Royal Recognition

Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) will retain royal recognition for a further five years as it receives its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise, it is announced today.

The utility supplies 2.6 million customers in the North East with water and waste water services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in Essex and Suffolk with water only services and trades as Essex & Suffolk Water.

NWL has received the honour, which is the UK’s most prestigious business award and given to those ‘who are outstanding in their field’, for its sustainable development.

Northumbrian Water is one of eight businesses in the North East to be given this accreditation and the only one to receive it for sustainable development. The southern arm of the utility, Essex & Suffolk Water, is one of only three in the South East to achieve the award for sustainable development.

Heidi Mottram, NWL’s Chief Executive, said: “We are incredibly proud to receive this award for the second time and to have this royal endorsement continuously for a decade*. Everyone in the company has played an important part in our success. This recognition reflects our determination to become the best water and waste water company in the UK and our continued effort and commitment to protect and improve the environment, support local communities, contribute to the economy, be innovative and to the well being of our people.”

Long-term sustainable development is demonstrated by NWL by:

• turning 100% of sewage sludge into energy by using advanced anaerobic digestion at two major wastewater treatment works on Tyneside and Teesside;
• demonstrating the use of innovative technology, such as using ice to clean large-diameter water pipes in the North East;
• raising the water level of a reservoir, which supplies drinking water to people in Essex, by three metres and increasing its footprint by 40% to meet future demand;
• the process of taking waste water from a sewage treatment works, putting it through five further treatment stages, releasing it into a river and pumping it into a reservoir – the water is then further treated and supplied to people in Essex;
• the company’s ‘right first time, every time’ customer initiative;
• supporting more than 90% of the workforce to gain appropriate qualifications;
• encouraging staff to spend at least 12 hours of paid, work time a year to work in local communities.

NWL’s citation reads: “Northumbrian Water Limited wins its second Sustainable Development Award for upholding exemplary standards in supplying drinking water and treating waste water. Having developed a credible strategy to generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, it has contributed much towards environmental improvement, developing innovative methods for generating electricity from sludge, utilising reed-beds to treat waste and co-digesting many waste streams in anaerobic digester plants. Whilst increasing the capacity of an existing reservoir to secure water for 1.5 million people, it is boosting the wildfowl and bio-diversity habitat. It has demonstrated sector-leading outreach to communities, including donating 1% of pre-tax profit, establishing staff volunteer programmes, sponsoring improvement in a failing school, offering space to projects and developing a health centre within a deprived community.”

To mark their achievement, a Royal representative will visit NWL and present the company with its award. They will also attend a celebratory reception at Buckingham Palace.

* NWL first won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, for sustainable development, in 2008 and the award is held for five years. This second award will continue for the next five years.

This latest honour follows a string of awards attained by the company this year including being named as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company by The Ethisphere Institute, by winning Utility of the Year, Community Initiative of the Year, the Environment Award, Marketing Initiative of the Year and the Supply chain Excellence award at the Utility Week Achievement Awards 2013 and by retaining it’s Platinum Big Tick for the seventh year running – this status is granted by Business in the Community and recognises responsible businesses.

For further information contact Cara Charlton, Northumbrian Water, on 0191 301 6720.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the UK’s most prestigious awards for business success. There are four categories of Queen’s Awards – three for business success (International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development) and one for individual achievement in encouraging UK entrepreneurship (The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion). Companies apply for the Business Awards, but individuals must be nominated for the QAEP.
In a survey of Queen’s Awards winners:
• 76% reported the win had brought added commercial value to their business;
• 79% of winners reported improved staff morale;
• 55% reported the win had delivered new business opportunities;
• 69% of winners achieved increased recognition in the UK;
• 49% of winners achieved increased recognition overseas;
• 63% of winners gained extra press coverage.

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