17 November, 2023 12:20
Urban Utilities has released its first sustainability report, highlighting the organisation’s continued commitment to creating a long-term positive impact.
The inaugural report shares the company’s sustainability actions and progress during FY23 across seven key areas: Net Zero, Healthy Land and Water, Responsible Waste Management, Secure Water Future, Satisfied Customers and Liveable Communities, Safe and Engaged Workforce, and Corporate Governance.
Urban Utilities CEO Paul Arnold said the utility was committed to protecting people and the planet through responsible actions and operations.
“Sustainability is at the heart of all we do, from securing our region’s long-term water supply and reducing our environmental impacts, to having a safe and engaged workforce, and creating positive social value,” he said.
“While sustainability has always been central to our business strategy, the report both formalises and reinforces our commitment, and provides greater transparency and accountability around our ambitions and efforts.”
The release of Urban Utilities’ sustainability report is also a response to growing stakeholder expectations that organisations share their environmental, social and governance (ESG) ambitions and performance.
Mr Arnold said that from 2024, Australia’s largest corporations would be required to report on new sustainability-related disclosures issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board.
“Although a timeframe has yet to be proposed for the water sector, Urban Utilities is proud to be taking a proactive approach,” he said.
“We need to be ready to transition to mandatory sustainability reporting requirements in the very near future, and our first report has provided us with a strong foundation to build upon.”
The utility’s sustainability efforts align to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – a global action plan, which covers the dimensions of economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection.
Some of the initiatives detailed in the FY23 Sustainability Report include:
- Unveiling an Australian-first algae-based technology, which purifies wastewater up to five times faster than traditional lagoon-based treatment in regional and rural areas.
- Generating 12,610 MWh from waste (13.2 per cent of the utility’s total FY23 electricity use).
- Planting 1,100 native gum trees, which are irrigated with recycled water from the utility’s nearby wastewater treatment plant at Helidon.
- Delivering multiple actions from its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, including an increase in spending with First Nations suppliers by over 85 per cent.
- Driving water literacy within the community via engaging and memorable experiences.
Urban Utilities’ FY23 Sustainability Report is available here.