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We are one of the largest companies in the region and the services we provide are essential for the region's economic sustainability.

The major investment we have made to safeguard the environment protects key regional industries such as tourism, while our use of local contractors and suppliers creates a major economic ripple effect.

In all aspects of our activity we strive to be as efficient as possible, ensuring our services represent value for money to our customers and that we are responsive to their needs.

Customer Satisfaction

When you contact us we want you to feel reassured that your query, issue or request for information will be dealt with first time, without fail

In recent years we have invested in ways to improve the customer experience and reduce costs by putting systems in place that focus on getting the job done quickly and reduce the need for someone to call us again.

In addition to our regionally based customer contact centre, we currently offer online accounts, a smart phone app and live information services such as:

  • BeachLive (which offers live updates on bathing water quality at 70 beaches around the region).
  • In your area (which updates you on all the front line work we are doing in your neighbourhood)

As technology and user trends develop, so too will the methods we use to provide and receive information. SMS texts and social media are two routes we are aiming to use more.

Responsible Financing

Underpinning our business activities are our policies relating to responsible financing.

We take every step necessary to ensure our borrowing and financial commitments are managed appropriately.

This includes ensuring that sufficient funding is available to meet foreseeable needs, maintain reasonable headroom for contingencies and manage interest rate risk.

Full details of our treasury and financing policies can be found in our Formal Reports

Innovation and Efficiency

We continue to target innovative ways to reduce operational costs and mitigate potential volatility in the price of energy, chemicals and other essential raw materials.

In recent years our adoption of new or enhanced technologies such as remote network monitoring and control has helped us manage our systems, processes and staff more efficiently.

We also target low-cost sustainable solutions. This includes initiatives such as Upstream Thinking, and more recently Downstream Thinking, which look at how intervention at catchment level can reduce the need for infrastructure intensive methods of water and wastewater management.

Communication technologies are also a key part of our strategy for improving operational efficiency.

Through PUROS (Phased Utilisation of Remote Operating Systems) we are improving the way information is gathered and disseminated around the business. Remote technologies are giving us greater control over our resources and ensuring we can respond to any issues more quickly and effectively.

Advances in technology in areas such as drinking water treatment also offer scope for reducing the costs of our operations. The new drinking water treatment works for North Plymouth, planned for the 2015-20 period, will utilise cutting edge technology that is more cost-effective than traditional water treatment methods. Check out the video below.

Investments in this type of scheme are vital to ensure a sustainable future for our business.

Alongside the optimisation of our assets and networks, our growing use of renewable energy schemes is designed to help minimise our operational costs. As part of our energy strategy this is complemented by our ongoing work to foster a culture of efficiency and promote energy-saving with our staff.

 

 

Sustainable Supply Chain

We annually place approximately £100m of order value with companies which have a base in our region.

Our procurement process sets standards for our individual suppliers' approaches to economic, financial and environmental sustainability and we take rigorous steps to ensure they meet strict criteria in this regard.

We operate a 'mixed economy' supply chain model which uses smaller specialist companies along side larger strategic partners. A culture of innovation and the sharing of best practice is encouraged and celebrated, not least through our supplier awards.

In 2014/15 we developed our supplier sustainability programme to identify and deliver environmental benefits in key tenders, record the carbon footprint of key and strategic suppliers and implement the Suppliers Code of Conduct.

SUPPLIER CODE OF CONDUCT - suppliers must:

ENVIRONMENT

  • assess and manage key environmental risks
  • comply with environmental regulations
  • focus on waste reduction and recycling
  • measure their carbon footprint and target reductions
  • larger companies are expected to have formal environmental management systems accredited to ISO 14001.ECONOMIC 

ECONOMIC

  • be financially sound
  • operate a sustainable cost model providing a fair wage for employees and timely payment of suppliers
  • support an open book approach to cost, encouraging collaboration and driving sustainable cost reduction
  • maximise the benefit for the economy and employment in our region.

SOCIAL AND ETHICAL 

  • operate to the highest ethical standards
  • accept our Supplier Code of Conduct
  • comply with provisions of the Bribery Act 2010
  • declare any personal interests
  • comply with international labour standards in accordance with the principals of the International Labour Organisation Conventions
  • support sustainable local communities in their areas of activity
  • adopt appropriate ethical standards for global trading [ETI, SA 8000, UN Global Compact].

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