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What added value do you find in working with civil society to meet your CSR commitments, particularly in relation to access to drinking water and sanitation in both hemispheres?

Veolia has set itself the goal of “supplying and maintaining services that are essential to human health and development” as part of its sustainable development commitments. This goal is a result of our determination to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to collective efforts to provide access to sustainable services.

Since 2000, Veolia has provided 9.6 million people worldwide with access to drinking water and 4.4 million people with access to sanitation services. Since 2015, when the SDGs were set out, these figures amount to 3.9 million and 1.8 million people respectively.

By working with civil society and specialists in these issues, we can offer appropriate solutions and thus reach a much larger number of people.
For Veolia, this is the best way to roll out new types of collaborations that foster local development and offer innovative mechanisms for delivering access to essential services. Our collaborative approach takes the form of new partnerships, which are a great way to move from commitment to action.

Two examples:
Veolia joined the Toilet Board Coalition in 2018. This is a public-private partnership whose members are multinationals, NGOs, intergovernmental bodies and funding institutions, all focused on a single aim: sanitation for all. Access to sanitation is unquestionably a core challenge: 4.4 billion people, 60% of the global population, have no access to safely managed sanitation services according to a 2017 joint report from the WHO and UNICEF. The coalition seeks to promote innovative solutions for meeting this environmental and social challenge by fostering the emergence of entrepreneurial initiatives. Veolia is committed to working hard to help achieve a collective goal: making a major contribution to alleviating the sanitation crisis. Veolia and the Toilet Board Coalition are working to roll out decentralized solutions that can operate in addition to existing infrastructure, helping to increase access to toilets and improve the performance of centralized systems.

In developed economies, collaborating with civil society makes it possible to reduce water poverty by acting on a whole set of levers: excessive usage, indebtedness, poor housing conditions, rental disputes and evictions. In France, Veolia works with local social mediation organizations, such as is in the area served by Syndicat des Eaux d’Ile-de-France where we provide support for these organizations and have set up innovative partnerships with locally-based housing and social outreach actors: municipal and regional social service departments, health and housing services, public and private landlords, and nonprofits. This is all about teamwork between partners: Compagnons Bâtisseurs, Voisin Malin, Femmes Relais inter-cultural mediators and PIMMS (multi-utility customer service points).