Louise Hunter, Northumbrian Water’s Director of Corporate Affairs, has received an MBE for services to business and corporate social responsibility in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Blyth born Louise joined the Northumbrian Water Group in 2006 to lead its sustainability strategy as Head of Corporate Responsibility, and was appointed to her current role of Director of Corporate Affairs in July 2012.

Her previous roles involved training as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in Edinburgh and at Business in the Community.

Louise has led NWG’s approach to sustainability, the success of which has been recognised by; Business in the Community’s Corporate Responsibility Index, where NWG has scored among the top UK companies since 2009; the achievement of the Queen’s Award for Sustainability in 2009 and again in 2014; and NWG being named as the only water utility on the Ethisphere Global list of most ethical companies for the last seven years.

Louise’s influence stretches way beyond the water industry. She is an active member of the North East business community, with roles on the board at Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, on the North East of England Chamber of Commerce Council and Chair of their Partners group, and as a non-executive of Impeller Ltd, the social enterprise arm of Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade.

In 2008 Louise led the development of the new Northumbrian Water sponsored academy school, Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland, and since then has continued to work as a governor in the school and a director of the trust supporting the school as it transformed to become one of the highest performing schools in the region.

In 2013, Louise′s work in responsible business practice was recognised by HRH The Prince of Wales when she was awarded a ′Game Changer′ award.

Heidi Mottram, Northumbrian Water’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Louise’s enthusiasm and passion for responsible business is impressive. She is particularly committed to promoting the success of north east business in order to provide economic prosperity and security for the region.

“Louise is a fantastic ambassador for the water industry and we are extremely proud of her achievements. She champions corporate social responsibility emphasising the difference businesses can make to the communities and to the environment in which they operate.

“Louise gives corporate social responsibility a voice without losing sight of the tangible business benefits it brings. Her inspirational approach is infectious and this is a fitting accolade for her and one that is truly deserved. “

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East of England Chamber of Commerce added: “Louise epitomises the very highest standards of corporate social responsibility within the business community. Her contribution throughout North East England is immense and so many people from all walks of life benefit from her commitment and dedication.

“Socially and culturally this region is a much better place in which to live, work and play thanks to Louise’s personal commitment and contribution. We are so grateful to her for all she does and she richly deserves this national recognition.”

On receiving her MBE Louise Hunter said: “I am immensely proud to receive such an honour and genuinely surprised. I am privileged to have such an interesting and varied career in a fantastic company, one that is prepared to innovate, and lead the way in taking its responsibilities to the community and environment extremely seriously.

“I am fortunate that I have been able to get involved in a wide range of initiatives in the region I love but I acknowledge you can’t achieve success alone. This award also recognises the support I have had from many individuals and organisations and it would be remiss of me not to thank them all.

“We all have a responsibility to put something back into the community, especially businesses. This has a positive economic impact in our region and helps to protect our society and environment for future generations.”

Louise lives with her husband Phil and two children in Gosforth, Newcastle.