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To the moon and back: food waste energy boost

“We’re diverting huge amounts of food waste from going to landfill where it would break down to produce methane – a dangerous greenhouse gas.”

Colin Lindsay
Operations Manager, Scottish Water Horizons

Since 2010, Deerdykes has saved more than 170,000 tonnes of carbon. That’s like driving over six million miles in a car – or to the Moon and back 12 times.

The facility harnesses gas from food waste using anaerobic digestion to generate green energy using a combined heat and power engine (CHP).

Food waste is broken down in sealed, oxygen-depleted tanks to produce energy-rich biogas. This is then converted into electricity through the CHP engines, as well as a natural fertiliser for use in agricultural land spreading.

Colin Lindsay, Operations Manager at Scottish Water Horizons said: “The numbers are impressive but quite difficult to visualise – particularly if you try to imagine 500 million kettles being boiled at once, or driving six million miles in your car.

“There is the added bonus that we are diverting huge amounts of food waste from going to landfill where it would break down to produce methane – a dangerous greenhouse gas.”

Around a million tonnes of food is thrown away in Scotland each year. A number of local authorities across west-central Scotland transport waste to Deerdykes along with waste from many food producers and businesses.

Scottish Water Horizons is the commercial arm of Scottish Water and plays an important part in helping the organisation meet its Net Zero ambitions, by maximising opportunities for green energy production on Scottish Water sites.

Scottish Water was a proud participant at the recent COP 26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow.

As Scotland’s public water and waste water services provider, protecting and enhancing the environment is a priority. Scottish Water has already committed to reaching Net Zero by 2040 – five years ahead of the Scottish Government’s national targets.

As well as transforming the delivery of key services, Scottish Water works with a wide range of partners to contribute towards wider carbon reductions.

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Innovative Partnership Offers Route to a Greener Dram

Delivering a Greener Dram

A Chivas Brothers tanker delivering residues from the production of Scotch Whisky to Nigg during the co-digestion trial

“The Nigg trial is an excellent example of collaboration in action, driving sustainability in Scotland’s food and drink sector, and making a tangible contribution to a circular economy and a Net Zero society.”

David Harley
SEPA’s Interim Chief Officer, Circular Economy

The successful trial involving Scottish Water, SEPA and major distiller Chivas Brothers saw distillery residue brought into Aberdeen’s Nigg Waste Water Treatment Works for the first time, with promising results.

A process called ‘co-digestion’, means that the residues from distilleries and breweries in the area can be added to sewage sludge processed at Nigg, as part of a system which produces biogas – an alternative fuel used to run the site’s boilers and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines.

The facility already has a process to turn sludge produced during waste water treatment into biogas – this is then used on site instead of oil or diesel. Since October 2021 the sludge treatment centre has trialled co-digestion – in other words, processing residues brought in from Chivas Brothers’ distilleries and breweries alongside the sludge – and this has noticeably increased the amount of biogas being produced.

Scottish Water’s Chief Scientist Elise Cartmell said: “The team at Chivas Brothers approached us because the various residues created as part of the distillery process are often rich in energy, and they were keen to find alternative outlets to capture and use it. Fortunately this aligned very well with Scottish Water’s existing ambitions to investigate co-digestion, extending work we had already begun with SEPA, so we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try out this process.

“It’s turning out to be a win-win for both parties: the distilleries are provided with an outlet for treatment which helps this key regional industry become more sustainable, while we at Scottish Water benefit from a boost in production of green energy at our site, which reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and helps our journey to net zero.”

With the addition of the distillery and brewery residues, the plant saw a saving of 58 tonnes of carbon over the 12-week trial period, which equates to 250 tonnes per year – the same as 250 passenger return flights from Paris to New York.

Chief Scientist Elise Cartmell said: “We’re very pleased with the findings which show that the trial boosted biogas production and significantly reduced the site’s need for oil to power its on-site boiler. Just as importantly, there was no adverse impact on the operation of the site or on the quality of the biosolids that are also produced for recycling to land.

“We believe there is excellent potential for this approach to be used at Nigg in the future and for it to be rolled out to other sites across Scottish Water.”

The trial was made possible by close collaboration between the industry, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Water. It was led by the publicly owned water company’s commercial subsidiary, Scottish Water Horizons.

Through collaborative working and close monitoring throughout the Nigg trial, the teams involved have laid the groundwork to explore further opportunities in the future to support businesses and green energy production across the country through co-digestion.

Chivas Brothers’ Environmental Sustainability Manager Ronald Daalmans said:

“The trial with Scottish Water has shown that residues from our effluent treatment process still have an energy value that can contribute to a more circular and sustainable economy and provide an alternative outlet for distillery residues when other routes are full.

“We hope the trial will open up further opportunities for collaboration between the Scotch Whisky sector and utility operators.”

David Harley, SEPA’s Interim Chief Officer, Circular Economy, stated:

“Against a backdrop of climate and nature emergencies, there’s a real environmental imperative for us all to act. But more than that, innovative partnerships like this between SEPA, Chivas Brothers and Scottish Water are real economic and social opportunities.

“The Nigg trial is an excellent example of that collaboration in action, driving sustainability in Scotland’s food and drink sector, and making a tangible contribution to a circular economy and a Net Zero society.”

Cutting Carbon

One of the Combined Heat and Power engines which convert biogas into heat and green electricity at Nigg WWTW.

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Skellyton Green Energy Scheme

Renewable Energy

The proposed photovoltaic panels will offset more than 20 per cent of the electricity needed to operate the facility.

The company’s commercial subsidiary Scottish Water Horizons is proposing to install 560 photovoltaic (PV) panels at Skellyton near Larkhall.

The carbon reducing technology will offset more than 20 per cent of the electricity needed to operate the facility and generate over 150MWh of electricity each year – the same amount of energy needed to boil a kettle 1.5 million times or watch a million hours of television.

Donald MacBrayne, Business Development Manager at Scottish Water Horizons, said: “Offsetting energy usage through renewable generation is a key part of delivering on our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

“This scheme will not only help Skellyton treatment works on the way to energy self-sufficiency it will also contribute around 12 per cent of the generated electricity to the national grid, helping to off-set carbon emissions further afield.”

The installation of the solar PV array will cut carbon dioxide emissions associated with the site by over 20 tonnes a year.

PV panels will be installed in an area of scrub, brownfield land within the boundaries of the existing works.

The Skellyton project is the latest in a long list of renewables schemes already installed at many treatment works and other Scottish Water assets across Scotland.

Scottish Water has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 with an interim target to host or self-generate three times its annual electricity consumption by 2030.

Almost 80 of the company’s water and waste water treatment works are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements.

“This scheme will not only help Skellyton treatment works on the way to energy self-sufficiency it will also contribute around 12 per cent of the generated electricity to the national grid, helping to off-set carbon emissions further afield.”

Donald MacBrayne
Business Development Manager, Scottish Water Horizons
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Battery Storage First for Scottish Water in Net Zero Drive

The new batteries will enable solar energy to be used at any time of the day or night.


The flagship scheme, delivered by framework contractor Absolute Solar & Wind Ltd, is part of a £2 million renewables project which includes the company’s largest single solar energy array to date. 

Four vanadium flow batteries, manufactured by Invinity Energy Systems, have recently been installed at the waste water treatment works that serve the city of Perth. The batteries are capable of storing up to 0.8 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy and will be used to store power generated from more than 2,520 solar panels, with a combined output of over 1 megawatt (MW).

By enabling solar energy to be used at any time of the day or night, the battery system will allow around 94% of the renewable power generated to be used on site – a significant step forward in the company’s decarbonisation ambitions.

By combining battery storage and solar power, the carbon footprint of the treatment works will be cut by around 160 tonnes of CO2 per annum – the equivalent of offsetting 580,000 miles from the average passenger car. The scheme will also help to power the utility’s first rapid electric vehicle charging points which have been installed at the site; and will reduce energy costs of the treatment works by approximately 40%.

This installation is the latest investment by Scottish Water Horizons, the public utility’s commercial subsidiary, who are developing a programme of opportunities for battery storage across Scottish Water’s asset portfolio.

Scottish Water Horizons Business Development Manager, Donald MacBrayne, said:

“We’re excited to have our first battery facility up and running to help reduce emissions and tackle climate change. The ability to maximise green energy production as well as store and release this energy when we need it is a vital part of our journey to net zero.

“By harnessing this technology, we now have a much wider opportunity to install renewables schemes that were previously unviable due to grid constraints. It’s a massive step forward for us and will form an integral part of how we cut our emissions in the coming years.

“It’s fantastic news for the customers in Perth as they can now benefit from a treatment service with a significantly lower carbon footprint, helping them with their ambition to become the most sustainable small city in Europe.” 

The utility-grade vanadium flow batteries were assembled by Invinity Energy Systems at their manufacturing and assembly facility in West Lothian. Invinity’s patented vanadium flow battery technology is already making its mark in the energy storage market world-wide as a safer, more durable and sustainable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Matt Harper, Chief Commercial Officer at Invinity Energy Systems, said: 

“We are very proud to be supporting the decarbonisation of essential public infrastructure in the UK. Utility-grade energy storage, such as our vanadium flow batteries, has a key role to play in unlocking the low-cost, low-carbon energy we require to reach net zero, while helping to shield companies from rising commercial energy prices.” 

A key component to the success of the battery and solar hybrid scheme is the intelligent battery software and control system that coordinates the production, storage and release of the energy generated.  The digital optimisation platform, Dynamic Demand 2.0, supplied and installed by Open Energi, provides a steady supply of energy during periods of low renewable generation whilst keeping energy costs down.

David Hill, Chief Commercial Officer, Open Energi said:

“Open Energi are thrilled to be part of such a pioneering project. The use of vanadium flow storage enables Scottish Water to soak up a greater proportion of their on-site solar generation when compared to conventional lithium-ion storage. Our micro-grid optimisation tool, which uses highly localised solar, demand and wholesale energy price forecasting capabilities, ensures not a single drop of sun’s energy is wasted.

“When you look at the recent surge in power prices, driven by high gas prices, we see this type of ‘Energy as a Service’ proposition, which bundles zero carbon technology into a simple value proposition, becoming the norm for all energy consumers.” 

The battery project in Perth joins a long list of renewables schemes already installed at many treatment works and other Scottish Water assets across Scotland.  

Renewable energy experts Absolute Solar and Wind delivered the onsite solar scheme earlier this year whilst adhering to ongoing Covid guidance.

Scottish Water has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 with an interim target to host or self-generate three times its annual electricity consumption by 2030.  Almost 80 of the company’s water and waste water treatment works are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements.

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Biodiversity boost for Lintrathen land

Replanting this hillside close to Loch of Lintrathen with a mix of conifers and native trees will improve wildlife habitats and boost biodiversity.

“This kind of mixed woodland is a much more attractive place for birds, insects and mammals to live and will massively improve biodiversity in this area.”

Mark Williams, Sustainability and Climate Change Manager, Scottish Water

Scottish Water is creating a brand new area of woodland in Angus aimed at improving biodiversity and wildlife habitats.   

The utility company is transforming 100 hectares of hillside close to Lintrathen Reservoir which was previously a mixture of mature conifers and rough grassland.  The process of rewilding the site with a combination of native pine and broadleaf trees is underway as part of Scottish Water’s route to net zero.  When it matures, the new woodland is expected to be much more beneficial for local wildlife, as well as capturing a significant amount of carbon.   

Scottish Water’s Sustainability and Climate Change Manager Mark Williams said: “As part of our overall strategy, we’ve pledged to find opportunities to use the land that we own to increase biodiversity and enhance the natural environment – and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.   

“We’ve removed the plantations of conifers currently at this site because they’ve reached the end of their productive lives.  They’re being replaced by a mixture of native conifers and broadleaf trees such as ash, oak and birch.  This kind of mixed woodland is a much more attractive place for birds, insects and mammals to live and will massively improve biodiversity in this area. 

“Not only that, but this new woodland will lock up a huge amount of carbon – we estimate that within about 10 years it will begin to capture around 1000 tonnes of carbon per year, which will be a major contribution towards our net zero goals.” 

The logs cut at the Lintrathen site have been sent for processing to James Jones Sawmill in Lockerbie, which also puts sustainability at the heart of its operations.  The trees will be used to produce furniture and construction materials.   

Stuart McArtney, Forest Manager with Bell Ingram said: “Replanting this land will make a real difference to the wildlife in the area.  Dense, monoculture planting provides only a very limited habitat, but this new mixed woodland means we’ll see more birds nesting, insects will come in to pollinate the tree flowers and it could also help to boost the numbers of native species like red squirrels and black grouse.     

“These young trees will soon become a fantastic green space for the local community, for wildlife and will make a really important contribution to reducing the effects of climate change.” 

Scottish Water is looking for further opportunities to create woodland on its land throughout Scotland, as part of its commitment to reach net zero and improve biodiversity.  The utility company has pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. 

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Minister visits control room managing impact of changing climate on services

“The ICC will become even more important in future to ensure that vital services can be monitored and maintained in the face of challenges caused by a rapidly-changing climate.”

Michael Matheson
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport

Michael Matheson toured Scottish Water’s Intelligent Control Centre (ICC) to see first-hand how technology is helping maintain services in the face of changing weather resulting from climate change.

During winter storms, our customers were largely protected from outages caused by power failures thanks to the vital role the ICC plays in supporting our field teams deliver service to domestic customers and businesses across the length and breadth of Scotland.

Serving 5 million customers and 2.6 million households, the country uses 1.5 billion litres of water a day and Scottish Water treats more than a billion litres of waste water daily.

It is responsible for a massive network of above-ground and underground assets which allows water to flow to taps and waste water to be removed from properties.

Scottish Water provides a vital public service which is critical to daily life and any disruption to customers – including vulnerable customers – is a priority.

Mr Matheson met Scottish Water’s Chief Executive Douglas Millican, Chief Operating Officer Peter Farrer, its Chair Dame Susan Rice, and Sharon Hamilton, the ICC manager, during his visit to the centre in our offices near Glasgow.

Mr Millican said: “Over the past 20 years that Scottish Water has been responsible for delivering the country’s water services, there has been a revolution in how we monitor and manage Scotland’s water requirements.

“The use of, and investment in, technology increasingly enables us to provide ever more resilient water and waste water services and enables us to anticipate and forecast issues and, when any disruption does occur, helps us ensure we can return to normal as quickly as possible. Recent winter storms have shown how a smart, swift customer-focused response can support communities’ return to normality after adverse events.

“With aging infrastructure, increasingly challenging weather patterns which impact our networks and customers at the heart of what we do, the ICC and the people in it connect right across our organisation to ensure communities can rely on us around the clock, whatever the weather.”

Sharon Hamilton, Scottish Water’s ICC Manager, said: “The ICC team are a key operational team within Scottish Water. Providing a 24/7/365 service, monitoring our assets to understand risk to ensure we protect Public Health, the Environment and our people and deliver the best possible service to our customers. They liaise directly with a range of Scottish Water staff both during and outwith core working hours to ensure the appropriateness of the business response to areas of potential service impact. 

“The team utilise a range of business systems developed to protect and enhance the customer experience including telemetry data from assets, logger data from our networks, security systems and supporting knowledge management systems.  

“In addition, the team use a range of tools developed to ensure they understand key areas of service impact associated with factors like weather conditions to ensure areas that result in significant business impact are well understood.”

She added: “The future evolution of our ICC is a critical enabler of Scottish Water’s future transformation and the achievement of Scottish Water’s Strategic Ambitions.”

Mr Matheson said: “Scottish Water’s extensive water and sewerage networks provide an impressive level of coverage across the country, and I am reassured that Scottish Water will continue to react quickly to any unforeseen issues on its networks. 

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Scottish Water Joins Global Coalition on Sustainable Water Use

The 50L Home Coalition was created to address two major concerns: water security and climate change.

The announcement was made at COP26 taking place in Glasgow today (Thursday November 11 2021) during an event in the Water Pavilion – A Net Zero Circular Water Future for Cities.

Scottish Water’s Gordon Reid, who leads on the delivery of a net zero route map which will transform water and waste water services across the next 20 years, spoke at the session.

Water management is critical to addressing challenges presented by infrastructure requirements, investment levels, growth and urbanisation against a background of the climate crisis and its impact on water sources and supply.

The coalition brings together public and private sectors to drive innovation and action. Public sector bodies and non-governmental organisations are jointly led by the Mayor of Phoenix Kate Gallego – whose appointment was also announced during COP26 – and Shailesh Jejurikar, the Chief Operating Officer of P&G.

Brian McCarthy, Scottish Water’s economic demand manager, said: “This year we experienced the driest six months between April and September in the north and west of Scotland and the second driest nationally since records began. By working together as organisations and with our customers, we can find ways of looking after our water to ensure supply for generations to come and reduce our impact on the planet.

“Scottish Water shares in the ambition to create a water-efficient, net zero future. We have committed to achieving net zero status by 2040 and going beyond thereafter. Water demand management will play a major role in reducing what we abstract from the environment, help to protect a precious resource and safeguard the country’s water resources for generations to come.
“We are delighted to be joining 50L Home as we encourage our customers to think about the water they use – and how we can all look after it. Being part of the coalition will aid our understanding and help deliver action to more sustainable water use and management.”

Braulio Eduardo Morera, Director of the 50L Home Coalition, said: “From our Coalition’s launch, our intention has been to transform the 50L Home into a public-private collaboration platform.

“Scottish Water is instrumental to realizing that intention, and we are delighted to welcome them into our Coalition. Scottish Water has played a substantial role in supporting the economy of communities across Scotland as well protecting and enhancing the nation’s natural environment. We are honored to learn from an organisation with such an important social role, and our hope is that through our collaboration, we can support Scottish Water in achieving its ambitious net zero emissions goal as well.”

50L Home was created in response to events in Cape Town in 2017 and 2018 when the city came close to “day zero” – when water services would be turned off to citizens due to major drought and the need to reduce usage.

Launched in October 2020, 50L Home is supported by an emerging group of global private partners – including Electrolux, Engie, IKEA, Kohler, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Suez, and Arcadis. It was convened by the World Economic Forum, 2030 Water Resources Group, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 50L Home was selected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Lighthouse Projects in 2020.

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Scotland’s Smart Canal Makes First Connection to New Housing Following North Glasgow Success Story

Sighthill is being connected to the award-winning Glasgow Smart Canal at Scottish Canals’ ‘Re-imagining 18th century infrastructure to address flood risk, stimulate investment & tackle health inequalities’ event in Scotland’s Climate Ambition Zone.

The event explores how the transformation of Scotland’s canals via projects such as the Glasgow Smart Canal, not only reduces carbon and mitigate flood risk, but tackles health inequalities and improve people’s lives.

Sighthill will be the first of five housing sites to be connected to the Glasgow Smart Canal, a new flood mitigation system that will accept surface water run-off, cutting 35,000 tonnes of carbon and unlocking 110 hectares of land for 3,000 new houses to be built in North Glasgow. The £17m project, has been delivered by the Glasgow City Council alongside Scottish Water and Scottish Canals through the Glasgow City Deal backed Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership (MGSDP).

Mr Harvie will make the connection in front of a 100 strong audience of industry leaders as well as those streaming in from around the globe as part of Scottish Canals’ panel discussion. He will be joined by facilitator Ross Martin, advisor on regional economies, and fellow speakers Catherine Topley, CEO of Scottish Canals, Karen Dee, Scottish Water’s Wastewater Service Strategy General Manager, Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken, Sebastien Chastin, Professor of Health Behaviour Dynamics at Glasgow Caledonian University, and Vanessa Gilpin, Founder of social enterprise Gathering Ground.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, said: “I’m delighted to join Scottish Canals during COP26 to connect the Glasgow Smart Canal to the Sighthill housing development. I hope other countries with similar historic assets can learn from the impressive approach taken here in Glasgow to mitigate against the damaging impacts of climate change.

“The Smart Canal is helping to manage flood risk, allowing areas of the city to be regenerated whilst also providing safe active travel routes for people to walk, wheel and cycle.

“It has been a decade of hard work to get to this point and I want to thank Scottish Canals, Scottish Water and Glasgow City Council, for coming together to deliver real change in new and innovative ways.”

The connection to 800 new homes in Sighthill has been made possible by an innovative new eco drainage system, The North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System, a partnership between Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Water. This new infrastructure forms part of the £250million Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area (TRA) – the largest project of its kind in the UK outside of London.

Catherine Topley, Chief Executive Officer at Scottish Canals, said: “Today’s success is the culmination of 10 years hard work and it would not have been possible without the vision, creativity and bold thinking of all the partners involved.

“By re-imagining Scotland’s canals for the modern day we have transformed them into vibrant ribbons of opportunity which not only deliver public value in incredible ways but help provide solutions to some of our biggest challenges, from tackling health inequalities to mitigating against climate change.

“The Glasgow Smart Canal shows how working heritage assets can be repurposed, using modern technology, to not  only provide safe car-free travel routes, blue and green space for leisure and recreation and community-designed, sustainable places for local people to live, work and enjoy, but reduce flood risk and cut carbon. If we can do this in Scotland, it’s possible elsewhere.”

The £17m Glasgow Smart Canal uses predicative weather technology and sensors prior to lower the water level on the Forth & Clyde Canal by as much as 10cm before a period of bad weather, creating 50,000 cubic metres, the equivalent to 22 Olympic swimming pools, of capacity for surface water run-off from residential and business areas to flow into the canal through urban drainage. 

Karen Dee, Scottish Water’s Wastewater Service Strategy General Manager, said: “The Smart Canal is a great example of collaboration and partnership working to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to issues such as flooding. The impact of climate change has never been greater, and we must transform how we think to deliver the solutions for the future. Scottish Water is proud to be part of the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership (MGSDP) and the work that’s being delivered together.

“The collaborative working with the Smart Canal brings together two sets of assets built by previous generations: the canals, and the underground sewers, which together help us adapt to the effects of climate change. By diverting surface water into the canal and away from the sewers we reduce the flood risk and pollution and keep these assets working to serve our communities for generations to come. This approach allows our urban areas to adapt to the changing climate and improve the places we live and work in. We are working actively across the country with local authorities to deliver this in all areas.”

The Glasgow Smart Canal is part of a 20-year programme of community-driven transformation that has taken place across Scotland’s canals, attracting £1.53bn of investment since 2002, creating 8400 jobs, and 9000 houses.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet, said: “Glasgow’s Smart Canal uses cutting-edge technology to effectively manage surface water which enables the building of new homes and businesses on land that historically has been unfit for development. It is very exciting to see such smart technology in operation in Glasgow – one of very few examples in the world – and I am delighted that this ground-breaking project which will play a key role in the continued regeneration of Glasgow’s Canal and the north of the city has been recognised by peers and industry experts for its innovation and excellence.”

A recent health study carried out by panellist Professor Sebastien Chastin of Glasgow Caledonian University in North Glasgow – one of Europe’s most deprived areas – showed that canalside regeneration resulted in a faster rate of decline (3% annually) in mortality rates among those individuals living within 500m of the canal.

Professor Sebastien Chastin of Glasgow Caledonian University said: “Climate action is an opportunity to improve the lives and the environment as they have co-benefits for health, water and pollution that equal or outweighs the investment required to achieve them. What has happened in North Glasgow by working in an integrated way delivers real change and is a far more effective way of working.”

Panellist Vanessa Gilpin, founder of Gathering Ground a non-profit community food space, highlighted new opportunities for people to live and work along canal corridors thanks to the regeneration of the area. Since reopening the canal network 20 years ago over £1.5bn of public and private investment has flowed into the canals. 

This investment has seen some of the nation’s most iconic structures appear including the world’s only rotating boatlift, The Falkirk Wheel, and the largest equine structures on the plant, The Kelpies. 

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Scottish Water Joins Business Climate Collaboration Launch to Accelerate Climate Action

Participating businesses who have come together to create the Scottish Business Climate Collaboration (SBCC) are from a range of key strategic economic sectors. They are: Aggreko; Diageo; EY; FirstGroup; Lloyds Banking Group; M&G; Scottish Power; Scottish Water; and, Wood.

The nine businesses represent around 25,000 employees in Scotland and 570,000 globally, with more than £92billion in global revenue. SBCC’s mission is to leverage combined scale and sustainability ambitions to accelerate the journey towards a net-zero future in Scotland.

Scottish Business Climate Colab Logo

SBCC is providing strategic direction and exploring practical, best practice action members can take – corporately and at employee levels – in the fight against climate change. Through a programme of collaboration in the build-up to COP26, SBCC aims to generate a meaningful business legacy from the global inter-governmental conference when it takes place in Glasgow next month.

This work will culminate in a SBCC Pledge, to be announced during COP26, when other businesses will be invited to adopt the measures in the pledge. Following COP26, the group will meet on a bi-annual basis to share best practice, ensure the spirit of the SBCC Pledge is being observed and consider further ways to collaborate to work towards net zero. 

“We have our own highly stretching targets to reach Net Zero and support biodiversity, but we won’t achieve them on our own, we need the support of our customers, communities and supply chain partners to get there. The SBCC will enable us to work together with other leading businesses in Scotland to ensure we harness our collective potential to achieve a just transition to a sustainable economy.”

Scottish Water Chief Executive, Douglas Millican

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our generation. Achieving a net-zero future will require unprecedented levels of collaboration and alignment between government, investors, society and the business community. The SBCC offers an ideal platform for businesses in Scotland to engage in this important dialogue and to help shape some of the solutions we need.”

Wood Chief Executive, Robin Watson

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is right that we focus the same level of resolve on tackling sustainability – the other great global crisis of our time. We are proud to be playing our part, taking action in our own business as well as working with other organisations through initiatives like the Scottish Business Climate Collaboration, the Sustainable Markets Initiative, the S30 forum of Chief Sustainability Officers, and the World Economic Forum. While sustainability presents tremendous challenges, it is also the innovation opportunity of a generation. The business community is ready to take positive steps in the fight against climate change. Forums like the SBCC will help to identify opportunities to unlock the full potential of the private sector to drive progress and support the transition to a net zero economy, with business and policy makers working closely together on this shared objective. Through collaboration like this we will find new ways to protect and create value from sustainability for all stakeholders.”

EY Scotland Managing Partner for Financial Services, Sue Dawe

“As we work to reduce carbon emissions and achieve net zero targets, companies like ours have a responsibility to lead by example and show how we’re making the transition to a cleaner and greener future a reality. As a 100% green energy provider, every decision we take as a business is through the prism of achieving net zero. We’ll only make a success of that by joining forces with our peers, competitors and communities through initiatives like SBCC. This is the latest step on our journey to tackle the climate emergency, reduce our own emissions and show how to become a more sustainable business.”

Chief Executive Scottish Power, Keith Anderson
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BLOG: Helping Tackle Climate Crisis with WaterAid – Shirley Campbell

Around the world our climate is changing, and it’s changing at an alarming rate. The impacts are being seen here in Scotland in our own communities, in the services we provide and the infrastructure we operate.

Scottish Water’s employees can see first-hand how delivering water and waste water services are being affected by more frequent intense rainfall events, and longer drier periods of weather.

The impacts here can range from flash flooding of property and urban spaces, water efficiency measures being implemented and our source water quality changing, requiring different treatment approaches to maintain reliable supplies.

Across our organisation, our people are engaged day to day to combat the effects of climate change, to minimise any potential disruption, enhance customer experience, ensure water and waste water services run as effectively as possible.

Malawi borehole

Many of us in our own lives are also taking steps to minimise our footprint on the world around us. From reducing the water we consume in our homes, reducing our energy needs, using less single-use plastic or being more sustainable in the food we eat and clothes we wear.

At the same time our employees in Scottish Water continue to make another vitally important contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change. Not in their own home, or community, or workplace, but thousands of miles away.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the water industry’s partnership with WaterAid. Since 1981, we have worked together to find solutions to the global water crisis.

Over the decades, those working in water services in Scotland have played a very active part in supporting the charity’s mission to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to places where those things aren’t as accessible as they are to us – or accessible at all.

With climate change impacting countries with the greatest need for the basics that we take for granted here in the UK, it’s more important than ever that we make collective efforts to support. In short, the climate crisis is fast becoming a water crisis.

Already, 1-in-10 people worldwide don’t have a reliable source of clean water. And the more our climate changes, the more challenging this becomes. WaterAid is working to ensure communities have a steady supply of clean water whatever the weather may bring. Find out more here.

Scottish Water employees fundraise year-round through a variety of activities to specifically bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to communities in Malawi and Rwanda.

In Malawi almost 6 million people don’t have access to clean water; more than 13 million don’t have access to a decent toilet; and every year, 3,100 children die there through poor sanitation and dirty water.

The link between water and climate is crystal clear. The connection between our people and those communities around the world runs deep. You can find out more about climate change and its impact on people in Malawi through stories told by WaterAid.

With all eyes on Glasgow in November for the world’s most important forum on climate – COP26 (the 26th session of the UN conference of the parties), it will bring the debate much closer to home for many of us.

Alongside the focus on reducing carbon emissions, we urgently need to look at how we can support those living on the front line of climate change right now.

So, as we continue to make steps in our own lives – at home and at work – to adapt to the changing climate, we too remain committed to ensuring vital daily access to clean water, working toilets and sanitation that protects the health of millions of people.

To mark our 40 years in partnership together, WaterAid has come up with a fundraising challenge with a difference – £40 for 40 years. Help us reach everyone, everywhere with clean water. Find out how to get involved.