If we are to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 then we need to stop pretending that a utopia where there is zero waste exists and start seeing waste as a resource.
This bold commitment backed by real investment and action by our partners at Viridor to become the UK's first net negative emissions waste company is exactly what is needed.
The way the world works today means we don't always pay the true cost of our activity - i.e. the environmental impact of our activity is not included in the cost of the things we purchase. From flights around the world (remember those?) to televisions, to packs of sausages, the true cost to mitigate or remove the climate impact of the product is not included in the cost to the consumer. Vattenfall has explored the challenges of creating a zero-carbon product in 2019.
Assuming we do want to find a better and fairer way of meeting the cost of decarbonisation, one approach would be to ask organisations to include true carbon pricing in the services they offer, including the cost of paying for others to remove the carbon that they cannot reduce in their own processes. This principle exists in nearly all climate legislation globally - including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to which the emerging UK ETS will be aligned, we are assured.
In a world where reductions in carbon dioxide are properly valued, the opportunity to capture and sequester carbon provides two benefits: firstly it makes strong environmental sense and secondly (crucially) it begins to make good business sense. Furthermore, it focusses attention on the good sense of not wasting any by-product of the resource management process.
Against this backdrop, our collaboration with Viridor to scale up district heating across the UK on the back of their energy and resource recovery facilities is even more exciting. We have a number of great projects in the pipeline and these bold commitments from Viridor align with our own core purpose at Vattenfall - to deliver fossil free living within one generation.
We look forward to driving forward these innovations and I am personally both excited and inspired by the strength of vision and commitment from the Viridor team. Hopefully we can translate these plans into tangible progress and benefits to the communities we jointly serve.