Northumbrian Water has become the first water company to achieve the Good Business Charter (GBC) accreditation.

The Good Business Charter, which is supported by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), is an independent not-for-profit organisation that encourages and recognises responsible business practices. 


The North East water company is the only water utility currently accredited by the GBC, which awards ethical businesses by measuring their behaviour over 10 key components. 


These include real living wage, fairer hours and contracts, employee well-being, employee representation, diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, paying fair tax, commitment to customers, ethical sourcing, and prompt payment. 


Northumbrian Water’s Chief Executive, Heidi Mottram, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be recognised by the Good Business Charter, an achievement which is testament to the efforts our teams put in to help us reflect our values as we provide a service people couldn’t live without.


“We care passionately for our customers, our communities, our employees and our environment and we’re proud of our commitment to put responsible and ethical working practices at the heart of everything we do.” 


Helping to earn its spot on the GBC, some of the commitments and progress the water firm has made include: to become carbon neutral by 2027; to eliminate water poverty in its operating areas by 2030 and to help prevent the equivalent of 4 billion plastic bottles ending up as waste by 2030.


Since 2008, Northumbrian Water has cut its emissions from 303,000 tonnes of Co2 to 56,000 in 2020 and more than 1,800 of its sites are already powered by renewables. 


The company’s employees have also taken time to give something back, with over 200 organisations supported so far this year through the company’s employee volunteering scheme, Just an Hour, while Northumbrian Water participated in the Laptops 4 Kids scheme, donating hundreds of laptops and computers to help support children learning from home during the coronavirus crisis. 


Jenny Herrera, CEO of Good Business Charter, said: “We are so pleased to welcome Northumbrian Water to our rapidly growing community of accredited organisations.


“As such a leader in responsible business behaviour it’s great to have them join the GBC and we hope that they seek to inspire many other businesses to follow suit.”


The GBC accreditation adds to other recognition for ethical practice for Northumbrian Water where earlier this year, the company was named the most ethical water company in the world for the tenth time in this year’s World’s Most Ethical Company List, published by the Ethisphere Institute. It is one of only five UK companies and the only water and sewerage firm in the world to be featured.