"Green Recovery Plan can act as a conduit for green growth, job creation and partnership working," says Anglian CEO
07 September 2020
Anglian Water has today set out its plans to enable a ‘Green Recovery’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Several months ago, Chief Executive Peter Simpson wrote about the opportunity to ‘build back better’ for the wider benefit of the environment, communities and the economy. Here he shares the water company’s plans to achieve that.
The advent of coronavirus has reshaped our societies almost overnight, with impacts ranging from devastating loss of life to deep recession and societal lockdown. But there have been more positive changes, including rapid adoption of flexible and remote working, better air quality and reduced carbon emissions – albeit temporarily – a resurgence and interest in nature, and a welcome growth in community spirit.
As supplier of a service which is so fundamental to a functioning society, we have always been acutely conscious of the weight of responsibility we bear, not simply to deliver fresh, clean water and to recycle it safely, but to protect and enhance our environment and to enrich our communities. That responsibility drives our purpose – to bring environmental and social prosperity to our region – and has been brought into even sharper focus by the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’ve spoken before about the opportunity we now have to ‘lock in’ some of the benefits we’ve seen during lockdown and to use it as a springboard to build back better and create a measure of lasting positivity in the wake of the virus. This has led to the creation of our Green Recovery Five-Point Plan, which lays out our ambition to enable stronger economic, social and environmental prosperity across the East of England by being a conduit for green growth, job creation and partnership working.
Our own commitments are laid out in the plan – continuing our journey to reach net zero carbon by 2030, supporting sustainable growth, and ensuring our region is ready and resilient to the changing climate, as well as helping to level up our region through green jobs and skills.
Through our Strategic Pipeline Alliance, one of the largest infrastructure programmes ever seen in this region, we have already created well over 100 new roles. With hundreds more jobs to be created in a wide variety of roles over the next five years, the programme will be a key contributor to post-Covid recovery in the region.
In March, we made a promise not to furlough any of our staff, and we’ve been able to honour that. Three thousand of our employees were able to work remotely almost overnight. We’ve fulfilled all job offers, we’ve continued to recruit new colleagues, and 50 new apprentices will join us this October.
But we recognise we can’t do this alone. As a company with a clear purpose at our core, this plan is our opportunity to set out the commitments we are making to support a green recovery, based on our own track record of sustainability. But we’ve also included our ideas about ‘the future we want to see,’ calling for changes to government policy, funding opportunities and new ways of working so we can fully embrace the ‘build back better’ ethos. I know many other businesses and organisations are already on this pathway with us.
By working in partnership with government, with regulators and across a wide range of sectors, we can ensure that as we collectively ‘build, build, build’, and work to accelerate existing plans to support the recovery, we build back smarter, with sustainability and resilience always at the forefront of our minds.
To read Anglian Water’s five-point plan for a green recovery, click here.