Case Study

The Projects we are running to address the Big Questions generate outcomes that Companies use to guide and inform decisions. Here we present an example:

BQ10 - How do we remove more carbon than we emit by 2050?


Carbon Accounting Workbook, Land Carbon Sequestration Tool & Calculating Whole Life Carbon


A case study from:


Carbon is a growing challenge area for water companies. The collaborative projects completed by UKWIR are key to Southern Water’s ongoing ambitions to meet net zero targets. 

Carbon-based decision making

UKWIR’s carbon accounting workbook plays a critical function in Southern Water’s operational plans and strategies for carbon management and performance reporting on our journey to meet Net Zero. The update to the workbook is managed each year through our UKWIR steering group and provides an efficient approach to consistent water sector reporting.

A new approach to infrastructure valuing

We are focusing on developing our measurement of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the infrastructure and products that we procure and construct. 16% of UK carbon emissions are directly attributed to embedded emissions associated with infrastructure activities.

Infrastructure has historically looked to build new assets or retrofit existing assets in order to provide solutions to growth and increased treatment standards. These can have high carbon impacts and often little added benefit to the wider environment. Traditional decision-making models don’t help as they prioritise cost savings and providing value to customers, without the additional consideration to wider environmental impacts. Within these parameters, it’s often difficult to justify more nature-based solutions, which may have higher costs, risks and unknown operational requirements.

Southern Water wants to continuously improve decision-making that creates value for the environment, while maintaining affordable costs for our customers. We have been refocusing our Risk and Value (R&V) assessment process to bring environmental and carbon considerations into the spotlight. The revised whole-life carbon accounting framework developed through UKWIR has been invaluable in honing this method, supplying the groundwork to implementation. 

Land Carbon Sequestration Management

There is a growing recognition that land management can provide opportunities as an effective sink for carbon, supporting carbon offsetting efforts. Southern Water has landbank within its estate and the tool will assist in effective decision making on land options. UKWIR's Land Carbon Sequestration Tool developed by CEH will help fast track the implementation of planning our land management approach by providing insight into carbon impact.

"I really appreciate the collaborative approach to research that UKWIR provides to the water sector - especially the valuable outputs that we can utilise in our company" Emma Bennett, Carbon and Climate
Change Manager.