South West and Welsh Water join UN-backed net zero pledge

Two more UK water companies have added their name to the UN-backed Race to Zero challenge on the first anniversary of the campaign to halve global emissions by 2030.

Welsh Water and South West Water join Anglian, Severn Trent and United Utilities who signed up to the global campaign to reduce emissions across all scopes in line with the Paris Agreement.

The commitment includes publishing transparent action plans with robust near-term targets.

Water UK is an official partner for Race to Zero to encourage water and wastewater companies to decarbonise. Chief executive Christine McGourty urged all companies to join the campaign.

Peter Perry, Welsh Water’s chief executive said: “As one of the flagship companies in Wales, our target is about taking responsibility for managing the biggest challenge of our time in terms of climate change, focusing on the long-term and ensuring we help protect our customers, communities and the wider environment and create a better future for generations to come.”

The company recently unveiled its plan to decarbonise by 2040 with a focus on embedded carbon and whole life carbon. The company aims to have reduced by 90 per cent by 2030.

Matt Crabtree, engineering director at South West, added: “We are scaling up our investment in the environment and have kickstarted our race to net zero. Joining the Race to Zero confirms the plans and work we have underway within our business, recognising that a healthy environment is vital for the long-term sustainability of our planet.”

Businesses, organisations and financial institutions as well as cities and regions can sign up to pledge, plan, proceed and publish their goals and progress on the journey to net zero.

With the two latest signees, the participating companies are responsible for the delivery of water and wastewater services to almost 19 million customers through a network of over 5,000 sites, and over 430,000km of underground pipes.

Water companies in England committed to reach net zero on operational emissions by 2030 as  part of the Public Interest Commitments. Wales and Scotland have a 2040 target for neutrality of all emissions and a pledge by Northern Ireland will see it deliver the target by 2050.