We have developed a social engineering tool called ACCESS. This can be applied to all our business lines. It incorporates financial technical and legal innovations as well as new ideas for marketing and communication. ACCESS has 10 levers spread across three domains: technical, financial and institutional engineering, social engineering and customer relationships.
Innovation lies at the heart of everything we do. Our innovations are not driven by technology alone, they are also responses to social or contractual issues we may face. We use our ability to offer innovative contracts to help our municipal clients meet the ever-growing number of new demands they have to deal with: guaranteed access to quality services, saving natural resources (water and energy), waste recovery and reducing ecological footprints, and taking account of social factors such as solidarity and employment.
For example, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the solutions we have provided over the past decade (social pricing, mobile agencies, network of over 1,000 community leaders and awareness-raising programs) have led to a 60% improvement in rates of access to water, bringing it to levels comparable with those in developed economies. In 2018, Veolia launched a special project designed to facilitate access to water for the 120,000 people living in Monte Sinai, an informal settlement not supplied by the municipal service. We set up a mobile water distribution system called Aguas del Sinaí. Tanker trucks make regular rounds and a GPS system means residents’ needs are better served and deliveries are more punctual. The price of water has fallen to 75 US cents for 250 liters, a 25% reduction. A new water delivery station is under construction, enabling other transporters to serve the neighborhood as it will cut their costs and journey times. A solution that guarantees access to services for all, so that everyone wins. The result is that 97% of residents have access to drinking water services and 86% access to wastewater services.
Another example, 50 kilometers from Dhaka in Bangladesh, is Grameen Veolia Water, a joint venture established 10 years ago by Grameen Health Care and Veolia. It provides drinking water to over 8,500 people living in the remote villages of Goalmari and Padua, in an area where groundwater is naturally high in arsenic. A 17-kilometer distribution network serves 330 homes, three schools, and 53 water supply points. Drinking water is also sold in 20-liter containers to 300 local businesses. The business model and social innovations developed for this project make it a unique testbed for ideas that will be deployed more widely in the years ahead.