Northumbrian Water Group retains top ranking for Corporate Responsibility

A North East water company has again been recognised as one of the best in the country in Business in the Community’s annual benchmark of responsible business, the Corporate Responsibility Index (CR Index).

Northumbrian Water Group was first designated as a Platinum Big Tick company - the highest ranking possible - in 2008, and has retained this status every year since. This means the company has initiated thinking about how the global mega trends, such as population growth and resource scarcity, are affecting the future strategy of the business.

Since 2002, the CR Index has provided unique insight into how businesses are driving the responsible business practice that will help secure a sustainable future. The 2014 CR Index, which is being launched as part of Responsible Business Week, provided a more challenging set of questions than ever before and its findings indicate that real the progress is being made by UK companies to integrate responsible behaviour into their business. This includes a growing understanding that responsible business provides mutual benefit, with two in three CR Index companies evaluating the economic value of corporate responsibility to the business.

Platinum Big Tick companies tend to make long-term investments to improve current or launch new environmentally and socially sound products or services, whose return on investment may not be immediate. Furthermore, these companies generally ensure that their vision and values are lived and embedded throughout the entire workforce and that senior managers and board members’ training is conversant with a sustainable growing economy.

Heidi Mottram, chief executive of Northumbrian Water Group, said: “We believe that operating a responsible, sustainable business is fundamental to our long-term success. The fact that we have retained the highest ranking within the CR Index is a testimony to the efforts of everyone at Northumbrian Water Group to drive continuous improvements in environmental performance and community engagement.”

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: “The 2014 CR Index shows us that companies are making real progress to integrate responsibility throughout their operations. We know that companies are now increasingly discussing CR at board level, transforming company culture through embedding CR into training, and unlocking innovative products and services by looking ahead to the long-term challenges and opportunities of responsible business. Crucially, this shift is being driven by a tranche of responsible leaders that understand the new contract now required between business and society to drive change.

“I congratulate Northumbrian Water for retaining the Platinum Big Tick rating because it demonstrates a clear commitment to an integrated approach to being a responsible business. We look forward to working with them to challenge and support them towards creating a fairer society and a more sustainable future.”

Responsible Business Week (31 March – 4 April) is the only week dedicated to responsible business that is run by the charity Business in the Community. Responsible Business Week aims to inspire, equip and challenge businesses to do more to meet the world’s most pressing needs. You can follow the conversation at #RBWeek.

About the CR Index

Business in the Community′s CR Index is the UK’s leading voluntary benchmark of corporate responsibility. It has been run by Business in the Community since 2002, providing businesses with a robust framework to help companies systematically measure, manage and integrate responsible business practice into mainstream business strategy and operations. It also allows businesses to benchmark against competitors and to transparently communicate progress to stakeholders.

The CR Index takes the form of an online survey where companies follow a self-assessment process intended to help them identify both the strengths in their management and performance, and the gaps where future progress can be made. The CR Index is evidence based where participants are asked to provide relevant evidence as part of their submission which is validated by Business in the Community’s expert reviewers.

The 2014 CR Index scores participating companies against the following areas of responsible business, Corporate Strategy, Integration, Management, Performance and Impact. This year 98 companies participated publicly.

About Responsible Business Week

Society is facing unprecedented challenges as social, economic, and environmental forces converge in unexpected ways. As the world emerges from recession towards growth, business has a powerful new opportunity to shape a strong recovery that is inclusive and sustainable. Responsible Business Week aims to inspire, equip and challenge businesses to do more to meet the world’s most pressing needs. In doing so, they will unlock innovation and opportunity and demonstrate the positive impact of business in society.

The week brings together businesses and innovators from around the world through events, debates and online activity. It enables businesses to explore new possibilities for collaboration and develop the bold new ideas, practical action and behaviours necessary to build a fairer society and a more sustainable, prosperous future.

Responsible Business Week is convened by Business in the Community in partnership with Veolia Environnement. #RBweek

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community is a business-led charity committed to shaping a new contract between business and society.

We have over 30 years’ experience forging better relationships between business and society, driven by a unique collaboration of business leaders. We stimulate action by challenging and supporting thousands of businesses to create a fairer society and a more sustainable future - through our local, national and international campaigns.

Business in the Community is one of The Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is president.

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