South West Water's core activities are directly linked to the health and wellbeing of the people and environment of our unique region so it is vital we carry out our business in a sustainable and responsible way.
Our long-term strategic vision is to "deliver balance and value, meeting the diverse needs of those we serve and the responsibilities we have to the environment while keeping our costs as low as possible" (read our 25-year WaterFuture vision here).
For South West Water this is what it means to be sustainable. It is about finding a balance that ensures no single interest is prioritised at the expense of another. As a provider of an essential service we must deliver the services our customers depend on and protect public health at all times, including that of our employees. Being effectively dependent on the health of the environment, we must operate in a way which protects the environment from any long-term harm. At the same time, like any business, we must continue to be financially sustainable, ensuring South West Water is both profitable and investable.
All of these aspects of sustainability share common characteristics. They can all be supported or improved through a focus on innovation and a drive to work in ways that bring multiple, rather than singular, benefits. They all involve being sensitive to the current and future needs of the stakeholders involved - customer, conservationist, regulator, shareholder. They all benefit from an approach which, wherever possible, forges partnerships to bring about positive multilateral outcomes.
In every avenue of the business, we are focused on how we can achieve the most sustainable outcome for the communities, environment and economy in which we operate.
We must also ready the business for the challenges and opportunities brought about by external factors such as climate change, increased legislation, population growth and changing consumer needs.
This section of our website looks at how South West Water's sustainability strategy is being implemented in four key areas:
Please note: South West Water's performance against regulatory and statutory requirements can be found in the company Annual Reports (see formal reports).
We achieved an encouraging first-time score of 84 per cent as a new entrant to Business in the Community's annual Corporate Responsibility Index (CR Index) 2016.
Business in the Community works to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to creating a fairer society and a more sustainable future. The CR Index helps businesses assess how successfully they are integrating responsible business practice into their operations. This is done by examining a wide range of factors covering the workplace, community, environment and marketplace.
The release of the 2016 CR Index coincides with Responsible Business Week (18-22 April 2016 #RBWeek), an annual campaign to inspire businesses to take action which creates positive change in society - while raising awareness of the action the business is already taking.
Monica Read, South West Water's Business Services and Sustainability Director, said: "We are very encouraged by this initial score, which is the equivalent of a 2.5 star rating. It recognises our important role in providing an essential service to customers, protecting the environment and being a responsible employer, and reflects our wider contribution to society. BitC guidance provides a useful framework on which we can continue to build trust and transparency as we develop and deliver our regulated business plans.
"Corporate Responsibility is about translating the values we hold, into the decisions we make. While there is still work to do, this score demonstrates how we are embedding our customers' priorities into everything we do."
Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: "Genuine responsible business starts in the engine room of companies. It's about how companies translate their values into behaviour and decision making, create the right culture and drive societal and economic value in the process. The CR Index helps companies take an depth look at their business from the inside out and it's encouraging to see companies increasingly integrated responsible business into business at all levels.
"This year's Index also reinforces the opportunity companies have to think much longer term to address pressing issues such as climate change. I congratulate South West Water for achieving its ranking and look forward to working together to create a fairer society and a more sustainable future."
For further information about the 2016 CR Index, including the full list of participating companies, visit www.bitc.org.uk/crindex