The 22nd edition of the Rencontres Économiques d'Aix-en-Provence focussed on global transformation: climate crisis, pandemic, war in Europe, the world has changed dramatically and we need to think differently. Invited to the debate, Estelle Brachlianoff, CEO of Veolia, and Antoine Frérot, Chairman of the Board of the Group, shared their vision for "Imagining the public services of the future" and "Reconciling economics and politics".
“We are going to envisage the public service of the future with the territories”
For Estelle Brachlianoff, in the current context, we need to rebuild a bond of trust between citizens and their public services. It is a question of imagining access to public services as a vector of social cohesion. Veolia has been providing local services for 200 years, currently with 55,000 employees in France and millions of users who want an inclusive and high quality service.
Beyond innovation and digital technology, we are going to envisage the public services of the future with the territories. Reinventing public services means creating local jobs in the territories: for example, recycling plastic bottles generates 8 times more jobs than sending them to landfill. The future is now, let's roll out these solutions throughout all our territories,
explained Estelle Brachlianoff.
Digital solutions support rapidly evolving environmental standards: "When you put sensors to limit leaks in drinking water networks, it's good for the planet and it's good for users," she continued.
The CEO recalled that Veolia has the critical size to invent new service frontiers. The Group is using its expertise in Spain and Chile to reuse wastewater in order to cope with increasing water stress and to provide quality drinking water, for example in the Vendée region of France. Furthermore, Veolia is taking environmental matters further at its wastewater treatment plants by producing biogas, a green and local energy.
"In public services, we must also give power back to the people. Veolia call centre operators must have basic authority to be able to resolve a given situation. At Veolia, it is essential for our young employees to feel that they are making an impact at their level,"concluded Estelle Brachlianoff.
"We need to set broader goals for the business community"
The relationship between economists and policy makers can be complex. When questioned during the debate "Reconciling economics and politics", Antoine Frérot stated that the first step is to establish a political framework founded on public debate, and that economic stakeholders will then optimise their own actions within this framework.
In specific terms, for the environment, we need regulations that make it more expensive to pollute; economic stakeholders will then very quickly stop polluting
"I believe that we need to set broader goals for the business world than those that have been set for it in recent decades. For example, are companies expected to perform from a financial perspective only, or do we also have social and environmental performance expectations? So a multi-faceted performance that takes all stakeholders into account? The PACTE law in France changed this framework in 2019”, concluded Antoine Frérot.
Replay - Antoine Frérot in “Reconciling economics and politics”
Replay - Estelle Brachlianoff in “Imagining the public services of the future”
For more information
> The 22nd edition of the Rencontres Économiques d'Aix-en-Provence brought together 350 speakers across 61 conferences from 8 to 10 July
> Estelle Brachlianoff, new CEO of Veolia
> Our multifaceted performance