From now on, in almost every discussion about American Water’s vision, operations and leadership, you’ll hear much more about our commitment to the principles of Environmental Stewardship and Social Responsibility and Governance (ESG). In these discussions, we’ll get into some of the nitty-gritty of our investments, strategies and growth in ESG, and how that translates to us being a leader in environmental sustainability, keeping employees safe and allowing them to reach their full potential, as well as prioritizing transparency, responsibility and integrity in our operations.
But before we can have meaningful, educational exchanges on the details of these principles, it’s important to first understand them as the foundation of everything we do—that is, to understand them for their essential role in driving the quality, value and excellence of every service we provide to our customers and our communities. One of my favorite ways of doing this is by using a principle that pretty much everyone has heard: you only get out as good as you put in.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about making a pizza, hand-knitting a sweater or building a home. If you want your creation to be the best it can be, you have to start with foundational excellence and build from there. From the ingredients to the technique to the attention you give the process, if even one thing is compromised—if, for example the cheese is subpar, the wool is inexpensive or the contactor takes shortcuts—the end result and the consumer experience immediately declines. Moreover, when this happens, there is very little, if anything, that can bring it back to outstanding.
At American Water, Environmental Stewardship and Social Responsibility and Governance provide the pillars on which we base and build our business and from which everything we do originates. ESG is the first place we put our focus because we know that the quality and attention we put in determines the quality and the value we turn out. In other words, ESG is the motor driving us to do well by doing good. Our attention, commitment and investment in the principles of ESG—from an $8 billion investment in infrastructure over the next five years to 80,000 hours of annual employee safety training to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to achieving gender parity on our board of directors—are what allow us to serve our customers with excellence, help build better communities, and ensure that every customer sleeps well at night (SWAN) because American Water is there, working for our customers, today and into the future.
When you focus on doing the right things in the right way, everyone benefits. This is what American Water’s ESG commitment is all about. It is something that has us excited to come to work every day, and it is something that we will continually enhance and expand for the benefit of our customers, communities and our planet. You can learn more about our ESG commitment in this video.