United Utilities is the largest listed water and wastewater company in the United Kingdom. This year, a heavy focus was placed onto long-term reporting, focusing on its plans to ensure a sustainable future.
2020 marked the transition into a new regulatory period, so the annual report needed to communicate the company’s plans for the upcoming five-year period. Having produced a number of integrated reports over the years, the company wanted to build upon this to enhance stakeholder-related sections and showcase its distinct competitive advantage.
The key theme, “Delivering on our purpose”, is consistent and runs throughout the entire annual report, focusing on its purpose-led culture.
A section is dedicated to discussing each key stakeholder group, their material issues, and the Group’s level of engagement with each. This is also communicated within the business model, whereby outputs are directly linked to their six main stakeholders. This not only adheres to the expectations of integrated reporting, but also meets United Utilities’ goals of enhancing stakeholder-related aspects.
The company’s culture, inclusive of its purpose, vision, strategic themes, and core values, is communicated effectively within an infographic displayed within the strategic report. It was important to communicate that these are all interlinked, and the design of this does just that.
“In a responsible manner” is another one of the key strategic themes outlined, which discusses United Utilities’ dedication to act as a responsible business, ensuring that it continues to work towards creating a sustainable future. Its ESG activities have been mapped out against several sustainability frameworks including Dow Jones Sustainability, Sustainalytics, Carbon Disclosure Project, FTSE4Good, ISS, and Euronext Vigeo Eiris, while also being fully compliant against the TCFD reporting framework.
The report makes use of and showcases the refreshed brand and its key design elements, bringing it to life using engaging imagery, key colours and bold sections. The online version is extremely easy to navigate, with clear drop-down menus and buttons to further links.
The end result is a well-structured, engaging, accessible report in both a print and online format that effectively showcases United Utilities’ refreshed brand and achieves all integrated reporting expectations.