As an essential service provider, it is our role to protect people and the planet through responsible operations.
We are focused on driving sustainable change in every aspect of our business. From an environmental perspective, we’re striving to minimise our emissions and the energy used in our treatment processes. We’re also supporting the development of a circular economy through responsible waste management and taking a holistic approach to maintaining the health of our waterways.
Sustainability extends to protecting and enhancing the health and wellbeing of our customers, communities and workforce. Our focus areas include securing our region’s water supply for generations to come, continuing on our journey of reconciliation, supporting our most vulnerable customers, and fostering a safe and engaged workforce.
Our Sustainability Report
In 2023, we were proud to formalise our commitment to sustainability though the launch of our first Sustainability Report. Focused on seven Sustainability Pillars, the report delves into the environmental, social and governance impacts of our business and describes the actions we’re taking to drive sustainable change.
You can read the report here.
What we're doing right now
Taking the waste out of wastewater
We’re embracing innovative, cost-effective ways to increase our energy efficiency through projects like our Australian-first Annamox superbugs, which we’re using at Brisbane’s largest wastewater treatment plant to treat waste naturally in a cleaner, greener way.
As a utility we’re in a unique position in that we can produce our own renewable power through wastewater treatment to reduce carbon emissions.
In FY23, we generated 12,610 MWh from cogeneration (the process that turns wastewater into electricity). This equates to 13.2% of our total FY23 electricity use.
Since we were formed in 2010, Urban Utilities has generated more than 135,000 MWh from cogeneration - that’s enough energy to power more than 30,000 homes for a year.
This renewable energy helps run Brisbane’s largest wastewater treatment plants, which are now better known as resource recovery centres, and to help charge our electric poo-powered cars, called 'Number 2', reducing our reliance on the electricity grid.
To greener pastures!
We are investing in local offset projects like reforestation and habitat rehabilitation to meet point source regulatory requirements and improve environmental outcomes. We’ve already seen how beneficial reforestation can be, through our koala habitat project at Helidon in the Lockyer Valley.
We’ve planted 2,700 native blue gum trees which are sustainably irrigated with recycled water from the nearby wastewater treatment plant to support local wildlife in the area.
Reforestation projects like this restore natural habitats and wildlife corridors, improving biodiversity and protecting land in our catchments against erosion.
In the coming years, we’re planning to rehabilitate up to 5000 hectares of land through beneficial local offset projects.
Our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a global action plan for people, the planet, and prosperity, structured around 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals cover the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection.
Urban Utilities is proud to be a signatory of the Water Services Association of Australia’s industry commitment to support and promote the SDGs. By aligning our Sustainability Report with this well-established global framework, we are directing our efforts towards fostering a sustainable future for both of local and global communities.
More on the Sustainable Development Goals
Our innovation program
Read more about our Innovation Program
Learn more about how our award winning innovative projects and partnerships are delivering efficiencies and improved environmental outcomes.