Talking Net Zero Episode 11 – David Gibbin

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How can we use energy more efficiently? That’s one of the big questions that David Gibbin is charged with delivering answers to.

As Energy Flexibly Manager at Severn Trent, the water and sewage treatment company, he is delivering on the firm’s ‘triple carbon pledge’.

This will see the Midlands-based company achieve net-zero emissions, 100% energy from renewable sources, and a 100% electric vehicle fleet by 2030, well ahead of the Government’s 2050 target.

It has also become one of the first UK companies to ask shareholders to endorse its plans.

The transport challenge is a big one for Severn Trent, explains David, as although its fleet isn’t large, it’s very varied.

“This is not just a challenge for the transport department, but the whole company,” he tells Sara Sloman.

And, these are no empty promises. Already, says David, Severn Trent has exceeded its target of using 50% of all its electricity from renewables by 2020.

While converting the car and small van fleet to electric is straightforward, it’s also seen the company move from an outright ownership model for vehicles, to leasing, and David explains why.

Trickier are larger vehicles – which go up to 44-tonne tankers and refrigerated vehicles. “There’s less choice at present, and we’re not involved in trunking – going on motorways – as our trucks travel in rural areas.”

As a result, he explains why Severn Trent is now talking with vehicle manufacturers about the types of zero-emission trucks it wants to buy, but are not currently available.

“The greenest mile, is the mile you don’t travel,” he adds, asking “do we actually need to do all the miles?” The result is some surprising and easy solutions (that don’t involve home working) to reduce engineers’ van use.

Meanwhile, a programme to install 352 charging points ahead of its self-imposed deadline is now well underway, he adds into this insight in the role of utilities on the road to net-zero.

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