Anglian Water collecting the award

Anglian Water has achieved national recognition alongside companies like National Grid and Morrisons at the annual Business in the Community, Responsible Business Awards 2014 ceremony in London.

The company’s Keep It Clear campaign was announced as the winner of the Engaging Customers on Sustainability Award category, beating stiff competition from Waitrose and Thames Water. The award looked for businesses that use their marketing activity to inspire and enable people to live more sustainable lifestyles.

The Keep It Clear campaign was launched in 2011 as part of the firm’s ‘Love Every Drop’ strategy to raise awareness of how to reduce sewer blockages and encourage more sustainable behaviours, specifically disposing of fats and unflushables, like wipes, responsibly rather than down toilets and drains.

The business spends more than £7 million a year on the maintaining its sewerage network to prevent blockages and a further £13 million unblocking sewers. 70% of all its sewer flooding and environmental pollution incidents are a result of a blockage.

The company saw a 60% reduction in sewer blockages in the campaign area, and a 20% reduction in blockages on the public sewer network in 2012/13. This marked a significant decrease on the annual £7million spent on unblocking sewers and an increase in positive social media interaction with customers.

Paul Gibbs, Director of Water Recycling at Anglian Water, said: “Over half the sewer blockages we have to clear can be avoided, and our mission with the Keep It Clear campaign has been to fix the problem at the outset by engaging people and explaining how these blockages are caused in order to change their attitudes and behaviours. Disposing of fats, oils and greases and unflushable items, like wipes, responsibly – whether that’s in the bin or at a recycling centre – makes a huge difference to the state of the sewers, reducing the risk of overflows that can flood homes and gardens and damage the environment.

“Keep It Clear was the first campaign of its kind in the industry and it’s achieving fantastic results which are encouraging proof that people keen to take action once they are aware of the damage their actions are causing.

“The Responsible Business Award is a ringing endorsement for our approach to tackling blockages, and for our Love Every Drop strategy which emphasises if we want to live in a more sustainable way, we all need to work together.”

Commenting on the win, Alison Orsi, VP Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, IBM UK, said: “Anglian Water had a very clear objective, a very data driven strategy and their approach to how they actually executed that was incredibly human – they employed face-to-face engagement tailored very specifically to the different communities over a large region. What they achieved in a 49% reduction of blockages across their whole network in the campaign period, and up to 85% reduction of blockages in the areas where the campaign had been running longest was very impressive. These kind of results demonstrate genuine evidence of engaging customers and actually driving change.”

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community, said: “Responsible Business Award winners have demonstrated innovation to drive positive change in our communities and as a result have seen clear benefits in terms of business growth, customer engagement or staff wellbeing. I congratulate all of the companies for playing their part to build a new contract between business and society and a more sustainable future for us all.”