6,800 km of rivers
21,000 km² company area
£21 bn invested since 1990
I am very proud to introduce Severn Trent’s approach to the environment – our response to the twin threats of climate change and nature loss, launched in a year when we’ve learned a lot about global emergencies. Our approach is built off science and knowledge, coupled with practical innovation and delivered through working in partnership with others.
Taking action is not optional and the scale of the task will challenge us all. Our response to these challenges is to set ourselves bold ambitions and embrace them with a creative mindset. We will manage our region’s water so we can all continue to use it sustainably into the future, we will play our part in rebuilding habitats that protect water catchments, we will turn waste into resources, and we will make our business net zero operational carbon by 2030, well ahead of the UK’s national target.
Our commitment to the environment is not new. Our approach builds on work that we have been engaged in for decades, as one of the country’s largest producers of renewable energy from anaerobic digestion, as stewards of land and water, and as efficient operators, seeking every opportunity to reduce waste and recycle resources. By creating a strategy that clearly matches our actions to our ambition, we raise our game and create new opportunities for synergy and innovation.
We know that going further and faster towards our environmental goals is something that is supported by our staff, customers, shareholders and the wider community. This approach will enable all of our stakeholders to see transparently what we aim to achieve, and how we can work together to achieve it. Partnership forms an integral part of our delivery, and we warmly invite further collaboration across our region and beyond - with farmers, NGOs, government, customers and other businesses.
As a purposeful company with public interest at the heart of what we do, taking leadership on the environment is a role we embrace. We take every opportunity to reinforce this with a global community of business leaders, through supporting initiatives such as HRH the Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta and the UNFCCC Race to Zero. And we are proud that our efforts are recognised through our listing in FTSE4Good and leading positions in indices such as Sustainalytics and the Responsibility100.
We will collaborate globally; but, most importantly, we’ll be doing what we do, right here. We’re proud of our work, and we’re proud of the part our region can play in generating solutions to global challenges. We won’t let the enormity of the task daunt us or get in the way of what it takes to find a way forward. We’ll be working to make sure Severn Trent takes care of one of life’s essentials, your water, for generations to come and that we do this as sustainably as possible.
Liv Garfield, Chief Executive
An environment strategy that means business
Integrating environment across our business
Our work on the environment is not a ‘bolt-on’ to Severn Trent’s normal operations.
It informs and integrates into every part of our business. That has deep and positive implications for the way we deploy resources, for the way we organise ourselves, and for our culture. Adapting ourselves to take substantial action on our environment provides an opportunity to build on our commitment to be a purposeful business, which thinks and acts for the long-term.
Working with large, connected-up systems is our stock-in-trade. So working on the environment in an integrated manner, finding solutions across the business is something we are well-placed to do. And in our experience we’ve found that solutions to environmental challenges lend themselves well to working on more than one level, and creating multiple benefits. Repairing natural habitats to protect water supplies provides some of our towns and cities with the best protection against the worst effects of climate change; like extremes of temperature, rainfall or drought. And repurposing waste, and create an income stream, that helps to keep bills low for customers.
Our approach works on the same integrated principles. It rests on four fundamental pillars, which address the global challenges of climate and nature and meet the imperatives that we have as a business.
The Four Pillars
1. Ensuring a sustainable water cycle
2. Enhancing our natural environment
3. Making the most of our resources
4. Mitigating climate change
Driving our work across these pillars are practical ways of working that provide a unified approach. Things like our pioneering use of nature-based solutions; working in partnership; the way we nurture innovation; and thinking and acting in a joined-up way to deliver multiple benefits. Each of these areas is showcased as a ‘spotlight’ throughout this page.
Our approach to the environment is to plumb it into the heart of our business. For years we’ve been using anaerobic digestion to treat sewage sludge in a way that also generates renewable energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and reduces our costs and reliance on fossil fuels.