Renewing our past for the good of people

In my early morning run today I came across a field of daffodils. It’s another few days until spring equinox, and the blooms reminded me of dark winters coming to an end and nature awakening, ready for spring renewal, time for shaking off the winter blues and opening up the windows to the sun. It’s exciting to see the renewal of what has been suppressed and hidden underneath and for Mother Nature to show herself in full glory once again, with the four elements of Water, air, earth and fire all playing their parts.It’s an exciting time for us too, as it is also the springtime of Bristol Water. We are renewing our Purpose, connecting with our great past, shaking off the difficulties of our more recent winter. And just as the first blooms signpost the new order, our Social Contract launch, one of the first in modern times, has awakened the social conscious of corporations around the country. From Ofwat to WaterUK, to the energy sector, all are excited about the concept and are using the language we started to use in our publications a year ago. We are proud of what we have started and we cherish the fact that we are not alone; there are many more where our innovations and thought leaderships come from.

We announced our Social Contract in January this year.

More importantly, we have a genuine reason to be optimistic about our unique social purpose as it is closely linked to our heritage. Our Social Contract is a genuine value that runs in our DNA going back to the foundations of our company over  170 years ago in 1846. Our company was founded by caring local entrepreneurs, mostly local Quakers and Physicians (Medical people), as a social enterprise, concerned with local society’s health, wealth and wellbeing. The ground breaking and innovative idea of bringing clean fresh water from the Mendip Hills to the city was only a means to an end. The real purpose was even more ambitious; to lift large parts of the society out of disease and poverty by eradicating water-borne diseases which prevented poorer population of the city to go to work and participate in city’s growing wealth. Their promise of “Pure and constant” was a description not just for supply of water, but as time has proved, a fitting accolade to the core values of the organisation that runs through how it has served the society, the local communities, the employees and the environment.

On 28 February 2019 we welcomed local people and people from across the country interested in doing good, to the heart of Bristol as we renewed our vows with our Social Contract. In doing so we renew ourselves, we reconnected with our Purpose, we shook off our recent winter and welcomed our Bristol Water spring. We live our core values again; Proud of our heritage, Ambitious for our future, we again take Accountability to create a new chapter in our history and the history of the society we serve, we Trust in a bright future.

The event at Bristol Zoo was a fantastic opportunity for Bristol Water to launch their social contract.

The evening was a great coming together of ideas and passion to help tackle some of the biggest issues facing our society today. With people from across the industry – including many water companies, Ofwat, The Environment Agency, and industry influences – bouncing ideas around and learning from our past mistakes, it felt like this was the start of something beautiful. It was clear that Bristol is full of good people as we welcomed many partners from Bristol’s business community including Bristol Energy, Business West, UWE, and the South West CBI. It was a great honour to see local leaders Tim Bowles (West of England Combined Authority Mayor) and Peaches Golding join us. We also heard from our friends Natalie Fee and Rebecca Burgess from City to Sea on our work with Refill and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership.

Natalie Fee, Founder of City to Sea.

Our Social Contract reinvigorates our passion for the local community. It puts us, Bristol Water, firmly back at the centre of trying to make society a better place and it says to local people Bristol Water is taking its commitment to communities seriously.

You can find a write up of the event here.