Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) were the welcoming hosts in September, for a joint event with NIBE.

In an environment of heavy regulation the NWG is the only water company to be on the World’s Most Ethical companies list seven years in a row (2010-2017) and is currently the UK’s Utility Company of the year.  But how do they do it?

The team from NWG comprising of Graham Southall, Group Commercial Director, Laura McMain and John Murray, Category Managers, Procurement and Supply Chain, explained.

NWG has a clear vision to become the national leader in the provision of sustainable water and waste water services.  John and Laura explained how they do this by working with the companies stakeholders in a series of focus groups.  They started by working out what the company wanted to achieve, then set a comprehensive programme in place to enable them to achieve it.

They have a responsible procurement strategy outlined in a number of brochures stating the path the company takes:

  • actively work with their suppliers to ensure all suppliers meet a set criteria of basic principles.
  • implemented an educational programme for suppliers, which gives them a framework to work from when they source their own supplies.
  • hold annual responsible procurement awards to reward good business.

Customers are at the centre of everything NWG does.  They have a commitment to the community working to spend 60p in every £1 within the local supply chain. A newly introduced programme entitled AIME: Awareness, Identification, Measurement, Enlightenment is in place to make it happen.

All this has to be achieved whilst working within the regulations which they have to comply with.

NWG have 3000 suppliers and a £350million group spend, they know they have a monopoly, but they have made the choice to run that monopoly ethically.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, chaired by Caroline Theobald.