“+1, the ecology turned into actions” is a consultation prototype involving fifty Veolia stakeholders from various backgrounds (Employees, Clients, Shareholders, Society, Planet) that aims to find a common path towards ecological transformation.
We are convinced that companies must reinvent their place in society and that in order to do so they need to explain the nature of their contribution to a broader ecosystem of stakeholders. Companies are now expected to be real forces for reinvention in a shared world. This requires them to build new interfaces with society: new ways of watching and listening, new methods of relating to others, new ways of contributing to their surrounding context. It is this shared continual improvement approach, with and for all of its stakeholders that enables a company to be useful and therefore to prosper.
It is in this context that the “+1, the ecology turned into actions” scheme was conceived, initiated in 2021 by Veolia in partnership with Usbek & Rica and “La REcyclerie”, and supported by “Comité 21”.
• a collective of 50 representatives of Veolia stakeholders (Employees, Clients, Shareholders, Society, Planet) whose aim is to "get to know each other better in order to work better together", in a truly decompartmentalised way, with a view to implementing their ideal of the ecology turned into actions. The members of the “+1” collective, like the organisers themselves, were required to sign a charter of commitment specifying the roles and responsibilities of all concerned.
• a prototype for consultation with Veolia stakeholders, first created at the “La REcyclerie” in Paris, and which will subsequently be deployed more widely in other geographical regions and contexts by Veolia or other players who take their inspiration from this model.
“+1” was conceived as a journey organised around several working sessions, with, for each session:
- a specific work topic;
- an opening keynote speech, representing a time for inspiration, reflection and exploration of the challenges of the topic to be addressed,
- a collective intelligence workshop divided into sub-groups, mixing the five categories of stakeholders, to propose practical actions with a significant, positive impact to be implemented in the interest of the greatest number.
Full transparency of the system before, during and after the sessions: all the resources are mobilised and all the results are shared.
This will ensure that, outside the working group of 50, everyone will be able to learn about the actions identified and take inspiration from them.
- A collective bringing together representatives of all the stakeholder categories of an organisation.
- A clearly defined issue related to the implementation of the ecological transformation.
- A course combining three phases:
→active listening to overcome ideological and hierarchical divisions, in order to go beyond one's own interests;
→prioritisating of actions and solutions to implement, useful and impactful, in the interest of all stakeholders;
→training to support the development of skills and to drive ecological transformation within organisations;
- A friendly meeting experience encouraging sincerity and commitment from the members of the collective, to establish relationships of trust (shared intentions, an agreeable location and atmosphere, a spirit of constructive dialogue, etc.).
- A willingness to apply and share this method within the organisation and with its stakeholders.
A PROVEN SYSTEM FROM 2021 THAT WILL BE REINFORCED IN 2022
In 2021, “+1, the ecology turned into actions” mobilised a collective of fifty Veolia stakeholders during three working sessions at “La REcyclerie” in Paris on the following themes: #1 Listening, #2 Deciding and #3 Training. Three essential steps to building sustainable stakeholder relationships in the cause of ecological transformation.
This joint dynamic for an ecology turned into actions is being strengthened and made operational in 2022 with a new program proposed to the collective, based on the challenges of opening up corporate governance to their stakeholders, and local variations of the system already being deployed both in France and internationally.
In order to support the implementation of this broader vision of the company and the deployment of solutions that are useful to the greatest number, Veolia is making the 2021 “+1” logbook and a deployment kit (coming soon) available in open source format to enable each participant interested in the approach (whether internally within Veolia, among the Group's stakeholders or more widely) to take it up and adapt it to their needs.
The ecological transformation represents a proactive and in-depth change in our methods of production and consumption in order to provide the solutions our societies need.
It is redolent of an ecology “on a human scale”, requiring the active participation of all (companies, associations, institutions, individual citizens, local authorities, etc.) to put into effect the changes required.
This is an intelligence that is revealed, valued and coordinated in real time, leading to the effective mobilization of skills. It is the set of processes and tools that enable us to overcome divisions and to debate with the aim of finding common solutions, with specific deliverables within a defined time frame. Collective intelligence implies information sharing, respect for common rules, numerous interactions and a benefit to everyone involved. In companies and organizations, where individuals with diverse profiles and sometimes different interests work together towards a common goal, the ability to implement collective intelligence tools has a direct impact on the success of projects and the overall performance of the company.
A sincere commitment on the part of participants and organisers
The 50 members of the “+1” collective, together with the organizers, are required to sign a charter of commitment which specifies the roles and responsibilities of all concerned.
To commit oneself to forming part of this collective represents an individual decision to join those men and women who wish to contribute to the construction of a desirable future. It also means doing so in a decompartmentalized way, with a panel of participants with sometimes divergent interests but who, together, wish to find a common path for an ecology turned into actions.
A WORD FROM “COMITÉ 21”: “The importance of dialogue with stakeholders”
Comité 21 was established nearly 30 years ago to promote dialogue between various stakeholders on societal issues, and particularly on the environment. Our 450 members, including companies, local authorities, associations, higher education institutions and citizens, share the conviction that, through multi-stakeholder dialogue, solutions can be found to the challenges we are currently facing. The desire for such dialogue is also becoming increasingly evident in our societies, as are the demands being made on companies. Ecological citizenship is evoked everywhere, including within companies, which are being called upon to open up their governance to stakeholders. Regulatory changes are also pushing them in this direction.
However, establishing dialogue requires a change in culture and an openness that cannot be improvised. It requires adapted methodologies and time. Through the think tank “Companies and Stakeholders: New Paths to Resilience and Governance” led by our organization with Des Enjeux et des Hommes in 2020 and 2021, in partnership with Veolia, we have developed solutions to help us move forward in this direction.* A new economy to serve the common good will be comprised of companies whose decisions are made in collaboration with the stakeholders concerned. The cultural and operational path is ambitious, which is why we have formulated 18 proposals for better integrating stakeholders into corporate governance.
The strategy proposed by the “+1” initiative of getting to know each other better in order to work together better, is an essential prerequisite for success in this regard. This approach makes companies more open to their entire ecosystem of stakeholders than the initiatives more commonly seen in businesses. Not all participants are selected, but some have expressed an interest in establishing a dialogue with companies, which must step out of their comfort zone and offer a new form of dialogue aimed at co-construction. This bold approach by companies will result in new alliances and the transformation of the economy.
* Comité 21 and Des Enjeux et des Hommes.
“International benchmark for stakeholder dialogue practices.” February 2021
“Promoting dialogue with stakeholders to improve resilience.” June 2021
“18 proposals for opening up corporate governance to a company’s stakeholders.” September 2021
Veolia aims to become the benchmark company for ecological transformation. Present on five continents, the Group designs and deploys useful, practical solutions for the management of water, waste and energy that are contributing to a radical turnaround of the current situation.
Usbek & Rica is an online magazine that explores, questions, sometimes affirms, but above all seeks to engage everyone in a process of forward-looking reflection on issues of identity, climate, governance and our relationship to technology.
How does it do this? By presenting a contributory medium of communication with a fresh vision, designed to be accessible to the many; by creating a forum for mutual aid that is free and open to all; by launching large citizens’ lotteries of ideas to test what form the future may take in real terms. If the debate of ideas is at the heart of Usbek & Rica, this is a medium that above all wishes to be useful and to be committed to active participation.
La REcyclerie is a converted train station in the Paris suburbs that was rehabilitated in 2014 as a meeting place for ecologically aware experimentation. It educates and mobilizes the wider public to the challenges and alternative solutions of a more responsible and sustainable society through an enjoyable, non-pressurising approach. This home of ecology for all combines a café/canteen, an urban farm, a repair workshop, a library and a programme of ecologically-aware cultural events.
Veolia has been its main partner since its opening.
Le Comité 21 is a French association for sustainable development which contributes to transforming society towards a sustainable model based on the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both a “think tank” and a “do tank”, Comité 21 is developing the networking of participants through its more than 400 members, and is creating the conditions for an effective partnership between the public authorities, the private sector and civil society.