Today I can finally share with you the fantastic news that Anglian Water, Love Every Drop and our work on sustainability has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – Sustainable Development 2015.
I’ve known for a little while, and it’s been so hard not to share the news with everyone I’ve met! But we were sworn to secrecy and so, fearing treason, I’ve kept my lips firmly sealed.
It was a shock to hear we’ve been honoured in this way. Not because I didn’t think we could do it, but because I came back to my desk the other week to find a message from Peter, our CEO, and all it said – rather ominously – was “Andy…”.
I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of me, but my initial reaction was mild panic: “what on earth have I forgotten to do?!” I tried to keep calm, responding casually – and that’s when he told me we’d been recognised ‘for embedding sustainability throughout our operations’. He went on to extract an oath of secrecy from me, something I’m delighted I can forget about today.
It’s been a challenge to keep quiet because, if you know me, you’ll know I love to talk about what we do at Anglian Water. But the funny thing is it wasn’t the outside world I wanted to share this news with. As proud as I was, my first instinct wasn’t to rush to the rooftops to shout about the news.
Instead, what I really wanted to do was tell all those people who help me deliver sustainability through the business, day in and day out. Their hard work is acknowledged and appreciated in this award. For the Queen’s Award to say we’ve ‘embedded sustainability’ was genuine recognition for the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who make ‘Love Every Drop’ much more than just a strapline.
Occasionally I get asked, “That ‘Love Every Drop’ thing – is it real or is it just spin?” Obviously, I know it’s real – not yet perfect and not yet finished, but certainly real, and genuinely making a difference. With such a prestigious award, I think others can now see that it’s real, too.
But sustainability is not made real by the likes of me, or any other central function. It’s made real by people like our education team and the employee volunteers, who see tens of thousands of school children every year, helping them look at water in a new way, and wanting to work with us in the future.
It’s made real by the operational staff and the energy team, saving at every opportunity, as well as generating our own renewable power. It’s made real by the designers, the engineers and our supply chain who’ve halved the carbon in the assets we build; by every employee making the business a safer place to work, and turning every customer interaction into a positive one; by our finance teams, who are building sustainability into their decision making; and by my operational and regulation colleagues who protect our environment, and guard the quality of the water we supply.
And not forgetting all the teams working with our customers to reconnect them with the water cycle, helping them to have a fantastic (but efficient!) time with water. The same teams that are working to ensure there is enough water in the right places, at the right times, to meet the needs of us and the environment in the future, and those that are helping customers and businesses alike keep our sewers clear, working for everyone’s benefit.
Saying I’m proud of everyone involved in attracting this honour would be an understatement – and even if it wasn’t my first instinct, I can finally, today, shout it from the rooftops!
Thank you to the Queen’s Award for recognising the fantastic work our employees, suppliers, partners and customers have done with Love Every Drop. It is real: together we are putting water at the heart of a whole new way of living.