United Utilities is responsible for providing water and
wastewater services to millions of household and business customers in the North West of England. In order to deliver these essential services in the most effective way, the company’s decisions are shaped by material issues for stakeholders and a commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.
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SmartWaste is the leading environmental social and governance (ESG) platform for the built environment. It supports net zero carbon, circularity or social value objectives and captures biodiversity, energy, materials, transport, waste and water data.
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United Utilities had already partnered with BRE for several years, adopting the initial waste reporting solution developed by BRE. This was an innovative solution for the time, recognising the needs of construction to effectively report on waste management obligations and was customised to each client’s particular requirements, with United Utilities’ version named Elevate.
In 2020, United Utilities successfully migrated from their Elevate waste reporting solution to SmartWaste. With a large user population, differences in data structures and diverged functionality, the migration was a significant project. United Utilities’ team and the SmartWaste team worked closely together, addressing the list of requirements item by item to ensure successful outcomes:
- Essential Elevate customisations were incorporated into SmartWaste
- A user training programme was developed to ensure United Utilities and their delivery partners could take full advantage of newly available functionality
- Data transfer was meticulously planned
The SmartWaste team have been excellent in responding to our needs. We have regular contact with several members of the team. They are helpful and responsive, working collaboratively with us to address our requirements for environmental and sustainability reporting.
Katie Eyres, Environmental Planner
United Utilities are committed to delivering their services in an environmentally sustainable, economically beneficial, and socially responsible manner. Setting and achieving challenging environmental and sustainability targets is key to United Utilities, requiring tools to measure and monitor performance and enable a proactive management response.
A key challenge for United Utilities is ensuring that each delivery partner is recording data consistently and overcoming the administrative burden of aggregating data for reporting purposes. This includes ensuring effective communication to enable performance comparison and the sharing of good practices to drive performance improvements. This is of particular importance to meet regulatory targets and contractual commitments which carry rewards or penalties depending on performance.
As a result of the partnership with BRE, United Utilities has successfully migrated to the SmartWaste reporting platform, supporting their delivery partners to consistently and accurately capture data in a timely manner. The partnership has also enabled United Utilities to utilise SmartWaste’s broader range of environmental reporting factors, including water usage and management, energy and fuel usage, plastic reduction and biodiversity, supporting United Utilities’ business principles.
SmartWaste has helped United Utilities to demonstrate out-performance of their waste target of 95% of waste diverted away from landfill to beneficial uses, encouraging an increasingly challenging target of 98% diverted to beneficial use as part of a new set of measures to 2025.
The successful implementation of SmartWaste across United Utilities’ capital programme has ensured that each of their delivery partners is capturing and reporting on key measures consistently and accurately. The United Utilities team can aggregate data across projects and contractors to demonstrate that targets are being achieved.
The consistent reporting also assists United Utilities’ engagement with their contractors, facilitating the exchange of ideas, issues and best practice, and ensuring productive communication at quarterly environmental forums.
The breadth of SmartWaste’s data capture and performance reporting capabilities help United Utilities to target a range of environmental measures including:
• Improved waste management including increase in beneficial use
• Driving increased usage of recycled and reused aggregates
• Tracking water usage on construction projects to feed into leakage reduction
• Capturing energy and fuel usage to feed into carbon reporting
• Recording of environmental incidents
• Reporting no net loss of biodiversity.
United Utilities and the SmartWaste team continue to work together.
Areas of future collaborative interest include the measurement of biodiversity net gain and habitat creation, increased capabilities and KPI reporting for water, energy and fuel usage on projects and initiatives to further reduce the use of plastic.
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