Yorkshire Water’s mission statement is “Taking responsibility for the water environment for good”. We provide some of life’s most essential services to the people and businesses of the Yorkshire and Humberside region, playing a key role in the region’s health, wellbeing and prosperity. We do this by supplying water and waste water services, and being custodians of essential infrastructure and the natural environment. We do all of this for about £1 a day for the average customer, amongst the lowest water and waste water bills in the country.

Yorkshire Water and the Sustainable Development Goals

Our work on the SDGs can be broken down in to the following areas:

Water

Ensuring that everyone has access to clean safe water is at the heart of everything we do. Through careful catchment management, infrastructure enhancement and public education on water use, we work to reduce water demand and maintain our supplies while ensuring we continue to protect the natural environment.

Land

As one of Yorkshire’s largest landowners, we are responsible for 28,000 hectares of land, with great responsibility to protect and enhance biodiversity for future generations. Our Biodiversity Action Plans drive activities including management of invasive non-native species, improvements to river water quality, installation of fish passes and the conservation and enhancement of SSSIs. We also work with farmers on our land to promote sustainable agricultural practices. As part of our Beyond Nature programme, a local farmer has recently entered into an innovative new tenancy agreement with Yorkshire Water to manage our 900 hectare Humberstone Bank Farm as a sustainable farm for the future.

Much of our land is open for the public to visit and enjoy. As part of our Recreation Strategy, we are working to open up more of our land for walking, cycling and other leisure activities. We are currently working on a case study in the Little Don area in South Yorkshire, developing a model for natural and social capital assessments to help us to maximise the environmental and social benefits of recreation projects.

Climate change

Our climate change strategy describes how we are working to maintain and enhance our water and waste water services in a rapidly changing environment. The action set out in our climate change strategy ensures we are effectively managing today's risks and laying the necessary foundations to affordably maintain services for the long term.

Energy and carbon

We work hard to reduce our carbon footprint by improving operational efficiency, introducing innovative solutions and generating our own electricity and heat – the majority from waste produced by our operations. In 2016/17 we generated 60GWh of renewable energy and achieved our biggest ever reduction in carbon emissions to date.

Waste

Minimising waste is essential to help us remain efficient, reduce our environmental impact and keep bills low for customers. In 2015/16 we increased landfill avoidance to 98.9%. We are working on a range of projects with circular economy principles at their core, including delivering our ambition to make the Esholt Treatment Works in Bradford one of the most sustainable in the world and an internationally leading demonstration of the circular economy in practice.

Sustainable accounting

We are working to embed sustainable accounting across our business: quantifying the natural, social and human impacts of projects and decisions alongside financial assessments. We have adopted a Capitals approach and measure across six capitals: Financial, Manufactured, Natural, Social, Human and Intellectual.

We are currently finalising the first iteration of a Total Impact and Value Assessment: an analysis and report on all six capitals for the financial year 2014/2015, which will be published later this year. Having developed the TIVA methodology, we intend to repeat the process on a regular basis to track trends in our impacts, and inform corporate strategy.

To find out more please contact Gordon Rogers

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