In every engagement survey we’ve run, our purpose stands out as an unwavering indicator of pride in our mission, among both longstanding colleagues and new recruits attracted to the goal of operating the secure network for smart meters that’s central to digitising and transforming the way Britain consumes energy.
It’s clear that a major element of that pride is our collective belief that the smart meter roll-out will genuinely support a low carbon future for Britain, and the drive towards Net Zero.
As I write, there are almost 14m smart meters connected to our network: a conservative estimate puts the amount of carbon emissions they save the country each year at just under 400,000 tonnes. That’s the macro, national lens; yet inside the organisation too, our employees give correspondingly close scrutiny to the way the DCC operates, and the choices we make, in our efforts to be a responsible business.
Achieving carbon neutrality as a business last summer (for the year 2019/20) was a positive indicator of how we were holding ourselves to account as an organisation with a purpose that revolves around enabling greener lives. So it was encouraging that DCC managed to retain that position this summer, by being independently certified as neutral for the year 2020/21, by the Carbon Trust.
Of course, the Covid pandemic played a part in our carbon reduction, with a marked downturn in commutes and business travel for DCC employees.
We saw a 25% reduction in our carbon footprint, even as our operational sites remained open for critical workers and we maintained business as usual for our customers, the energy companies and distribution network operators, throughout the year.
We will work hard to maintain carbon neutrality during the coming year, as hybrid working starts to usher in a blend of office and remote working, based on need rather than presenteeism. We want as much as possible of that carbon status to come through footprint reduction – actual behaviour – with the purchase of carbon offsets making the necessary subsequent contribution to achieving the outcome.
We should be under no illusions that this will be easy: sensible environmental and energy-reduction measures have been implemented already, and we need to explore new ideas if we want to cut the carbon footprint further.
A resumption of business travel, however slight, would also increase our carbon emissions, challenging us to be imaginative in our reduction measures.
The Smart Green Team, a group of DCC volunteers, continues to counsel and challenge the organisation, advocating and role-modelling the corporate behaviours we need if we’re to enable those ‘smarter, greener lives’. Assisted by their passion and ingenuity, we’ve switched to 100% renewable electricity tariffs, at lower cost; we’ve launched a mandatory training module about sustainability and the environment for all employees; and we’ve invested in upgrading our air conditioning to run more efficiently. In recent months the DCC has also installed EV charging points at its Manchester office, and has worked with its partner CGI and local schools on STEM programmes, seed distribution and tree planting initiatives. We’re also hosting a trial of new green technology called “living pillars” which could bring biodiversity into our towns and cities, powered by solar and with remote data connectivity.
We can’t fully predict what the world will look like when it emerges from the recent jolt of the Covid pandemic, but we’re confident that staying focused on our purpose, and listening to our people, will help DCC put its best foot forward.
Director of Corporate Affairs
- Industry insight
- 3 min read
- Mike Hewitt, Chief Technology Officer
Delivering digital transformation at DCC
Mike Hewitt discusses how DCC are delivering digital transformation in his latest blog. “Change is needed to ensure the infrastructure that underpins Britain’s smart meter system remains secure, scalable, value for money and flexible. Only by improving our core systems will we enable a smarter, more connected future."