Our Environmental Footprint

It’s not easy being green – it takes a lot of work!

We’ve been calculating our Environmental Footprint every year since 2010. It’s not about how green our electricity is - that’s taken care of in our Fuel Mix statistics. It’s about the greenness of everything else we do – what goes on behind the scenes, from selecting a site for a new solar farm and servicing our windmills through to the running of our offices.

We look at the impact that everything we do has on the environment – and we make it as green as can be. We’re now certified to ISO 14001 as a mark of how we are continually striving to improve our performance and reduce our impact on the world around us as promised in our environmental policy.

It’s a bit like food miles – it’s not just the impact of the product itself, it’s the process it goes through as it’s delivered.

We’re probably the only energy company in the world that actually knows the carbon cost per customer of our operations. In 2019 that was 1.4kg CO2 per customer, down 22% on the year before!

 

Our 2019 Environmental Footprint Report

Our aim is to become a zero carbon organisation by 2025, and our tenth Environmental Footprint report gives us a clear picture of the progress we’ve made and what else we need to do to achieve our goal.

2019 saw us reduce our electricity consumption by 11% and our gas usage by a whopping 58%. We’ve done this by decarbonising our heating (switching to renewable electric) as well as optimising our systems to match our usage of buildings and equipment.

Our emissions from energy consumption (and impact on the environment) are calculated on a tariff basis. As our electricity is sourced 100% from renewables it’s calculated at zero impact. Supporting renewables in this way has helped contribute to the UK’s transition away from coal – UK grid average electricity now has around half the carbon footprint than it did 10 years ago!

In September 2019, we introduced our Carbon Neutral gas tariff, and so from here on our gas consumption will also be calculated with a zero carbon footprint.

We’ve spent a lot of time tracing issues with our water supply and have located a number of leaks which, combined with water saving devices such as sensor taps and waterless urinals, has seen our water usage drop by 29% in the past year.

Transport is one of the major contributors to UK greenhouse gas emissions and so we’ve been doing our best to reduce that impact across our fleet of pool cars and the vans used to service our windmills and the Electric Highway. In 2019 we introduced a new Transport policy to help guide staff on selecting the best way to approach meetings offsite and cutting the need for air travel by 60%.

Our Carbon Footprint 2020

Further benefits from all of these actions are expected over the coming years whilst a new finance system that we’ve introduced this year will help us track these changes with a greater degree of detail – we’re now even able to measure the impact of staff using their own vehicles for business

 20182019% Change
Electric0.00.00
Gas102.029.1- 71
Water7.55.4- 29
Pool car / Van fuel230.9220.3- 5
Grey fleet (staff own vehicles)0.08.8new data
Air Transport19.16.9- 64
Total emissions 359.6270.4- 25
Emissions (kg per customer)1.861.44- 22

 

Our 2019 environmental targets

  • Reduce grid electric use by 4% compared to 2018 – 11% drop achieved
  • Reduce mains water consumption by 4% compared to 2018 – 29% reduction achieved
  • Reduce printed paper consumption by 5% compared to 2018 – non-bill printing has been reduced by 60%

We’ll be publishing an update on our progress during 2020 in March 2021.

If you have any questions regarding the report or our Environmental Management System in general then please contact our Sustainability Lead – Gary Thomas (gary.thomas@ecotricity.co.uk)