UN Sustainable Development Goals

Key facts


global goals adopted by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030


identified where we contribute most as a business

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals to be achieved by the year 2030, and were adopted by a summit of the United Nations (UN) in 2015. They are designed to be the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, aiming to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change.

Since they were published, stakeholder interest has increased in the contributions companies are making to the UN SDGs.

While our work contributes across all of the goals, we have identified five goals that are the most material to our business and the nature of the essential services that we provide. Our approach to operating in a responsible manner aligns quite naturally with these goals. We will increasingly need to work in partnership with all our stakeholders in order to achieve these goals.

The following details show the steps we are taking to meet each of these five SDGs.

Clean water and sanitation – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

This is our core function and the reason we exist – providing safe, resilient and affordable water and wastewater services to customers across the North West of England.

Part of this goal is about avoiding wasting water, and we promote water efficiency through campaigns, advice, education and free water-saving gadgets for customers.

We protect and enhance water-related ecosystems across our region.

Decent work and economic growth – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Our daily operations provide direct and indirect employment for thousands of people, and we are a big contributor to the North West economy.

We provide training and development opportunities in safe, secure working environments, graduate and apprentice opportunities, offer equal opportunities to all and value diversity among our employees. Read more in Corporate governance report.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

We invest heavily in infrastructure, including £250 million additional investment in 2015–20 to increase our resilience. Read more about our approach to resilience in Our planning horizons.

Ensuring the region where we operate has reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure for the long term requires innovation to keep pace with an increasingly digital world. Read about our Innovation Lab in Accelerating the drive for new ideas.

Sustainable cities and communities – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

We use our understanding of customer needs and priorities to deliver services that meet their expectations and engage with communities to enhance participation in what we do. We plan far into the future to prepare for increases in the population and new housing that will need connections for water and wastewater services.

To find out more about our community activity see

Peace, justice and strong institutions – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

We run our business with integrity, and this is one of our core values.

We have high levels of transparency in our reporting and ethical standards of business conduct and corporate governance – those systems and processes through which our organisation is managed, controlled and held accountable.