This is a very special honour as they are one of only five UK companies and the only water and sewerage company in the world to be named on the Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Company® list. Across the globe, they are joined by just 134 other companies, over 47 industries in 22 countries, as fellow honourees.
It’s a privilege that their customers put their trust and confidence in them and the work they do every day. They are committed to providing the best possible service for their customers at the best value and doing this in the right way for the environment, communities and people. Being included in this list is a wonderful recognition of the companies activities.
Ethisphere’s assessment process includes more than 200 questions on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity, and initiatives to support a strong value chain. The information Essex & Suffolk Water provided demonstrates their leading role and strong performance across these areas.
Here are some of the achievements and developments over the last year that have contributed to the organisation gaining their place on Ethisphere’s list once again.
Supporting their local communities has always been part of the companines DNA and has perhaps never been so vital given the impact of COVID-19. Essex & Suffolk Water are so proud to have played a big part in the Laptops for Kids campaign to support children learning from home throughout the pandemic. They have contributed hundreds of laptops and computers to children and earlier this month we donated one hundred 4G dongles to support the Northern Powerhouse campaign.
Essex & Suffolk Water understand that we face a particularly challenging employment landscape and they remain committed to providing opportunities, further training and experiences of work at all levels in their organisation. The organisation currently has 49 apprentices working across the business and that 147 of their employees are using Apprenticeship programmes to enhance, update or broaden their skills. Over the last year their partnership with Newcastle University, has grown to include hosting a cohort of 15 third-year undergraduate placements from science and engineering.
Another key part of how they support our local communities continues to be through their long standing and highly successful employee volunteering programme - Just an hour. During the last year, 553 of their people used work time to support 230 organisations, through the Just an hour scheme.
This included supporting events such as Mission Christmas, which saw volunteers transport presents to be sorted and delivered to children living in poverty. More than 160 employees signed up to a volunteer programme specifically in response to COVID-19 to support charities such as The Trussell Trust, Age UK and Essex Voluntary Blood Service.
Protecting and enhancing our precious natural environment also remains at the forefront of their activity. Essex & Suffolk Water's work to reduce carbon emissions is industry leading. They have drastically reduced operational emissions and are the only water company in the UK to use 100per cent of their sewage treatment sludge to produce renewable power. They have used their experience of this to create further opportunities for green gas development. The company remains on course to achieve their commitment of a net zero carbon emission position by 2027.
Essex & Suffolk Water has also continued to support environmental projects in the community. Over the last year they have donated £165,000 to environmental groups to help continue their hard work.