Communicating integrated thinking category





United Utilities provides water and sewage services to North-West England and has produced three consecutive annual reports as integrated reports. They link KPIs to strategic objectives with four years of comparatives, link remuneration to appropriate KPIs and provide links between risk and strategic objectives.


The company needed to transform itself from one of the worst to one of the best-performing companies in its sector. A key part of this transformation was to put integrated thinking into action across, for example, the way the company runs its whole water and wastewater network from its Integrated Control Centre. The company wanted to communicate this with its shareholders, telling them how it was delivering the best services to customers at the lowest sustainable cost in a responsible manner, and linking this to shareholder value.


The company recognised that its business is quite complex and therefore it needed to distil this complexity into something simple enough to communicate effectively. It achieved this by careful thought about its business model diagram which it then used to structure its annual report. Everything it needs to communicate hangs off the diagram.


The challenge was to create a business model diagram which accurately reflects how the business works, while keeping it simple enough to enable clear, concise, insightful integrated communication.

Judges’ comments

By producing clear, concise, integrated communications, United Utilities has demonstrated how integrated thinking translates to shareholder value in financial terms.