Sustainable finance supports South East Water’s responsible business ambitions

South East Water has today published its Sustainability Finance Framework, under which the company can issue Sustainability Bonds and Sustainability Loans.

Believed to be a European water utility company first, the Sustainability Finance Framework will finance a range of activities, not only environmental projects but also ones which will benefit society such as improving drinking water quality. The South East Water’s Sustainable Finance Framework was supported by ING, which acted as sole Green Structuring Advisor and independently reviewed by VigeoEiris.

The Sustainability Finance Framework highlights how the activities of the water company are supporting five of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals, including climate action and sustainable cities and communities.

Paul Butler, Managing Director for South East Water, said: “Principally we deliver a sustainable supply of top quality drinking water to 2.2 million customers in the south east of England. Through sensitive abstraction, processing and treatment we secure the supply of our most important natural resource – water. Therefore, the vast majority of our activities have a strong sustainability focus with a long-term ambition looking 60 years into the future as we plan.

“Publishing this Sustainability Finance Framework is an important step in our continuous development as a responsible business. Our future plans have this at its heart, working together with customers to protect the environment and secure water supplies for society now and in the future.”

Leonie Schreve, Global Head Sustainable Finance, for ING said: "We are proud to be the Green Structuring Advisor on South East Water's Sustainability Finance Framework, drawing on our track record and expertise in both the water industry and sustainable financing. The principles outlined in this framework directly reflects ING's aspiration to help lead towards a more sustainable world and complements the aims of South East Water and its stakeholders. One of the strengths of this framework is that it can be used for a variety of green financing moving forward."

As part of its latest business plan South East Water has set 10 responsible business measures for key areas which customers and stakeholders want to see the water company lead the way on and which have the potential to create a step-change in trust for the water sector. They are:

  • Play an active role regionally in relation to the impact of housing growth on water
  • Develop a future generation schools’ programme on water
  • Ensure fair pay, reward and recognition for all our employees
  • Create more partnership community projects on water use and vulnerability
  • Support the tap water refill campaign to reduce plastic bottled water
  • Natural capital accounting
  • Renewable energy measures
  • Transparency of reporting
  • Improving health, safety and wellbeing of our people and communities
  • Trusted corporate governance

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