World Economic Forum (WEF)

Information on this page follows the WEF's environment, social and governance sustainability reporting framework.

This framework was created after the WEF International Business Council (IBC) identified a lack of consistency by which companies measure and report to investors and other stakeholders the shared and sustainable value they create. The WEF report proposes a common, core set of metrics and recommended disclosures that align mainstream reporting. We already integrate many of these metrics in our Annual Report but to make it easier for those searching for the information we will be publishing the data here, in one table. There are 22 metrics, developed on the back of 4 reporting pillars:

  • Governance
  • Planet
  • People
  • Prosperity

Governance focuses on the principles of agency, accountability and stewardship. Planet aims to protect our world from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking action on climate change. People aspires for all humans to fulfil their potential in dignity and equality. Prosperity is an ambition to ensure all humans can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.

We provide updates to the data below once a year following our March end of year reporting cycle.

  • Our purpose is to provide great water and more for a stronger, greener and
    healthier North West.

    The three component parts of our purpose link to core business and wider benefit; ‘to provide great water’ means delivering our core water, wastewater and customer services, reliably and to the highest quality as it is our customers expect and deserve; ‘and more’ means creating value for our stakeholders by understanding what matters to them through strong and constructive relationships; and ‘for the North West’ is about our focus on the region we serve. 

    This drives us to deliver our services in an environmentally sustainable, economically beneficial, and socially responsible manner and create sustainable long-term value for all.

    Find out more in our Integrated Annual Report on pages 1 and 2.

  • You can read all about our board in the Governance section of our Annual Report, which provides an overview of our directors' responsibilities.

  • To create longer-term value for all it is essential that we identify and engage
    with our stakeholders to understand what matters most to them.
    We do not operate in isolation and it is not for us alone to determine what the
    region needs us to deliver. Engaging with stakeholders across the North West
    enables us to identify shared solutions to shared challenges. We value the diverse perspectives that a broad range of stakeholders, representing different and often competing interests, can bring to our decision-making. This process is described in our Integrated Annual Report, pages 56-57. Read it here.

    You can read more about our materiality matrix, which evaluates what's important to our stakeholders, and aids us in decision making for our own reporting in our Integrated Annual Report, pages 28-33. Read it here.

  • 100% of identified employees completed required anti-bribery training. Find out more in our Integrated Annual Report on page 109.

    During FY2022/23 there were no confirmed breaches of our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy related to the current or previous years, and no investigations or enforcement activity against us in respect of these and other compliance matters. You can read all about it on our website here.

  • We have dedicated legal and competition compliance teams whose remit is to promote awareness of ethical and lawful behaviour, and organizational integrity  across all employees. The teams provide training and support and answer any questions which may arise.

    A confidential, independent telephone helpline and a web portal are available to enable employees (including agency workers and contractors) to raise matters of concern in relation to possible incidents of fraud, dishonesty, corruption, theft, security and bribery. All matters reported in this way are investigated and whistleblowers are protected from reprisals. Whistleblowers may remain anonymous and the service is available 24/7. Find out more in our Integrated Annual Report on page 137.

  • We have a robust risk management framework for the identification, assessment and mitigation of risk. Security is identified as one of our principal risks. Notable new and emerging risks are also set out. Read all about it in our Integrated Annual Report pages 60-75.

    In 2020/21 our board evaluation was conducted by Independent Audit Limited. Risk was considered to be well managed and the board had a clear overview of the principal risks. More opportunity for the discussion of IT risk was cited along with other emerging risks. Read all about it in our 2021 Annual Report on page 135. This has been addressed in our 2023 Integrated Annual Report with disclosures on cyber security made throughout, see page 5.


  • Our emissions for 2022/2023 are as follows:

    Scope 1: 133,919 tCO2e, Scope 2: 11 tCO2e, Scope 3: 476,169 tCO2e

    Our carbon footprint is calculated by estimating the individual greenhouse gases that result from all United Utilities’ activities, converted into a carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Scope 1 refers to emissions from activities that we own or control, for example e.g. burning fossil fuels, wastewater and sludge processing. Scope 2 refers to our purchased electricity. Finally scope 3 refers to emissions emitted in our value chain, for instance sludge disposal, business travel and purchased products and services. Scope 3 emissions are beyond our control but within our influence.
    We have near term (2030) science based targets that have been verified by the SBTi and have committed to validate our net zero 2050 ambition to the Net Zero Standard when we revise and revalidate our near-term targets in advance of 2025. You can find out more by reading our energy and carbon report on page 93 of our  2023 Intergated Annual Report.

  • We integrate past and projected climate data throughout our plans to ensure an effective and evolving response. We are committed to playing our part in securing the global goal to curb climate change to no more than 1.5oC and have made six carbon pledges and set four SBTi verified science based targets.

    We publish our greenhouse gas emissions and progress towards meeting our carbon pledges and verified SBTi targets in our 2023 Integrated Annual Report. You can also read more about how we identify, assess and manage climate related risks, including our six most sensitive climate risks, on pages 70-71 and more about our adaptation and mitigation plans here.



  • We have joined the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) forum as a contributing member to help us as we become an early adopter of TNFD reporting. We published our approach to TNFD for the first time in our 2022 Annual Report and you can read our latest disclosure in our 2023 Integrated Annual Report, see page 5. 

    We have committed to no net loss of biodiversity and delivered significant investment in improving the condition of habitats on our land. We are currently committing to deliver Net Gain for biodiversity in the delivery of our capital programme and across our landholdings. Find out more in our Integrated Annual Report on page 88.

  • Zero - According to Environment Agency classification United Utilities does not have any areas categorised as water stressed.

  • Ratios are detailed in our Gender Pay Report 2022.

    Gender equality is an important part of our commitment to becoming a truly diverse and inclusive organisation. We are proud of the progress we are making with female colleagues visible and thriving in many roles at all levels, from the board, on our executive leadership team, in key operational roles and in schemes which bring future talent to our organisation, including graduate and apprentice programmes. We remain focused on going further. You can also find out more by reading our Integrated Annual Report, pages 54-55.

  • Workforce profile: Diversity and Inclusion

    Our aim is to create a workforce that’s representative of our region and customer base. It’s really important to us that we’re able to create an inclusive and supportive working environment where all our employees feel valued and free to contribute to their full potential. You can find out more in our Integrated Annual Report pages 54-55.

  • We retained our Living Wage acccreditation in 2023. See page 109 of our Integrated Annual Report.

  • Sustainability Risk Assessments are used by the business to ensure that our suppliers have a low risk of incidents of child labour and incidents of forced labour. Our 2023 status for this is green, which means that our suppliers are in low risk categories, see page 109 of our 2023 Integrated Annual Report.

    To find out more about our social responsibility, you can read our Human Rights Policy here and to find out more about our risk assessment process you can read our Statement on Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking here.

  • Average hours of training per person that our employees have undertaken during the reporting period: 22.98 hours

    Average training and development expenditure per full time employee: £467

    We have a dedicated webpage all about our employee training here.

  • 581 new employee hires in 2022/23
    6.3% employee turnover for 2022/23

    We’re not just about pipes, we’re also about people. Our employees are the face of the company and we could not deliver our services without them. Whether they work directly for us, our contractors or are in our supply chain. It takes more than 5,000 of us to keep our network flowing – from engineers to leak detectors; scientists to financial experts, we are one of the largest employers in the North West. In addition, 10,000 people are engaged through our supply chain, meaning that we generate – either directly or indirectly – one in every 150 jobs in the region. Find out more about how we communicate openly and honestly with respect for our employees here.

  • 1. 2023 (£m)- Revenues: 1,824.4, Staff costs: 192.2, Operating costs: 767.8 (Note 1), payments to providers of capital: 215.7 (Note 2), Payments to government 51.4 (Note 3) 2022 (£m)- Revenues: 1,862.7, Staff costs: 184.3, Operating costs: 650.2 (Note 1), payments to providers of capital: 168.3 (Note 2), Payments to government 496.7 (Note 3). 2. These are already included as part of the net position reported in (1) above. As a group we do no receive 'tax breaks' as such, but reliefs such as capital allowances or income not taxable are included within 'Payments to government'. Grants are included as a reduction within 'Operating Costs' above. 3.The 'Net Economic Contribution' is therefore £597.3m for the year ended 31st March 2023, £363.2m for the year ended 31st March 2022 and £844.6m for the year ended 31st March 2021.

    Note 1: Operating costs is made up of the following items from 'total operating expenses' reported in the group's consolidated income statement: other operating costs; allowance for expected credit losses in relation to trade and other receivables; other income; and infrastructure renewables expenditure. Note 2: Payments to providers of capital is made up of net finance expenses, i.e. finance expense minus investment income as reported in the consolidated income statement. This includes interest payable on borrowings; fair value gains/losses on debt and derivative instruments; interest receivable on short-term bank deposits; interest receivable on loans to joint ventures; and net pension interest income. Note 3: Payments to government is the group's total tax charge (i.e. current tax and deferred tax) as reported in the consolidated income statement.

    Read more about our Fair Tax approach on pages 208-209 of our Integrated Annual Report.

  •   Approach 1   Approach 2   Approach 3
      2023 £m 2022 £m 2021 £m   2023 £m 2022 £m 2021 £m   2023 £m 2022 £m 2021 £m
    Total Capital expenditure 694.0 628.5 644   885.9 748.6 710.6   886.9 751.4 714.7
    Depreciation (421.6) (415.8) (420.2)   (421.6) (415.8) (420.2)   (423.6) (418.2) (422.3)
      272.4 212.7 223.8   464.3 332.8 290.4   463.3 333.2 292.4
      2023 £m 2022 £m 2021 £m   2023 £m 2022 £m 2021 £m   2023 £m 2022 £m 2021 £m
    Dividend payments 301.2 295.5 291.9   301.2 295.5 291.9   301.2 295.5 291.9
    Calculated net investment: 0.9 0.7 0.8   1.5 1.1 1.0   1.5 1.1 1.0

    Approach 1 - Total capital expenditure presented on a cash basis using the figures from the group's consolidated statement of cash flows for the purchase of property, plant and equipment and the puchase of intangible assets. This excludes capitalised interest that is 'non-cash' but is included in the value of field assets presented in the group's statement of financial position, and any transactions in respect of leased assets. Depreciation comprises depreciation and amorisation expense included in the group's consolidated income statement, excluding depreciation of right-of-use assets that are leased rather than owned.

    Approach 2 - Total capital expenditure represents additions recorded in relation to owned property plant and equipment (exluding leased assets) and intangible assets, as set out in the notes to the financial statements and consistent with amounts recorded in the statement of financial position. This therefore includes the value of capitalised interest. Depreciation is as stated in the consolidated income statement, excluding the depreciation of right-of-use assets that are leased, consistent with the definition used for total capital expenditure.

    Approach 3 - Total capital expenditure represents additions recorded in relation to property plant and equipment (including right-of-use assets that are leased rather than owned) and intangible assets as recorded in the notes to the financial statements, and that feed into the values reported in the statement of financial position. Depreciation comprises depreciation and amortisation expense as reported in the consolidated income statement, which includes depreciation of right-of-use assets that are leased rather than owned.

    There have been no share buybacks during the year - while shares were purchased by the group on the open market, these were used to satisfy the exercise of share-based payments under schemes operated by the group on behalf of certain senior managers. The group's share captal has therefore not been impacted by these transactions. 

  • Total amount of spending on R&D as a percentage of total sales 2022/23: 0.25%

    Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at United Utilities. It allows us to continually evolve all business areas by exploring new technologies and ways of working that will improve how we take care of one of life’s essentials. You can read more about our approach to innovation on our dedicated webpage here.

  • In 2022/23 we supported communities through direct community investment of £2.88 million.

    We made this contribution through £2,656,628 of Cash, £44,179 in time, £5,951 in-kind contributions and £169,394 in management costs. The type of support we contributed to was £216,063 as charitable gifts and £2,401,564 in community investment.

    Our work puts us at the heart of local communities in the North West of England, where customers and employees live and work. Working in partnership with others means we can create better places, stronger communities, and accomplish more to address mutual issues together.

    For example we invest in community partnerships to tackle issues more effectively, to find new solutions to the challenges we face, and to access new funding streams, driving efficiency and a better overall outcome. We have signed two memoranda of understanding with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and The Rivers Trust – partners held in high esteem by local communities with a broad membership base, enhancing the credibility of what we do. You can read more about this in our Integrated Annual Report, pages 105-107.

  • 2023 total taxes and contributions to public finances: £229m, see pages 208-209 of our 2023 Integrated Annual Report.

    For detailed information on how much tax we pay, how we ensure we pay the right amount of tax at the right time and how we ensure our tax affairs are transparent see our Tax, plain and simple 2023 Report.

    Recognising the group’s ongoing commitment to paying its fair share of tax and acting in an open and transparent manner in relation to its tax affairs, we were delighted to have retained the Fair Tax Mark independent certification for a third year, having been only the second FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark in July 2019.