Environmental standards and assurance
It's important that we set and follow the best standards in all our environmental actions and processes, so we can make sure we're doing all we can to help reduce our carbon emissions and meet our environmental goals.
We have held our ISO14001 Environmental accreditation for our Environmental Management System since April 2011, and successfully transitioned to the updated ISO14001:2015 in March 2018.
Our ISO accreditations cover:
- 43% of our waste water recycling operational sites
- Combined heat and power plant activities
- Head Office functions relating to waste water
- Transfer and storage of excavated highway waste
- Landfill activities
External certification of our management systems provides the business with an independent view of the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of our systems and identifies improvement opportunities.
This robust framework leads to better management of risks and continuous improvement of processes, adding value for our customers and decreasing the risk of outcomes that could damage our reputation.
Our ongoing assurance programme across our Environmental Management System helps to support colleagues across the business with issues on sites and managing their risks and compliance obligations, as well as driving efficiencies.
First line assurance is carried out by our operational teams every week. This allows timely interventions to be made and helps the teams improve on day-to-day performance. Our Standards and Assurance teams then analyse for trends and build this into focussed assurance visits and improvement activities.
of our waste water treatment sites are covered by the standards of ISO14001
57% reduction in pollution incidents since launch of Environmental Management System in 2011
*(based on cat 1-3 pollutions submitted to OFWAT for our PR19 Fast track plan, 2010-11 there were 37.3 pollution incidents per 10,000km of sewer network, compared to 27.41 in 2018-19)
Our Environmental Management System
In 2017 we developed an Environmental Management System assurance plan to focus on specific areas of risk, legal and process compliance.
We have now completed over 250 audits on our Wastewater Treatment and Waste Management processes. This has delivered improvements on key operational activities contributing to a reduction in pollution events, raising asset performance and informing investment for legal compliance.
Benchmarking our environmental management system
We're determined to be an industry leader in everything we do. That requires constant evaluation and innovation. Part of that process involves benchmarking against other organisations, how they perform, and what we can learn from others to push ourselves further.
How we spread standards and assurance knowledge amongst our teams
Training, competence, knowledge retention and understanding are important to our overall company goals and are key in ensuring effective operational control, helping to build trust and customer satisfaction.
In 2018 we launched interactive e-learning for our Environmental Management System.
This uses role-based modules to help our employees with no experience of environmental management to understand the risks and opportunities we have within our business, and how each of them can contribute to environmental management.
We also educate our employees on the importance of operating within a management system and how the work they carry out fits within a framework.
Spreading the message through internal communications
Protecting and improving the environment is embedded into our Company purpose and values.
The Company demonstrates its commitment through our sustainability ambition, triple carbon pledge and Biodiversity plans.
These have been communicated through leadership events, intranet news items and team talks.
Specific performance objectives are communicated through similar means and set within our people performance management process.
We raise awareness of environmental issues through our monthly team talks, performance meetings and training including Environmental Management Energy Management and Pollution Root Cause Analysis.
Non-conformances are communicated to relevant teams through audit summary packs and business meetings.
Our incidents are reported to senior management based on site specific management plans and formal company incident plans.
Spreading the message through external communications
All media enquiries will be responded to by our company press office.
Our management plans contain guidance on stakeholder response during company incidents e.g. environmental agency, drinking water inspectorate, and local resilience forums.