The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals to be achieved by the year 2030, and were adopted by a summit of the United Nations (UN) in 2015. They are designed to be the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, aiming to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change.

Since they were published, stakeholder interest has increased in the contributions companies are making to the UN SDGs.

Our approach to operating in a responsible manner aligns quite naturally with these goals. We have identified six that are the most material to our business and the nature of the essential services that we provide, and to which we contribute the most.

The following details how we contribute to meeting each of these six SDGs.

Clean water and sanitation – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

This is our core function and the reason we exist – providing safe, resilient and affordable water and wastewater services to customers across the North West of England.

Part of this goal is about avoiding wasting water, and we promote water efficiency through campaigns, advice, education and free water saving gadgets for customers.

We protect and enhance water-related ecosystems across our region.

Decent work and economic growth – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Our daily operations provide direct and indirect employment for 22,700 people, and we are a big contributor to the north west economy.

We provide training and development opportunities in safe, secure working environments, graduate and apprentice opportunities, programmes for young people experiencing difficulties securing employment, offer equal opportunities to all and value diversity among our employees.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

We invest heavily in infrastructure, including just under £4 billion in capex between 2015–20 to improve the performance and resilience of our assets and operations to impacts such as those arising from climate change.

We embrace innovation, especially in an increasingly digital world, to ensure the region where we operate has reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, now and into the future.

Sustainable cities and communities – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

We use our understanding of customer needs and priorities to deliver services that meet their expectations and engage with communities to enhance participation in what we do. We plan at least 25 years into the future to prepare for increases in the population and new housing that will need connections for water and wastewater services. We are exploring ways to do this using natural solutions to manage water and wastewater.

Climate action – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Responding to the climate emergency is an imperative for us all.

Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring that we, and the region we serve, are resilient to the impacts that a changing climate might bring are key to our long-term planning.

Peace, justice and strong institutions – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

We run our business in a responsible manner, and trustworthy is one of our core values.

We have high levels of transparency in our reporting and ethical standards of business conduct and corporate governance – those systems and processes through which our organisation is managed, controlled and held accountable.