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Thames Water recognised as global leader for sustainability

Monday 16th September 2019 12:00

Woodberry Wetlands

Thames Water has again been recognised as an industry leader for its commitment to the environment in a global survey.

In the latest Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for Infrastructure report (GRESB), Thames Water retained its top five-star status, came first out of seven participating water and sewerage companies in the world, and sixth out of 236 companies in Europe.

Overall the company was ranked 13th out of 393 world infrastructure firms – putting it in the top three per cent – with a score of 86 out of 100, the same as last year.

Every year, GRESB assesses firms based on three ‘ESG’ pillars – environmental, social and governance. It looks at areas such as a company’s carbon footprint, and how well they treat and train employees. The results are important because investors see them as a barometer of a company’s sustainability and ethical performance. 

Ian Marchant, Thames Water interim executive chairman, said: “As the provider of one of life’s essential services, we take our responsibilities to our customers, our people and the environment very seriously. We’re therefore very proud to have again been recognised globally for our ongoing commitments in these priority areas.

“As the results show, we remain determined to ensure our business activities are conducted in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way, they are clearly communicated and well governed. Faced with the twin challenges of climate change and population growth, it’s now more important than ever that we stay focused and continue to invest in our network to keep delivering for our customers and the environment.”

Thames Water was awarded Disability Confident Leader status by the government – the highest possible – this year for its commitment to employing, supporting and retaining people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

The company is also investing £1 million a day on leakage prevention, generates around a quarter of the electricity it needs from renewable sources, and has vowed to reduce pollution incidents by a further 30 per cent as part of its ambitious business plan for 2020-25.

In 2018, Thames Water became the first UK corporate to tie the interest rate it pays on a revolving credit facility to its GRESB score. The £1.65 billion facility runs until 2023 with the option of two one-year extensions.

If the business outperforms its GRESB score, the margin it pays will be lowered and any financial gains put towards Thames Water’s charitable fund, although there was no surplus or impact on the cost of borrowing this year.