Yarra Valley Water is going above and beyond its core work as a water utility to deliver environmental and social value.
The latest People, Planet and Prosperity report shows how the organisation is working to deliver against its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help ensure a safe and sustainable future for all.
Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said the organisation was the first Australian water utility to commit to the UN Global Compact and the SDGs in 2017, as a way of strategically benefitting the environment and customers.
“We know that our climate is becoming hotter and drier, and heat-related deaths kill more Australians on average than the road toll. That’s why we need to actively invest in projects that help safeguard the environment,” Pat said.
Yarra Valley Water’s food waste to energy facility, ReWaste, in Melbourne’s north, is one of its flagship environmental projects and works by converting commercial food waste into clean electricity. The facility – the first of its kind in Australia – produces enough energy to power itself and the recycled water treatment plant next door and sends 70 per cent of the energy it produces back into the grid as renewable energy.
Solar panels generating energy for Yarra Valley Water’s Mitcham head office, treatment plants and electric vehicle fleet, combined with a long-term power agreement with a solar farm in northern Victoria, are also enabling the organisation to work towards its goal of producing 100 per cent of its own energy by 2025.
On the social front, Yarra Valley Water started the Thriving Communities Partnership (TCP), a cross-sector collaboration of businesses that work to ensure everybody has fair access to services like water, electricity, gas and telecommunications. TCP now works with 170 businesses across Australia to address hardship issues facing customers, such as family violence and disability.
“It’s no longer enough to simply operate a business and have no sense of giving back to society and our environment,” Pat said. “At Yarra Valley Water we’re committed to continuous action that generates solutions for a better future for us all.”
For more information and to view the report, visit www.yvw.com.au/sustainability