This paper is designed to assist Senior Managers, Executives, governing bodies and Boards identify the pathway and key steps that leaders can take to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, highlighted that “Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and this is the defining time to act”. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report released in March 2023 states that emissions need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.
Now is the time to accelerate towards Net Zero and the water industry has committed to align reductions with that timeframe and many utilities are striving for ambitious targets. The stakes could not be higher for the water industry. In Australia, recent weather events have seen records broken through bushfires and floods, with intense extreme weather events becoming more common and having increasingly dangerous impacts on communities and infrastructure. Working with the rest of the world to meet and exceed global emissions targets is vital.
We must reduce our emissions in ways that sustain value for customers and shareholders, grow our business, and assist the community to adapt to climate change. As a sector, we believe that this can be done in a way that reduces costs to the community while improving the liveability of our cities and towns, boosting public health and economic prosperity.
Water utilities stand to be impacted more than most sectors, being one of the largest government contributors to carbon emissions due to the nature of our products. However, many utilities are at the forefront of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by being more efficient with resources, minimising emissions and developing innovative ways of harnessing the potential resource production of assets through products such as biochar.
This paper seeks to build on the WSAA Towards Resilience paper, released in November 2021. It provides the elements required to develop a Net Zero roadmap, integrated with strategic objectives and supported by key actions to build quick wins and maturity and expand beyond the boundaries of the traditional water business. This high-level guidance is underpinned by detailed guidance and case studies to provide practical assistance to practitioners.