Being one of the few companies to receive 5-stars in the 2017 CR-Index, we caught up with Yorkshire Water's Chief Executive, Richard Flint to discuss why benchmarking their CR strategy is so important.
What does it mean to your company to be awarded 5 stars in our Corporate Responsibility Index?
To achieve the maximum five stars in the CR Index is testament to the value we place on being a responsible employer that supports not just the local economy but also the local communities in which we operate. We are committed to acting in an ethical and responsible manner that protects and improves the water environment and wider society, and this approach will continue to be a key driver of our overall business strategy.
Why did you feel it was important to participate and to benchmark yourselves , and what will it mean for your organisation going forward?
The responsible business agenda is constantly moving and it is critical to be aware of changes in legislation and best practice in order to drive improvements and create the best opportunity for success. To 'sense check' where we are against the CR standards and to use the outcome as a tool to engage and seek change has been extremely beneficial for our business. Our recent focus on gender diversity has driven great achievements as we've been recognised as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women. Middle managers are now 33 per cent female and our senior manager gender balance has increased by 10 per cent to 30 per cent female over the last few years. In addition, Yorkshire Water became the first water company to receive the prestigious National Equality Standard accreditation in 2017.
How do you actively seek to integrate responsible business principles and practice throughout your operations and company strategy?
Responsible business activities are embedded within our Strategic Business Objectives, under the themes of:
- Trusted Company
- Safe Water
- Excellent catchments, rivers and coasts
- Water efficient regions
- Sustainable resources
- Strong financial foundations
and reported annually through our integrated Annual Report. Measures cover all aspects of the corporate responsibility agenda and we are keen to work in partnership with customers, suppliers and stakeholders to work towards innovative solutions which will bring even better benefits for the Yorkshire region.
Ultimately, what does being a responsible business mean to you?
Being a responsible business is about being an active and responsible part of the community we serve, building resilience by planning for the future and the long term, and leading by example by continually improving what we do. Ultimately, it's about 'doing the right thing' and demonstrating clearly our purpose and the value we add to society.
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