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Water UK welcomes two new members to the Race to Zero

Support for the Race to Zero continues to grow as Water UK welcomes SES Water and Wessex Water on board as the latest members to commit to playing their part in a net zero future.

Both companies have recently published detailed plans to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2030, building on the publication of the UK industry’s Net Zero 2030 Routemap last year. Together, SES Water and Wessex Water supply water and wastewater services to over 3.5 million customers in the south and southwest of England.

Ian Cain, Chief Executive of SES Water said:

“We’re proud to be the first UK water-only company to make this commitment, demonstrating that our smaller size has no impact on the level of our environmental ambitions.

“Over the last ten years we have made great strides in reducing the emissions we create, cutting them by nearly 90%, by generating more of our own solar power, switching to 100% renewable electricity and having the most extensive fleet of electric vehicles in the industry. But each day we use enough electricity to power 13,000 homes and it’s clear there is much more we need to do, along with the rest of the sector, to reduce the impact of pumping, treating and distributing millions of litres of water every single day.

“That’s why we will be working hard – with our employees, customers and suppliers – to deliver what is in our route map and play our part in not only protecting the environment but improving it for the benefit of everybody.”

Colin Skellett, Chief Executive of Wessex Water said:

“There is no doubt we are in the midst of a climate crisis. Unless substantially reduced or removed, these gases will result in a level of global warming that will be catastrophic for humanity and most of the world’s remaining ecosystems. The climate is changing rapidly and the effects will become more severe unless we act now.

“It is critical that we focus our efforts on ways to neutralise our carbon footprint and are committed to achieving net zero operational carbon emissions by 2030. However, we must decarbonise all aspects of our work, and will work to achieve net zero total emissions by 2040 at the latest.

“Delivering our plan will require investment, collaboration and innovation. We will work with our communities, customers and other stakeholders to meet this challenge, with new ways of working and use of emerging technologies.  We look forward to working together to play our part in halting the environmental and societal damage being caused by climate change.”

The Race to Zero is a UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world.

Water UK is working as an official partner to the Race to Zero to encourage providers of water and wastewater services around the world to commit to achieving net zero ahead of the COP26 Climate Conference this November. The campaign’s ambition is to mobilise major water companies responsible for 20% of global water supply, with the aim of delivering the full decarbonisation of water and wastewater services in 20 countries by 2030.

To find out more about the Race to Zero and register your interest in joining the campaign, go to www.water.org.uk/racetozero.

ENDS

Notes to editors
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About Water UK and the Net Zero 2030 Routemap

  • Water UK represents all water companies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • The UK water industry was the first sector anywhere in the world to publish a comprehensive plan to achieve net zero on an industry-wide basis, having almost halved operational emissions since 2011.
  • It is estimated that water companies in the UK alone will prevent the emission of 10 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by reaching net zero two decades earlier than the UK Government’s legally binding target for 2050.

About the Race to Zero

  • The Race to Zero is the largest global alliance of credible commitments by non-state actors to achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest.
  • It mobilises a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 31 regions, 733 cities, 3,067 companies, 624 educational institutions, 173 investors and over 3,000 hospitals from 37 healthcare institutions. All actors must meet stringent criteria which will bring them to the starting line to credibly race to zero emissions.