Aqua has been in the business of practicing sustainability and corporate social responsibility for more than 130 years. After all, our business revolves around providing Earth’s single most essential resource – water. Each year, Aqua delivers more than 86 billion gallons of water to about 3 million people – including families, businesses and school communities– across eight states. We have long believed that with this role comes an inherent responsibility to help ensure that this finite resource is carefully protected.
That responsibility starts with the fundamental processes we have in place to treat and deliver water – processes that help ensure the water we provide to our customers is safe to drink and is treated through the most sustainable and environmentally friendly methods available. These practices include our wastewater business, where we have the great responsibility of ensuring that the treated water we return to the Earth is safe for all living things – people, animals and plants.
We also see rebuilding our nation’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure as a corporate social responsibility. In 2017 alone, Aqua invested about $478 million into infrastructure improvements across the systems we operate. Our investment included upgrading treatment plants and facilities, water tanks and pumps, and most critically, replacing more than 150 miles of underground water pipe that had reached the end of its useful life. These critical investments help to prevent main breaks, leaks and water loss, improve water quality, help ensure the continued reliability of our delivery systems for our customers, and allow communities to thrive economically.
But we don’t stop there. Aqua’s corporate social responsibility commitment extends to all aspects of our business – from reducing our energy consumption and lowering greenhouse gas emissions to our belief in supplier diversity and providing an inclusive and safe workplace for our 1,600 employees.
Of course, our customers and the communities we serve are at the forefront of our CSR commitment. As good corporate citizens, we do all we can to ensure a positive customer experience, and we serve as an educational resource to our customers on water topics ranging from frozen pipe prevention to water conservation. We also make concerted efforts to be engaged in the communities in which Aqua operates. Whether through our corporate giving and volunteerism programs, or our work to preserve local waterways and protect natural habitats, Aqua is deeply entrenched in our communities. After all, they are the communities where we live and work, too.
Aqua’s corporate social responsibility efforts can be traced back to the earliest days of our company. Yet in many ways, this report sets a new foundation for reporting of our efforts. Within this report, we’ve included baseline metrics as well as new standards and additional programs that further enhance our commitments and accountability. We look forward to continuing to measure against, and improve upon, these metrics and programs in the coming years. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy learning more about the conscientious work we do to responsibly serve our customers, our employees, our communities and our environment every day.
Christopher H. Franklin
Chairman & CEO