Case study United Utilities sustainability reporting with CDP

United Utilities: Sustainability reporting standards to guide climate action

EcoAct has been assisting with United Utilities sustainability reporting to help them improve inline with the internationally recognised criteria of the CDP and SBTi to ensure they are meeting best practice and continue to be an industry leader for corporate sustainability within the water utilities sector.

The challenge

United Utilities had identified CDP disclosure as a methodology for tracking and improving their environmental reporting. They approached EcoAct with their draft submission for 2020 and wanted us to help them improve the submission and get the best possible score.

The CDP score gave United Utilities a better idea of where they were already strong and where they could improve.

This can then be used to inform two of United Utilities ambitions in SBTi submission and alignment with the TCFD as the CDP methodology is closely aligned to SBTi guidance and the TCFD framework.

United Utilities Group plc is the UK’s biggest listed water company. Operating out of the North West, they provide 1.8 billion litres of water and treat the wastewater of over 3 million homes and businesses everyday. As an organisation they recognize the impacts of climate change on their operations which range from reservoirs to pumping stations, treatment works to water pipes, as well as the impact these operations have on the planet. Climate change has been a strategic and operational focus for United Utilities for over two decades.

Circle sky;

I was really impressed with the gap analysis service and found the high level of expertise and the way it was presented immensely helpful to improve our submission and identify opportunities for further improvements

Alison Statham, SDM energy and carbon

The solution

Our consultants performed a gap analysis of their draft submission to establish where the existing submission would score and identify the areas they could improve.

EcoAct is a Gold accredited CDP provider and we used our CDP scoring tool and our experience in assisting companies with their CDP submissions. We broke down the analysis into the following sections;

  • Edit: This showswhere their submission was already strong, and also highlights the opportunities to improve their score by aligning with the scoring methodology.
  • Evidence: Identifies opportunities to improve with the provision of more data
  • Evolve – This areas for improvement that require bigger changes e.g; transforming business processes, purchase of renewables, alignment with TCFD frameworks, etc.

Following these findings, our consultants identified how the required data could be collected, and any other actions to help maximise their final score.

The remaining ‘Evolve’ gaps could then be used as a future roadmap for United Utilities to identify future strategies to implement.

The result

  • CDP score went from b in 2019 to A- in 2020
  • Following the Scope 3 footprints, United Utilities now have a better understanding of their emissions across all relevant categories
  • United Utilities have continued their sustainability reporting by identifying SBTs and are working on submitting this to the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi)