Southern Water scooped a runner-up award at the sixth annual Guardian Sustainable Business Awards last night (Thursday 26 May) for their universal metering programme.
The awards celebrate organisations and individuals that go above and beyond to tackle global challenges and drive sustainability.
Southern Water were shortlisted in the ‘bold move category’ – which recognises companies who have ‘pushed the boundaries’ by taking a groundbreaking step to advance sustainability – and pave the way for other businesses.
Ben Earl, Southern Water’s water efficiency manager said, “It was fantastic to be shortlisted for the UK’s most coveted Sustainable Business Awards and so to be ‘runner up’ in the first ever ‘Bold move’ category was a real tribute to the whole team who delivered Southern Water’s market leading water efficiency as part of our metering programme.”
“Metering is one of the fairest and most environmentally friendly ways to save water, energy and money,” he added.
The shortlisted companies were judged on a number of criteria, including whether there was evidence of measurable, sustainable change as a result of the project.
Exhaustive research conducted by Southern Water found 85 per cent of their customers agreed paying for the exact amount of water used is the fairest way to charge, and gave customers more control over their bills. Research at the University of Southampton also demonstrated the programme resulted in a strong decrease in water consumption.
An important feature of the programme was visits to customer households. After the initial round of visits offering early advice, another round took place on the day of installation, providing customers with a booklet explaining that the meter is now being switched on and the various tariff choices available.
The judging panel was made up of a raft of sustainability experts – including Craig Bennett, chief executive, Friends of the Earth; Paul Ekins, professor of resources and environment policy and director, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London and John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK.
Southern Water was the only water company shortlisted for an award, joining companies as diverse as The Carbon Trust, Innocent Smoothies, B&Q and Ikea.