Corporate Environmental Report 2019/20

Our vision

Proud to be leading the way to a better future for Wales by managing the environment and natural resources of Wales sustainably.

Our purpose

Through the new Environment (Wales) Act 2016, we must:

  • pursue the sustainable management of natural resources
  • apply the principles of sustainable management of natural resources

Introduction

Our environmental management system (EMS) is helping develop Natural Resources Wales (NRW) into an excellent organisation by maintaining our ISO14001:2015 certification, our forest certification against the UK Woodland Assurance Standard and by reducing our own environmental impact and carbon footprint.

NRW is also fully supporting the Welsh Governments Climate Emergency declaration made in April 2019. NRW also recognises the need to address the associated wider environmental emergency, particularly that of​​ biodiversity loss, and the need to make the ecosystems of Wales more resilient to climate change.

This report relates primarily to environmental sustainability, as distinct from wider sustainability actions or outcomes, these can be found throughout our annual report and accounts.

Summary of performance

In 2019/20 we have:

  • reduced our overall carbon footprint by 5% in relation to scope 1, scope 2 and currently measured scope 3 emissions compared with 2018/19 data
  • reduced our mains electricity usage in occupied buildings and depots for the sixth year in a row, with a 3% reduction in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19 data
  • reduced our overall business miles by 3% compared with 2018/19 data
  • retained certification to the ISO14001 environmental standard and the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, following independent external audits and verification

Table 1: Corporate Environmental Report summary table

Category 

Units

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Greenhouse gas emissions (consumption)

 tCO2e

5,115

4,387

4,199

3,994

Energy consumption

million kWh

6.3

6.0

6.3

7.1

Energy expenditure

£k                   

776

618

583

729

Waste generated

tonnes

1,424

1,141

966

1,772

Waste expenditure

 £k

225

273

218

333

Water consumption

m3

76,293

50,908

40,115

42,127

Water expenditure

£k

32

25

30

13

Table 1 reflects relative change for key areas in the last year:

  • organisational greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 205 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e)
  • energy, waste and water all increased due to operational needs relating to flood alleviation, severe storms in January 2020 and fish hatchery requirements

More detail around each can be found within the related sections of this report.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Carbon emissions decreased in 2019/20 by 4.9% compared with the previous year.

Scope 1 direct emissions decreased by 14.8%, this was mainly due to a decrease in the amount of fuel used in our pool cars and by our operational teams.

Scope 2 energy indirect emissions increased by 5.0%, this was due to an increase in electricity usage at our pumping stations to alleviate flooding.

Scope 3 other indirect emissions increased by 17.8%, this was mainly due to an increase in operational waste (e.g. debris and silt removed from water courses).

Table 2 greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions

Units

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Scope 1: Direct emissions

tCO2e

2,835

2,466

2,499

2,129

Scope 2: Energy indirect emissions

tCO2e

1,662

1,317

1,077

1,130

Scope 3: Other indirect emissions

tCO2e

617

603

624

735

Total gross GHG emissions

tCO2e

5,115

4,387

4,199

3,994

Outside of scopes (i.e. biomass)

tCO2e

220

208

187

184

Note 1: Data not externally verified – limited assurance.

Note 2: The Scope 3 other indirect greenhouse gas emissions include; train travel, air travel, grey fleet travel, lease car travel, hire car travel, water and waste.

Note 3: Scope 3 emissions from the purchase of goods and services, aggregates use in construction and timber use are not included.

Energy

Mains electricity usage in occupied buildings and depots decreased by 67,721 kWh a 3% reduction in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19 data.

However, our total energy use (which includes electric, mains gas, LPG, heating oil and biomass) increased by 13.5% based on the previous year’s data.

This was due to an increase in electricity use at our pumping stations from 1,298,317 kWh to 1,985,005 kWh to alleviate flooding.

Our seven largest pumping stations used over 700,000 kWh of electric to divert and manage water levels and flows to protect people, land and property from flooding.

The energy generated from renewables remained constant with a slight decrease due to seasonal variations. Two new sites were fitted with PV panels late March 2020 and with four further sites scheduled for installation in 2020/21 the amount of electric from renewables and % of electric sourced from renewables will increase in 2020/21.

Table 3 energy consumption

Resource Use 

Units

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Energy used occupied sites

kWh

5,209,072

4,918,340

4,973,616

5,131,465

Energy used occupied sites

tCO2e

1,723

1,436

1,236

1,188

Energy used unmanned sites

kWh

1,131,651

1,122,103

1,298,317

1,985,005

Energy used unmanned sites

tCO2e

466

395

367

507

Renewable energy generated

kWh

76,649

106,856

167,879

161,193

% total energy used as renewables

%

1.4

2.2

3.4

3.1

Total Energy used - consumption

kWh

6,340,723

6,040,443

6,271,933

7,116,47

Total Energy used - consumption

tCO2e

2,189

1,830

1,603

1,696

Total Energy used - expenditure

£k

777

618

583

729

Water

Mains water usage decreased by 565 m3 a 4.6% reduction in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19 data.

Our water use intensity (m3/FTE) also decreased from 3.2 to 2.9, due to the decrease in water usage and an increase in staff full-time equivalents. (The average intensity for a typical office is 4.0 for water use).

We are also currently working with Waterwise to improve our water management in offices and visitor centres to reduce our water usage further.

Overall water consumption increased by 2,012 m3 a 5.0% increase in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19 data. This was mainly due to an increase in the amount of water abstracted to enable the NRW fish hatchery to operate efficiently (25,424 m3 in 2018/19 to 28,007 m3 in 2019/20).

Table 4 water consumption

Resource use 

Units

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Total mains water -consumption

m3

11,411

11,894

12,368

11,803

Total abstracted water - consumption

m3

64,850

39,014

27,747

30,324

Office mains water -consumption

m3

5,923

5,555

6,047

6,228

Office abstracted water - consumption

m3

15

22

32

26

Non-office mains water -consumption

m3

5,488

6,339

6,321

5,575

Non-office abstracted water - consumption

m3

64,835

38,992

27,715

30,298

Water use intensity (for office use)

m3 / FTE

3.3

3.0

3.2

2.9

Total water - consumption

m3

76,283

50,908

40,115

42,127

Total water - consumption

tCO2e

26

18

14

15

Total water - expenditure

£k

32

25

30

13

Travel

Our travel needs include; travel to manage sites, responding to serious environmental incidents, taking samples, dealing with flooding, site meetings and inter-office travel.  

Business travel miles decreased by 218,457 miles a 2.9% reduction in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19 data.

Business travel carbon emissions decreased by 192 tCO2e a 9.6% reduction in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19 data, this was due to an increased proportion of business travel being done by train.

The travel done in electric vehicles dropped slightly this was due to problems with the charging infrastructure. With plans to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points and with an additional twenty-five electric vehicles already purchased we are looking to increase our electric vehicle mileage in 2020/21.

Table 5 business travel

Travel by vehicle

Units

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Badged vehicles

miles

6,064,812

5,440,945

5,562,246

4,934,687

Badged vehicles

£k

-

749

789

720

Lease vehicles

miles

191,730

0

0

0

Lease vehicles

£k

18

0

0

0

Grey vehicles

miles

639,064

590,998

614,868

554,375

Grey vehicles

£k

287

266

277

249

Hire vehicles

miles

322,505

261,039

277,390

512,209

Hire vehicles

£k

74

88

124

195

Train

miles

864,366

938,418

993,213

1,258,211

Train

£k

223

183

328

397

Air

miles

71,057

33,661

50,299

26,663

Air

£k

19

5

7

7

Bicycle

miles

2,346

2,301

3,714

4,012

Bicycle

£k

< 1

< 1

< 1

< 1

Motorcycle

miles

2,447

1,735

1,155

729

Motorcycle

£k

< 1

< 1

< 1

< 1

Electric vehicles

miles

0

0

32,832

26,374

Total travel

miles

8,158,327

7,269,097

7,535,717

7,317,260

Total travel

tCO2e

2,249

2,019

2,002

1,810

Total travel

£k

-

1,291

1,525

1,568

Waste minimisation and management

A total of 196 tonnes of office waste was diverted from disposal to landfill in 2019/20 compared with the 2018/19 data.

Operational waste increased due to the severe storms in January 2020, large amounts of waste (debris and silt) was removed from water courses to prevent flooding.  The requirement to dispose of hazardous fly-tip also led to an increase in carbon emissions related to waste.

Table 6 waste generated

Waste category

Units

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Office waste - Landfill

tonnes

241

213

286

90

Office waste - Landfill

tCO2e

101

125

168

53

Office waste - Landfill

£k

22

25

25

24

Office waste – Recycled / reused

tonnes

934

600

431

972

Office waste – Recycled / reused

tCO2e

20

13

9

21

Office waste – Incinerated

tonnes

15

27

31

31

Office waste – Incinerated

tCO2e

< 1

< 1

< 1

< 1

Operational and fly-tip waste

tonnes

234

301

218

680

Operational and fly-tip waste

tCO2e

65

135

98

269

Total waste

tonnes

1,424

1,141

966

1,772

Total waste

tCO2e

186

274

276

343

Total waste

£k

225

273

218

333

 

Sustainable procurement

Our vision for procurement is to provide effective procurement leadership and direction in support of NRW's mission and values and embed the fundamental concepts of a learning organisation with the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) as its central organising principle.

Procurement and the Carbon Positive team have been working collaboratively to implement the use of a Carbon Planning Tool in our contracts.  The aim of this is to reduce the carbon emissions generated indirectly by our contractors, these are the most challenging source of emissions to tackle.  Funding has been secured for a specialist to work with Procurement to develop the tools and a methodology for reducing emissions in our supply chain. 

Environmental incidents

In 2019/20 there were twenty environmental incidents because of our work or that of contractors we manage.

There were no incidents classed as High, fifteen were classed as Low, four were classed as Events and one was Unclassified.

When incidents occur because of our work (or that of our contractors), we review what has happened, and act to address the root cause of the incident.

Governance and reporting

We report on our carbon footprint as part of our performance framework, which is reported by the Executive Team to the Board (in open public session) four times each year.

We collect the data used within this sustainability report through a combination of meter readings (e.g. gas, electricity), invoices (e.g. fuel card purchases), supplier’s data (e.g. train miles) and finance data, using the most accurate source/s we have available. We also look to minimise use of any estimated data in our reporting.

Carbon Positive Project

The following Carbon Positive Project priorities were endorsed by the NRW board in June 2019, with NRW committing to scope and cost the following projects:

  • deep peat restoration
  • woodland creation
  • renewable energy generation
  • roll-out of electric vehicle infrastructure and vehicles
  • low carbon heat and energy efficiency in our buildings and assets
  • tackling procurement related emissions
  • influencing external emission reduction across Wales, by:
    • extending decarbonisation support and advice to Welsh Government, Welsh-public sector bodies and Public Sector Boards
    • working with Welsh Government to understand our potential role considering carbon in planning, permitting and regulatory regimes
    • implementing behaviour change including staff engagement to embed consideration of carbon across NRW and beyond
    • evaluating and communicating the current impacts of climate change to stimulate further public debate and support for rapid decarbonisation to minimise future impacts

These priorities were presented to the First Minister and the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

Future strategy

Over the next two years in line with our current corporate strategy we want to:

  • Continue to deliver the NRW Carbon Positive action plan 2020/22 to include; retrofit buildings with solar PV, develop an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, increase the EV mileage, identify and deliver a programme of peatland projects in order to further reduce our carbon emissions.
  • Develop mechanisms for active and sustainable travel to be the favoured choice of NRW commuter travel and for appropriate business journeys.
  • Continue to maintain certification to the ISO14001 environmental standard for all NRW activities and certification to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard for the Welsh Government Woodland Estate.