Carbon management

As one of the biggest energy users in the East it's our responsibility to do all we can to minimise our impact on the environment. As well as reducing the operational carbon created by everyday activity, we must also reduce the capital carbon created by building of assets like water mains, sewers and pumping stations. Our aim is to reach net zero by 2030. Find out more about how we're doing that.


What is net zero?


Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced by a business and the amount removed from the atmosphere, by taking mitigating action.  We’ll reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away.


Our journey


In 2010 we set an ambitious long-term goal to transform our business and reduce greenhouse gases. We were the first water company to set ambitious targets to reduce our capital carbon levels by 50% and operational carbon by 10%. 


We are one of only 15 companies in the UK to have carbon reduce platinum standard for over 10 years of continual measurement, reporting and reduction in line with the requirements of ISO 10406.


In 2016, we became the first ever company globally to have our carbon management process independently verified to PAS 2080 Carbon Management in Infrastructure.


Since then, we’ve continued working with the Green Construction Board’s Infrastructure Working Group to further develop this global standard and we’re proud to be part of a process that brings a joined-up approach to the way industry evaluates and manages carbon emissions.


In 2019, along with other water companies in England, we agreed a series of pledges as part of a new Public Interest Commitment to show leadership at a national level.  One of the pledges was to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the sector by 2030. Together we’ve launched an industry routemap of how we intend to get there, and now each water company – including Anglian Water – has created its own detailed plan.


You can find our bespoke net zero routemap here. It sets out how we’ll reach our ambitious goal through a three-step hierarchy based on reducing emissions, decarbonising our electricity supply and removing or offsetting our residual emissions.


It’ll be challenging, but we’re confident that with the support of our supply chain, we can do it.


These case studies showcase some of the projects we’ve undertaken:



Reduce carbon, reduce cost


Carbon reduction only happens when all in the supply chain are committed to reducing their footprint and saving costs. As we know, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so the fact we’ve already made such savings demonstrates the commitment and strength of our suppliers and partners. In delivering against our carbon targets, we’ve achieved financial efficiencies in the investment programme of more than 20 per cent and saving hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon.


Our energy strategy continues to reduce operational carbon and costs and build resilience. Between 2010 and 2015 we rolled out 1,000 or so energy-saving projects which collectively saved over £20 million. In 2020/21 we generated 134.4GWh of electricity from renewable energy - enough to power 40,000 homes for a year. This came from solar, wind and combined heat and power (CHP) engines using biogas, a by-product of the water recycling process. Over the next few years, we’ll continue to concentrate on renewable energy, particularly solar and CHPs.


Carbon reporting


Since 2011, we’ve measured and reduced our greenhouse gas emissions. Using CarbonReduce (formerly CEMARS) certification, we understand our carbon emissions and improve upon them, year by year.

In 2017 we signed up as a supporter of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Since then, we have published climate-related information in line with its recommendations. In 2019 for the first time, we made a disclosure through CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). This follows CDP modifying the structure of its climate change questionnaire to align with TCFD (CDP-TCFD technical note). By 2020 we’d reached CDP’s global A list for our response to climate change, a result which puts us in the top 3 per cent of more than 9,600 companies globally. We’re the only UK water company to achieve such a rating and one of only 21 companies in the UK to do so.


In addition to our CDP disclosure, we have published greenhouse gas (GHG) reports since 2008 and have reported under each round of the UK’s climate change adaptation reporting power. You can find our latest adaptation report here.

Greenhouse gas emissions - annual report