The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have been developed to make the world more sustainable by 2030 by addressing challenges as diverse as ending poverty to tackling climate change. Thames Water supports the aspirations of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs can only be achieved if governments, businesses, civil society and citizens work together. The United Nations has produced 17 SDGs and 169 targets that describe the road map of ambitions to build a more sustainable future by 2030. The challenge for us at Thames Water is this: how can we help to achieve these goals?
We’ve decided to focus on four specific SDGs where we think we can make a real contribution as a result of our expertise and main area of operation - delivering water and sanitation to around 25 per cent of the population of England and Wales.
The four SDGs that we can positively contribute towards are:
Clean Water and Sanitation - We provide safe water and sanitation to 15 million customers 24/7/365. Every day we supply over 2.7 billion litres of safe clean drinking water, and treat around 4.4 billion litres of sewage. Outside the UK, we’re working with WaterAid to help deliver its vision of a world where everyone, everywhere, has access to safe water and sanitation. In 2017/18, our employees raised £316,675 for WaterAid, a charity we’ve supported for 30 years. This money will be used as part of our four year ‘Thames loves Malawi’ campaign which aims to build partnerships and empower people in Malawi, particularly local council officers and water board employees, to make a sustainable change in two towns which had no access to clean water.
Affordable and Clean Energy - We’re working to increase the amount of renewable energy we generate, helping to increasing the share of renewable energy in the UK and global mix. In 2017/18 we generated 293 GWh of our own electricity needs from renewable sources including biogas, wind power and solar panels – enough renewable electricity to power over 94,000 homes.
Responsible Consumption and Production - We’re working to become more efficient, reduce waste and increase how much we recycle and re-use. Last year, 100 per cent of sewage sludge that wasn’t incinerated to generate renewable energy was put to beneficial use, with 98.7 per cent applied to agricultural land as fertiliser and 1.3 per cent used in land restoration or reclamation. We also generated 286 GWh of renewable electricity from safely treating sewage sludge.
Climate Action - We’re working to increase our capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change and mitigate our contribution to its causes. We’ve assessed the potential impact on our ability to provide our customers with water and wastewater services, and published a report of our findings and our plans to respond. As part of this, we’ve installed Europe’s largest floating solar panel array at our Queen Elizabeth II reservoir, generating enough electricity to power 1,700 homes.
Supporting the SDGs isn’t an extra task for our business – it’s simply part of what we do every day.