Last week, Bristol Water claimed the launch of the water industry’s first Social Contract.
The company said despite industry-wide discussions on social contracts picking up pace in recent months, it had been working on the idea for over a year and had embedded it in its September PR19 business plan. That document promised: “Through Bristol Water for All [the 2020-25 plan] we establish a social contract with our customers. We vow to deliver demonstrable community benefit with high levels of customer satisfaction, transparent engagement and financial consequences should we fail to meet expectations.”
Chief executive, Mel Karam (pictured) explained further: “We see our social contract as a framework to help us to continue delivering societal benefits but also as a way local people can hold us to account for how we deliver our actions. It goes way beyond the basic requirement of competitive markets, regulation, legislation and corporate social responsibility. If local people believe we haven’t delivered societal benefits then there are financial consequences for us. We believe that is unique to the industry.”
The programme of work is to be produced and monitored collaboratively and in an ongoing way with a whole range of stakeholders including customers, local stakeholders, staff and the board. Karam hinted: “We will be working with others to do a whole range of things – including making water more publicly available in communities, inspiring and educating the next generation, putting leisure opportunities at the heart of water, protecting eels, combining resources with other local organisations to amplifying resource efficiency messages.”