Fair for the Future
Sustainability Principles

Sustainability is increasingly being recognised as key to resilience and survival - for people and planet.


Our new major Sustainability Principles Project will help embed sustainability in practice in the energy, water and communications sectors by designing and using a principles-based approach to support cultural change. The Project is focused on the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainability. 


Project aims:

1. Support the paradigm shift in mindsets starting to take place in regulators, policy makers and companies in essential services so through their culture and processes they take a fundamentally different and more sustainable approach.

2. Encourage and inspire employees and leaders in essential services to think big about sustainability (eg around the future roles of utility businesses) and strategically embed the changes that are starting to occur throughout their organisations.

3. Develop and test a set of Plain English ‘Sustainability Principles’ that can be practically understood, applied and adopted by economic decision makers as a key part of a consistent measurement framework for sustainable change.


This project builds on our previous New-Pin and Fair for the Future project work.  These projects had identified the following issues and gaps in terms of delivering sustainability and long-term public interest outcomes in utilities:  

- How companies, regulators and policy makers interact (both within and between sectors) -  in the past, approaches to sustainability have often been siloed and not systematically embedded into core strategic economic decision making, including around roles and responsibilities. 

- How the law and regulation are interpreted by all sides - for thirty years, economic decision making has been narrowly framed and has suffered from both the tragedy of the horizon and tragedy of the commons.  It will take time to overcome existing behavioural biases and the power of precedents to get the change in mindsets, culture and attitudes needed for the transformational shift necessary for true sustainability. 

- How policy and regulation are implemented in practice - measurement and reporting are starting to change but these need to be accompanied by new knowledge, skills and processes to enable the fulfilment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


As we set out in our Sustainability Principles Viewpoint last October, policies, institutions and reporting all need to change to deliver a sustainable future.  However, our work indicates that without a fundamental shift in principles, culture and processes, we will struggle to deliver more sustainable outcomes.  This project will address this issue.

The project will engage civil society groups so that our proposed Sustainability Principles reflect their concerns and resonate with the wider public.  We will work with decision makers to develop ‘use cases’ to test how the principles can work in practice. 


We have set up a Project Steering Group to help guide the project and provide advice on project development.  The Terms of Reference of the Steering Group are as follows:

1. To give advice on the focus of the proposed principles and the language use
2. To help ensure the principles developed are useful, supportive of existing change and are as practical as possible
3. To provide advice on how to maximise the project’s impact and how to embed the principles developed in key decision-making processes
4. To help evaluate the project’s work

Project Partners


  • BT
  • KPMG
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • SSEN
  • South East Water
  • Scottish Power Energy Networks
  • UK Power Networks
  • Wessex Water 
  • Western Power Distribution

Steering Group


  • Louisa Chorley - BEIS, Energy and Security Group
  • Clive Carter - BT, Regulatory Affairs Director
  • Elvira Knapman - Regulatory Affairs Professional
  • Oscar Watkins - Defra, Team Leader for Economic Regulation - Water
  • Frazer Scott - Energy Action Scotland, CEO
  • Vanessa Griffiths - Environment Agency, Sustainable Business Operations, National Services
  • Claire Milne - Independent 
  • Penny Shepherd - Independent
  • Zarina Ahmad - Independent
  • James Poston - KPMG
  • Giles Stevens - National Infrastructure Commission, Director of Policy
  • Hannah Jewison - Northern Gas Networks, Sustainability Lead
  • Ana Serodio - Ofcom, Strategy and Policy
  • Ed Leighton - Ofcom, Strategy and Policy
  • Meghna Tewari - Ofgem, Head of Retail Market Policy
  • Amit Kamal - Ofwat
  • Alison Fulford - Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN)
  • David Hinton - South East Water, CEO
  • Neil Ritchie - Scottish Government, Consumers and Low Carbon
  • Stephanie Anderson - Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN), Sustainability Team
  • Guilia Privitera - UK Power Networks (UKPN), Sustainability Stretegy Programme
  • Attricia Archer - UK Regulators Network, Director
  • Ron Loveland - Welsh Government, Energy Advisor
  • Dan Green - Wessex Water, Head of Sustainability and Innovation
  • Alison Sleightholm - WPD, Resources and External Affairs Director 

Latest Project Publications