ESA members commit to net zero emissions by 2040

Veolia UK chief executive Gavin Graveson

Some of the largest waste management companies in the UK have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

Members of the Environmental Services Association (ESA) have said they will invest a total of £10 billion to reach this aim.


Since 1990, ESA members have cut emissions by 46%, but aim to go further by:

  • Investing £10bn of new money in recycling infrastructure to drive up recycling rates and cut down waste; and increasing capture of methane emissions, the most potent form, by 85% from landfill by 2030
  • Decarbonise non-recyclable waste treatment by diverting organic waste from landfill to recycling and energy production by 2030, and moving removing plastics from energy recovery facilities; and roll out carbon capture technology across our energy from waste facilities by 2040 where feasible
  • Buying only zero emissions collection vehicles from 2030, phasing out petrol and diesel entirely by 2040. Move vehicle and all on-site fuel use to zero emissions sources by 2040, so that bin and recycling lorries and trucks across the country are powered by sustainable sources such as electric or biofuel rather than diesel.

Veolia UK chief executive and ESA chairman Gavin Graveson said: “Our sector has made tremendous and rapid progress on decarbonisation but the climate crisis continues to accelerate and our sector is determined to embrace the challenge by doing more to ensure we hit net zero. Our report also shows that done right, decarbonisation can deliver green jobs and investment right across the UK.”

ESA executive director Jacob Halyer added: “Our members have committed to an ambitious target and we have developed a clear and detailed plan to get there. This is an urgent and important task for the UK which we are excited, willing and able to invest behind.

“Critical to our success is a continuing constrictive partnership with Government to ensure the policy framework around decarbonisation continues to drive the right decisions which will ensure we can accelerate the UK’s net zero ambition.”

The ESA’s board will be responsible for monitoring performance against the net zero emissions targets and will review and report on progress against these targets annually.

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