259,987 102,113

Historic Carbon Emmision data, full carbon reporting is available in our annual sustainability report.



Adapting to climate change

As a water company we are acutely aware of the day-to-day impact that weather can have on our business.

Investing in our future

If you want to help us continue our work reducing carbon emissions and building a brighter future for our region, there are many ways you can invest in Severn Trent and the work we do.