Green planet - How can we become a carbon positive company?


It takes a lot of energy to run a business, we should know.

The energy used to pump water around our 34,548 miles of pipes, and to heat and light more than 700 of our buildings, is one of the highest costs we have here at Northumbrian Water and we are always looking for ways to use less of it.

We’ve found really innovative ways to do it.

We were the first water company in the country to use all of the sewage sludge left over at the end of the treatment process to produce gas and electricity, through anaerobic digestion (AAD).

That cut our carbon emissions by 30% and considerably reduced our carbon footprint as we produced less waste and needed less transport for it all.

We introduced England’s first pollution-busting moss tree in Newcastle city centre - an idea that came out of Innovation Festival ’17 and is aimed at improving air quality and removing pollution from our cities.

And just recently we announced that we had signed a renewable energy deal meaning that all 1,858 of our sites are being powered by green energy for the next four years. That’s 125,000 tonnes of saved CO2 sorted then!

In 2008 we set out to reduce our emissions and we have cut them by almost 50%. We now believe that we can become carbon neutral and have set 2027 as the date by which this can be achieved.

Our wish is to go further, and faster, and at the 2018 Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival a group of innovators from around the country, led by BT, will explore what more we can do to go beyond carbon neutral.

They’ll be discussing everything from how the business transports materials and moves people around to finding new and innovative ways of generating your own power and energy.

Paul Waldren from BT said: “We hit our carbon reduction target early and are now helping our customers hit their targets whilst also setting further stretching ambitions of 87% reduction on our 2016/17 target by 2030. By tackling the topic of going beyond carbon neutral at this event alongside our customers we know we’ll achieve more, faster.”

NWG’s Anthony Browne said: “The aim is for Northumbrian Water and other organisations to go get to carbon neutral, then go beyond. We’ve already taken some fantastic steps forward towards this but there is still much to be done and it’s become a real priority for the business community. The Innovation Festival will lead to some great ideas to help us with this.”

To find out what the ‘Green planet’ sprint team comes up with during the festival you can follow all of the action live on social media by following @northumbrianh2o on twitter and facebook or by visiting


For further media information, call 0191 3015678.

Northumbrian Water Limited supplies 2.7 million customers in the North East with both water and sewerage services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services, trading as Essex & Suffolk Water.

In 2017 Northumbrian Water was named Utility of the Year at the Utility Week Awards, for the second time in four years. The company has followed this up in 2018 by winning the UK Excellence Award at the British Quality Foundation (BQF) UK Excellence Awards, and Water Company of the Year at the Water Industry Achievement Awards. Northumbrian Water also received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for sustainable development for a second time in 2014, which is accredited for five years. This recognises the company as a business which benefits the environment, society and the economy.

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