LH Forum: for Veolia, "the urgency of the ecological transition demands greater territorial solidarity from businesses"

The positive economy forum held in Le Havre (France), from 26 to 28 September, brought together well-known figures and citizens around the theme: "How to accelerate the transformation of the territories towards better consideration of the interests of future generations?" Pierre Victoria, Veolia's Director of Sustainable Development, spoke at the round table about "the urgency of the ecological transition for the territories". 


What's new is the urgency. People returning from the UN Climate Week are convinced of it. And it is in the territories that the climate and energy transition battle will be won or lost; as a local service manager for industrial customers and local authorities, this is Veolia’s belief.
Pierre victoria

Veolia already provides solutions to these challenges in almost 50 countries, notably through its ability to create local circular economy loops by transforming waste into a resource – either as energy or a secondary material - and wastewater into a source of energy or for irrigation.

Some examples: 

-In Eastern Europe, Veolia supports a number of local authorities by focusing on biomass or methane, which is more respectful of resources.
-In France, Le Havre: the Sedibex site operated by Veolia uses hazardous industrial waste from the port area as an energy resource: 8 Gwh of electricity and 300,000 tonnes of steam per year are sold to 5 industrial sites, which means 120,000 t of CO2 avoided. The CO2 emitted by the flues is captured and recovered in gaseous form.
And the Osilub plant – a Veolia and Total Lubricants subsidiary - recycles used motor oils to make good quality engine oil (in France, only 50% of motor oils are recovered, half of which abroad).


The ecological urgency also demands greater territorial solidarity from businesses

For Pierre Victoria, the urgency of the situation brushes aside conservatism and old habits. A new approach is needed: we have to reconnect the different services in territorial organizations, public and private companies, and remove the barriers in relations with the people. The challenge for the territories is connecting the need for resources with producers of secondary raw materials.

Since December 2018, 19 major companies, including Veolia, have taken a stand for more inclusive businesses. They advocate social and territorial responsibility, which manifests itself not only in local recruitment, training and purchasing, but also in the role of wealth distributor. These companies accept the link between social responsibility and territorial cohesion.

In order to better exercise their territorial responsibility, large companies advocate: 

  • reporting on their actions that have a territorial impact
  • managing the impacts of reorganizations
  • participating in competitiveness clusters
  • promoting employee participation in local life
  • structuring the training offer to promote employability
  • supporting mobility for employees and their spouses
  • promoting teleworking with decentralized working communities
  • standardizing methods for measuring territorial impact
  • making internal training structures available to SMEs 
  • experimenting with exchanges with SMEs in a given territory

"A company's territorial solidarity will be measured by its role as a wealth distributor and a training provider, and by its cooperation with its supply chain and the local ecosystem," concluded Pierre Victoria.



Circular cities: creating local loops to generate local value
LH Forum - Institut de l’Économie Positive