Guide to a more sustainable future

How Denver Water’s expanded commitment to sustainability will help lessen impacts on the environment.

April 12, 2018 | By: Ann Baker

Denver Water is taking steps toward becoming an energy-neutral organization by 2020, reducing municipal solid waste by 25 percent in the next two years, and adding to our smoke-free Operations Complex by nixing cigarettes at all of our facilities next year.

Those goals — and much more — are detailed in Denver Water’s first Sustainability Guide, a document that will help us lessen our environmental impact in all functions of our business.

Denver Water’s Sustainability Guide includes best practices and commitments, broken into six resource areas.

Promoting sustainable water use and environmental stewardship has been a top priority since our inception, but we now face numerous challenges that merit rethinking what sustainability means to us.

We’re increasingly challenged by climate change, regulatory uncertainty, economic and social change, and natural and manmade disasters. Because of that, we’re defining our notion of sustainability and incorporating it into everything we do.

In other words, we’re walking the walking.

“Water is essential to the quality of life that we enjoy in Colorado, and most know and understand that Denver Water is committed to wise water use and our ecosystems,” said Kate Taft, Denver Water’s sustainability manager. “But Denver Water is also committed to its people, energy and fuel efficiency, waste minimization, and diversion from landfills.”

Our ambitious goals are clustered into six categories:

  • Energy and transportation
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Land use and ecosystem stewardship
  • People
  • Infrastructure and assets

Denver Water has always taken a sustainable approach to doing business. For example, we just achieved Climate Registered status for the ninth year in a row by successfully measuring our carbon footprint, according to The Climate Registry’s best-in-class program.

But, the new guide provides us with a more comprehensive approach.

Not only will this guide help us set a baseline, it will also help us measure progress toward the goals we have set, Taft said, allowing Denver Water to report on successes and obstacles.

The guide touches on just about everything, from reducing electronic waste, to developing sustainable procurement standards, to attaining the state’s gold status in the Environmental Leadership Program at all of our facilities.

“Given this expanded ethic of sustainability,” wrote CEO Jim Lochhead in the guide’s foreword, “we will develop and implement this plan as a further commitment not only to today’s customers, but also to our customers over the next 100 years and beyond.”

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