Strategic Comms Awards

Best use of business as a purpose driver

Anglian Water
Agency: Emperor

The first task of the new partnership between Anglian Water and design agency Emperor was to create an annual report that brought to life the utility company’s purpose, values, and strategy, but also tracked progress against these in a compelling way that captured stakeholders’ attention.

The key to the integrated report’s success would be its readability and clarity, and these dominated its narrative structure. First, the report openly sets out Anglian Water’s corporate purpose: ‘to bring environmental and social prosperity to the region we serve through our commitment to Love Every Drop’.

The Mission Statement and Values are also explained in depth, and, with the purpose, are set against Anglian Water’s strategic 25-year goals, its five-year business plan and its seven stakeholder groups, ranging from customers and communities to regulators.

The report explains the significance of each stakeholder group to Anglian Water, it then elaborates on how the utility company engages with them. For employees, for example, it highlights face-to-face meetings, communication channels for office- and field-based colleagues, site visits, meetings with three trade unions and an employee forum. It then lists the key areas of engagement for each stakeholder group over the year. For employees, it lists eight areas ranging from remuneration to mental health.

In doing so, Anglian Water set out clearly how it delivers for each stakeholder group and to share how their input shapes decisions made by the business. This section also forms a major part of Anglian Water’s S172 report, which records how directors have acted to promote the success of the business. As an early adopter of TCFD reporting, Anglian Water uses its report to demonstrate its leadership on sustainability and responsible business.

A double page spread holds the utility company to account in this area, but it is also forthcoming in other aspects. Anglian Water measures its performance against 32 commitments, its Outcome Delivery Incentives, which appear throughout the report. A double page spread lists the 32, includes the target for each and a traffic light colour code system – amber, green, and red – to show if this was reached, alongside a short explanatory paragraph.

Every aspect of the business model is clearly laid out and explained, with colourful graphics and illustrations, which carry themes throughout the report, and there is greater use of signposting and cross referencing than in Anglian Water’s previous reports. The narrative structure brings Anglian Water’s purpose and values to life in a visual style that reflects its brand identity, with the creative thread: ‘The more we keep exploring, the more we’ll achieve. For everyone.’