TRANSFORMATION

LET’S GET STARTED
OUR ROUTE MAP

Scottish Water is committed to transforming the way it operates and invests to deliver net zero emissions by 2040.

In this section you can find out more about the commitment we have made, the principles we will apply to guide our approach and our overarching objectives which will help deliver our purpose of Supporting a Flourishing Scotland.

PARIS AGREEMENT 2015
UNITED NATIONS PURSUES EFFORTS TO LIMIT GLOBAL TEMPERATURE RISE TO 1.5 DEGREES C BY
2050
SCOTLAND 2019

DECLARATION OF CLIMATE EMERGENCY,
CLIMATE CHANGE ACT

2045
NET ZERO TARGET

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is an existential threat to the wellbeing of future generations as it impacts the environment on which we all depend, and we must all play our part in limiting its adverse impacts. We rely on a good quality environment for the provision of our vital services.

At the heart of our response to the declaration of a climate emergency is the ambition we have set to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, 5 years ahead of the Scottish Government’s target and then going beyond it.

To plan for the resilience of our services in the future, as set out in our strategic plan, we have developed a parallel set of activities that focus on climate change adaptation.

TO ACHIEVE OUR NET ZERO
EMISSIONS AMBITION, WE WILL:

BECOME MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT

USE LOWER-CARBON
ENERGY PRODUCTS

EMBRACE LOW CARBON CONSTRUCTION
STORE AWAY EMISSIONS THAT CANNOT BE AVOIDED
OUR EMISSIONS TODAY

We are an emission-intensive business, meaning our current emission footprint is large. We have two major contributors to our emissions: operational emissions from the delivery of our vital services and investment emissions driven by our investment programme that maintains and improves our services.

We have been working hard, year on year, to reduce our emissions by using more efficient equipment, reducing leaks from our water pipes, and through using solar, hydro and wind power. This has meant that, since 2007, we have nearly halved the emissions from our operations.

Currently, our operational emissions are over
254,000 tCO2e* each year, the equivalent of
up to 40,000 car journeys around the world.

Whilst the challenge ahead of us is big, we have the
experience, ambition and commitment to overcome it.

*Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per annum

Currently, our operational emissions are over 254,000 tCO2e* each year, the equivalent of up to 40,000 car journeys around the world.

Whilst the challenge ahead of us is big, we have the experience, ambition and commitment to overcome it.

*Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per annum

Currently, our operational emissions are over 254,000 tCO2e* each year, the equivalent of up to 40,000 car journeys around the world.

Whilst the challenge ahead of us is big, we have the experience, ambition and commitment to overcome it.

*Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per annum

foot graph
foot graph

In this section you’ll find out more about our current emissions and the progress we have made so far towards net zero.

In this section you’ll find out more about our current emissions and the progress we have made so far towards net zero.

CARBON INTENSITY OF OUR SERVICES

WATER
0.1
gCO2e/Litre

WASTEWATER

0.19
gCO2e/Litre

Our water service has one of the
lowest carbon intensities in the UK.

CARBON INTENSITY OF OUR SERVICES

WATER

WASTEWATER

0.1
0.19
gCO2e/Litre
gCO2e/Litre

Our water service has one of the
lowest carbon intensities in the UK.*

*From industry benchmarking

ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR

45%

53GWh

831GWh

REDUCTION IN OPERATIONAL EMISSIONS SINCE 2007

OF RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCED AND USED ANNUALLY ON OUR SITES

THIRD PARTY RENEWABLE ENERGY HOSTED ON OUR LAND AND EXPORTED TO GRID
ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR

45%

REDUCTION IN OPERATIONAL EMISSIONS SINCE 2007

53GWh

OF RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCED AND USED ANNUALLY ON OUR SITES

831GWh

THIRD PARTY RENEWABLE ENERGY HOSTED ON OUR LAND AND EXPORTED TO GRID

OUR EMISSIONS FOOTPRINT

Our operational emissions are calculated using the water sector carbon accounting workbook* and are independently verified. They cover what are termed Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions:

Scope 1 – Direct emissions: onsite combustion of fossil fuels; process emissions; and emissions from vehicles owned or leased by Scottish Water.

Scope 2 – Indirect emissions: use of grid electricity.

Scope 3 – Indirect emissions: business travel by public transport and private vehicles; outsourced activities including sites run by PFI companies.

*UK Water Industry Research Ltd Carbon Accounting Workbook

As well as operational emissions, our investment activities also generate emissions.

From the extraction of raw materials from the ground all the way to the delivery of a project on site, there are emissions released at every step of the way. Regardless of where these come from in the world and who produces them, we will account for them and work hard to drive them down.

vehicles graph

However, this isn’t easy. Investment emissions are challenging to accurately measure and record, meaning it can be difficult to manage them effectively.

Because of this we have developed our Capital Carbon Accounting Tool through which we can plan, measure and report the emissions driven by our supply chain activity. This means that when options for a project are developed, our teams can now calculate the emissions impact and use this to make better decisions, with a focus on lower emission options.

We are developing a new metric – the carbon intensity of investment – to bring focus to this area. Our current understanding is that this sits in the range of 200-300 tCO2e/£m of investment.
By knowing where these emissions are coming from in the supply chain, we can take steps to reduce them, helping us and our supply chain towards net zero emissions.

OUR ROUTEMAP TO NET ZERO EMISSIONS

Our routemap starts from where we are now, our knowledge and understanding of what can be done with what we know today, and sets out a journey to net zero emissions.

IN THE ROUTEMAP, WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THREE MILESTONES ON OUR JOURNEY TO NET ZERO

2025

2030

2040

SHORT TERM

We will reduce our operational emissions by at least 60%*. We will progress reducing our investment emissions, growing our understanding, and will set a reduction goal for 2030.

*from 2007 baseline (read more here)

MEDIUM TERM

We will reduce our operational emissions by at least 75%* in line with Scottish Government targets.

 

LONG TERM

We will achieve net zero emissions and will be supporting Scotland to achieve its goal of net zero emissions.

 

IN THE ROUTEMAP, WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THREE MILESTONES ON OUR JOURNEY TO NET ZERO

2025

SHORT TERM

We will reduce our operational emissions by at least 60%*. We will progress reducing our investment emissions, growing our understanding, and will set a reduction goal for 2030.

2030

MEDIUM TERM

We will reduce our operational emissions by at least 75%* in line with Scottish Government targets.

 

2040

LONG TERM

We will achieve net zero emissions and will be supporting Scotland to achieve its goal of net zero emissions.

 

*from 2007 baseline (read more here)

To get to net zero emissions will require the help of others.

There are many actions we can take to reduce the emissions which are directly under our control, for example, making our wastewater treatment works more energy efficient, reducing leakage or using our land to host renewable energy or to store away carbon.

Other emissions require us to influence customers, partners and supply chains, for example, the amount of water people use, the removal of surface water from our sewers or the emissions in the cement we buy.

And for some emissions we will take the opportunities that come from development of new technologies, such as low energy lighting or zero emission vans and tankers.

But we can also help others and can make a significant contribution to a Flourishing Scotland by supporting university research, helping develop the workforce of the future, the low carbon construction sector and looking at how our assets and resources can help reduce Scotland’s emissions. For example, by growing Scotland’s natural capital and supporting the hydrogen economy.

INTRODUCTION

TRANSFORMATION

REDUCING
EMISSIONS
SUPPORTING A
FLOURISHING SCOTLAND

ELECTRICITY

PROCESS
EMISSIONS

GAS &
FUEL OIL

TRANSPORT
& TRAVEL

INVESTMENT

STORING
CARBON