Human rights

How businesses consider human rights has gained greater prominence in recent years. It features regularly in current political discourse about public trust in business behaviour and in investors’ demand for increased transparency of Environmental Social and Governance performance. The two are related – lack of disclosure is a gap in the trust narrative.

Our Human Rights Policy demonstrates our commitment to protecting the human rights of our employees and those working on our behalf in our supply chain.

We convened a cross-company working group to draft the policy statement, and identify and assess human rights risks and potential impacts on our employees, customers, suppliers and communities. This group identified our salient human rights issues as access to clean water, data protection and privacy, health and safety, and modern slavery.

Building on assessments undertaken to update our Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement for 2017, we carried out a risk-based review of our supply chain to identify the risk from all forms of modern slavery, identifying four categories of spend most susceptible to abuses – chemicals, workwear & PPE, IT hardware & equipment, and mains materials – which encompass 594 suppliers across 13 countries (85% in the EU, plus the US and Australia) and account for 13.4% of our annual procurement spend.

To date, we have not identified any human rights abuses within our own operations nor our supply chain and so no remediation actions have been required. However, as we cannot guarantee that they aren’t present in some form, we’ve mapped our human rights risks against our corporate risk register and manage them within this framework. In addition, our supply chain modern slavery risk management plan is detailed in the Statement.

Salient issues and vulnerable groups mapping

  • Access to clean water

    Access to clean water

    Employees

    Our Business Principle commitment to provide a safe, clean and reliable water supply now and in the future.

    Contract labour
    Local communities
    Children
    Migrant labour
    Indigenous people We are not aware of any of our employees, contract labour nor local communities identifying as Indigenous.
  • Data protection & privacy

    Data protection & privacy

    Employees Data Protection Policy
    Contract labour
    • Agency Worker Policy
    • Fixed-Term Worker Policy
    Local communities
    • Customer Data Protection Policy
    • Privacy Policy
    • Our Business Principle commitment to make sure our customers and their details remain safe
    Children / Migrant labour

    Not applicable

    Indigenous people We are not aware of any of our employees, contract labour nor local communities identifying as Indigenous
  • Health & safety

    Health & safety

    Employees Health & Safety Policy
    Contract labour Contractors Health & Safety Charter
    Local communities
    • Customer Data Protection Policy
    • Privacy Policy
    • Our Business Principle commitment to make sure our customers and their details remain safe
    Children / Migrant labour

    Not applicable

    Indigenous people We are not aware of any of our employees, contract labour nor local communities identifying as Indigenous
  • Modern slavery

    Modern slavery

    Employees

    Our stringent employment checks and various internal policies guaranteeing and protecting employee rights help ensure that human trafficking does not occur within our own operations

    Contract labour 99.5% of our supply chain spend is with EU based companies who are now required to comply with the EU non-Financial Reporting Directive, guaranteeing worker rights and protection*
    Local communities Other statements in this column apply here

    Children / Migrant labour

    As a highly regulated UK utility operating in North West England only, our use of stringent employment checks means that it is highly unlikely that child nor migrant trafficking has occurred within our own operations, as well as a result of them
    Indigenous people We are not aware of any of our employees, contract labour nor local communities identifying as Indigenous

    * The 0.5% of our supply chain spend outside the UK/EU is in the US, Australia and Norway. These are countries that also have domestic human rights related laws and legislation in place.