We believe that responsible business should be embedded within everything we do and this should be evident across all of our activities.

We are committed to delivering our services in a responsible way and our approach to responsible business practice is set out in our Business Principles document. This states that for United Utilities, being a responsible business means:

Providing a great service to our customers

Working to protect and enhance our environment

Actively supporting our local communities

Supporting our employees to achieve their full potential in a safe workplace

Delivering good value to our stakeholders and manage our supply chain fairly

We've explained these in more detail below:

Customers: Our aim is to protect public health and provide excellent services to our customers. This means removing the need for customers to contact us unnecessarily to taking ownership of queries, satisfactorily resolving them as quickly as possible and keeping our customers informed along the way. We aim to provide bills that represent good value for money.

Environment: Whether it's treating and delivering drinking water for our customers, or returning treated wastewater to rivers and the sea, we're acutely aware of our responsibility to the environment. We continue to invest to protect and, where appropriate, enhance the natural environment of the North West. We continue to consider the impacts of climate change on the services we deliver and adapt accordingly. Our greenhouse gas disclosures can be found in the Directors Report.

Communities: The communities in which we operate are of great importance to our business – it is where our customers and employees live and work. We continue to invest in our local communities both financially and through employee volunteering. We recognise the effect that our operations can have on the community and invest in programmes that support affected areas or help tackle current social issues.

Employees: Health and safety is paramount and we strongly focus on our health and safety performance. High employee engagement is a key contributor to our performance and we place significant emphasis on maintaining and strengthening levels of engagement. Our policies on maternity, paternity, adoption, personal and special leave go beyond the minimum required by law. For disabled applicants and existing employees, we are committed to fulfilling our obligations in accordance with the relevant legislation. Applicants with disabilities are given equal consideration in the application process. Disabled colleagues have equipment and working practices modified for them as far as possible and wherever it is safe and practical to do so. We value diversity, providing equality of opportunity and recruiting and promoting on merit. A breakdown of male: female directors, senior managers and staff can be found in the table below.

Delivering good value: We are committed to honouring our responsibility to our shareholders, credit investors and those who provide us with goods and services. We aim to operate as effectively as possible at the lowest sustainable cost and to retain a robust and sustainable financial profile to provide enduring shareholder value. More detail on the regulatory environment in which we operate is provided in Our operating environment. This annual report provides a comprehensive financial and operational review to help inform our investors of our performance. We work with suppliers whose business principles, conduct, and standards align with our own. Our key suppliers have committed to our Sustainable Supply Chain Charter, supporting us in the delivery of wider social, economic and environmental benefits.

The table below shows the male: female ratio of people at United Utilities.

Male
2014
Female
2014
Group board6 (75%)2 (25%)
Senior managers
– Executive team*5 (50%)5 (50%)
– Other senior managers38 (81%)9 (19%)
Wider employees3469 (63%)2009 (37%)

* Figures exclude CEO and CFO who are included in group board figures.

We also have 14 (78%) male and 4 (22%) female employees who are appointed as statutory directors of subsidiary group companies but who do not fulfil the Companies Act 2006 definition of 'senior managers'.

Running our business with integrity

Details of our responsible business performance for the year can be found in Our performance, with further detailed information in our Business Principles document and in our CR Report on our website at corporate.unitedutilities.com

We have procedures and policies in place to ensure we act in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Given the long life of our infrastructure, we take a long-term view of our operations and key to the group's strategic objectives is the goal to operate in a more sustainable manner. Sustainability is fundamental to the manner in which we undertake our business and the group has, for many years, included corporate responsibility (CR) factors as a strategic consideration in its decision making. Our board-level CR committee (see Corporate responsibility committee) develops and oversees our CR strategy and this continuing focus helped the group retain our Dow Jones Sustainability Index 'World Class' rating and our 'Platinum Plus' ranking in the Business in the Community CR Index.

 

Business Insight

business fit for achanging climate

In order to ensure our services and assets are fit for a changing climate we need to take action now.

As the UK climate continues to change, with severe dry periods becoming increasingly common, we must ensure we continue to have resilient water resources and an infrastructure capable of moving water efficiently around the region. This will enable taps to keep flowing and businesses running. The potential effect of climate change on our future water resources is included in our 25-year Water Resource Management Plan.

We must also seek to tackle flooding incidents caused by the intensive bursts of rainfall, which are becoming more frequent due to changing weather patterns. We will work with local authorities and developers throughout local planning processes to ensure we can meet future demand on our sewerage network.

Rainfall in the years to come

We expect the rainfall to change over the next 25 years with wetter winters and drier summers with more intense storm events.

Rainfall Graph