Veolia in the UK and Ireland has a high-level of responsibility providing waste, water, and energy management services that are essential to everyday life. We take this responsibility seriously, recycling over 2 million tonnes of waste each year, generating more than 1,210GWh of renewable electricity per year and serving 1.8 million people through our municipal wastewater contracts that treat 800 million cubic meters of wastewater every day.
These services are indispensable to both the economy and society, yet we recognise the need to further reduce emissions across all sectors. This is why we are taking immediate action to drive Net Zero across our activities.
Collaborating and working across industries is at the heart of our plan to achieve Net Zero. As an industry leader, we are committed to driving new processes, business models and market opportunities to decarbonise our waste, water and energy sectors.
At Veolia, we stand in a very unique position with activities spanning the waste, water and energy sectors with opportunities for multifaceted solutions. We do not see our sector operations as separate entities, but rather as complementary activities that are mutually reinforcing to drive forward Net Zero together.
Executive Vice President, Veolia UK and Ireland
30 September 2021
Our progress so far
Resourcing the world is what we do on a daily basis through our waste, water and energy activities.
Veolia’s decarbonisation journey started back in 1966. Since 2009 our UK and Ireland activities have contributed to avoiding more than 12.6 MtCO2e by recycling and recovering waste we receive, treating wastewater and generating low carbon heat and electricity for our clients.
Veolia in Northern Ireland is working with its customers to help them lead the way in improving their own environmental performance.
Our long term contract with Northern Ireland Water sees us treat 20% of Northern Ireland's wastewater and 100% of Northern Ireland's sludge. The contract, known as Project Omega, has delivered significant improvements in water quality entering Northern Ireland’s rivers, loughs and the sea which provides benefits to the community and the local economy. Operations across the whole of the project are in compliance with the Urban Waste Water Directive, Bathing Water Directive, the Shellfish Conservation Directive and Waste Management Licence conditions.
Veolia's Northern Ireland team has help major manufacturing customers to reduce their energy consumption and transition to lower carbon solutions while delivering secure, reliable industrial utilities. Improved waste segregation and management has increased recycling and recovery.
Veolia has been awarded the Business in the Community Northern Ireland Silver CORE accreditation as a responsible company by demonstrating positive impacts across our people, the planet and the places where we operate, and advocating the benefits to encourage others to follow. Veolia has also been shortlisted in the Responsible Company of the Year category in Business in the Community’s 2021 Responsible Business Awards.
Veolia has signed the Climate Action Pledge NI, a public commitment to achieving an ambitious target of reducing our Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2030. The Pledge is a driver for business to take action on the climate emergency, working to ensure a liveable future and limit the increase in global temperatures well below 2°C.
We have delivered significant improvements in water quality entering Northern Ireland’s rivers, loughs and the sea which provides benefits to the community and the local economy.
Our commitments and roadmap
Veolia Northern Ireland has prioritised delivering low carbon services for our customers, which involves recycling and recovering waste, energy efficiency and water services. However, we need to go further and decrease the carbon intensity of these essential services that we provide.
Following external and internal consultation, we have developed an ambitious and achievable carbon reduction plan to drive us towards our 2050 Net Zero ambitions. These, in line with the Veolia UK and Ireland zone, are underpinned by the following six key commitments
1. Reducing our operational emissions
In line with Zone commitments, we are targeting 2% year-on-year reduction in our energy consumption, relying on a fully decarbonised grid by 2045, and ensuring all new company cars or vans will be fully electric or hybrid from 2026, with our fleet fully decarbonised by 2040
We are commencing work on optimising power generation and dewatering within our municipal wastewater treatment contract.
Our next step in evaluating our downstream transportation emissions is to combine the above long-term commitment to a decarbonised fleet with efficiencies analyses
in our transportation routes and networks to identify, where practicable, alternative lower-overall-carbon solutions.
2. Reduce our process emissions
As with the whole Veolia UK & Ireland zone, reducing process emissions from our activities is one of the biggest challenges in our journey to Net Zero.
We will continuously review our models and calculations for our GHG process emissions and apply the learnings from the wider water and wastewater treatment industry.
3. Capture our remaining GHG emissions
For now, our focus in Northern Ireland remains on reducing our emissions as much as possible through efficiency, investment and working in partnership with our stakeholders.
However, as throughout the UK and Ireland, we recognise that capturing what remains will be necessary. We will be working with our colleagues throughout Veolia to explore our options, develop and implement the best strategy.
4. Work in partnership to reduce the emissions we do not control
We are committed to working with our various stakeholders throughout Northern Ireland to help reduce GHG emissions.
We are delighted to sign up to the Business in the Community Northern Ireland Carbon Action Pledge this year. Demonstrating leadership through actions in partnership is a vital role that businesses must play for society and we intend to continue this work.
We have also carried and will continue to carry this responsibility through to our responses to the various public consultations in Northern Ireland that are taking place around public climate and energy strategies.
5. Improve the quality of our carbon reporting
Building on the work to date to improve our GHG reporting, the continuous improvement of our reporting is an ongoing focus in Northern Ireland. This will be especially relevant as everyone’s understanding of and ability to map their carbon footprint evolves, particularly within Scope 3.
6. Continue to develop low carbon solutions for our customers
We will continue to increase our involvement and co-development work with our customers in this space. A number of additional conversations have already commenced with our clients to start work on low carbon roadmaps, in addition to the various projects already in operation. We will continue to increase this focus for our stakeholders in the coming years. How we approach new business opportunities in the most sustainable way will also be part of our scope of study and ongoing strategy evolution.
We are delighted to sign up to the Business in the Community Northern Ireland Carbon Action Pledge this year.
Demonstrating leadership through actions in partnership is a vital role that businesses must play for society and we intend to continue this work.
Veolia UK & Ireland Governance and Reporting
Veolia is committed to making changes that last. This is why carbon has a special part in our budget, allowing us to make environmentally sound key decisions. Our Executive Committee is meeting regularly to discuss our progress to reduce our GHG emissions and review investment decisions which will allow us to reach our targets. At the operational level, emphasis is placed on climate change awareness in order to allow all of our employees to make the right decisions.
We want to be transparent and open about our progress to drive forward our Net Zero ambitions. Our Net Zero Strategy and Carbon Reduction Plans will therefore be reviewed and updated annually. This will reflect any changes in organisational structure, allow us to refine data capture processes, quantify what we have achieved so far, and reassess our short, medium and long-term outlook.
Beyond this we will also hold a full-scale review of our Net Zero Strategy and Carbon Reduction Plans every 5 years.
Finally, a re-baselining and review of the Net Zero Strategy will also happen in the event of a material change to our baseline. This corresponds to a 5% variation, positive or negative, from previously calculated data.