LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Integrated into its strategy, SUEZ environnement’s Sustainable Development & CSR policy has been structured around two purposes since the early 2000s: helping to implement solutions to meet the challenges of the modern world, on the other. This contribution made by sustainable development to the commercial offer is speeding up in 2015, and bears witness to the structural transformation of our model seeking to create economic value which is also social and environmental. Several examples demonstrate this.
The sober management of resources is at the core of our Sustainable City solutions. It meets the demands of inhabitants and their representatives, because it allows them to generate savings while bringing environmental quality, and thus quality of life. This is a very important factor of attractiveness for cities, which are tending to benchmark each other more and more. The presentation of solutions of this type outside France, in the context of the Vivapolis initiative, showed the relevance of an approach that we will roll out on a larger scale in 2015.
Another example is the inclusion in our offers of modules focusing on access to water, particularly in cities of the South, which include mechanisms for dialogue with stakeholders to determine solutions suitable for slums, along with specific water pricing systems.
In 2015, we will also speed up the implementation of solutions designed to combat climate deregulation: material, energy and biological recovery will contribute to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the value chain. They are part of the circular economy model, which allows economic growth to be divorced from the consumption of raw materials. Obviously, the structural introduction of this model will take time because it is complex and challenges many of the basics of the traditional economy: it needs a multi-player approach, reliable and constant measuring of environmental and economic benefits, specific skills, and it requires the State to allow a genuine right to experimentation. Most of all, it will be all the more effective since carbon will have a price.
We are very active on this issue, alongside other companies: we have taken the initiative of forming a dedicated group on the theme of the circular economy within the AFEP (the French Association of Private-Sector Companies) and we have set up an in-house group to allow us to analyse our current experiences, particularly in China, on the basis of several carbon pricing scenarios.
The circular economy does not only concern our Waste activity, but also our Water activity. Reusing treated wastewater in industry and agriculture is one of the solutions that allows us to adapt to the consequences of climate deregulation, particularly in countries subject to water stress. We will continue to implement it on a large scale in 2015.
Such a transformation of our models must be supported by strong commitment from all our employees. Organised in the framework of our corporate project on the resource revolution, it will call for the introduction of several types of tools in 2015. Initially, employee engagement surveys will be made uniform, using a single frame of reference.
In addition, the reorganisation of our training policy will continue: it will be managed as closely as possible to employees’ needs, will put an emphasis on learning, will deal as much with our professional skills as the way in which we exercise them, and will make even more use of digital media. Meanwhile, our diversity policy will be strengthened, and meeting the targets with respect to the promotion of women will constitute one of the criteria for the variable portion of top management remuneration.
2015 will mark our entry not only into the resource revolution, but also into a process of materiality. At the end of 2014, following the recommendations of the Global Reporting Initiative and the IRCC (International Integrated Reporting Council), we launched a robust process to evaluate the relevance of our challenges with regard to their financial impact and their impact upon our employees and on society at large: to do this, more than 4,500 internal and external stakeholders are currently being consulted. We hope that this vast operation will enable us to make progress on several fronts: firstly, by refining our work on the input indicators that enable us to evaluate avoided costs and value created by CSR, thereby resulting in more integrated reporting; then, by making our Roadmap evolve, so that it takes account of other new challenges; and, finally, by drawing all the conclusions (new structures for dialogue, adjustment of action plans, launch of new policies, etc.) from the results of quantitative consultations with our stakeholders. In particular, our materiality assessment will enable us to start providing answers to numerous dilemmas inherent in the challenges of modernity: future conflicts between different uses of water (industrial, agricultural, domestic); the need to link the development of smart technologies to the protection of data; the dilemma between the aim of improving environmental quality, which often entails energy consumption, and the climate target; the dilemma between the economic medium term and the need to be in a trajectory implying long-term targets to remain within a 2-degree scenario.
In line with our tradition of dialogue, it is with our stakeholders that we will analyse these dilemmas. To resolve them, they must first be put on the table and discussed.