On September 25, 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) for 2030. These new universal and global goals have led Veolia to review its contribution to the international community’s sustainable development agenda.
Universal and inclusive SDGs
The SDGs came into force on January 1, 2016. They concern all countries and aim to build open and peaceful societies, create better jobs and take up the environmental challenges facing us, especially fighting climate change. They are an invitation for everyone – public and private stakeholders, civil society organizations and citizens – to become engaged by providing a shared frame of reference for sustainable development issues at the planetary level. Today, companies are seen as key partners whose skills, capacity for innovation and expertise are leveraged to build a more sustainable and prosperous world (see box). The 17 SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that mobilized the entire world between 2000 and 2015 behind a common program for developing countries. Under the MDGs, Veolia contributed to improving access to drinking water for 6.5 million people in developing and emerging countries and connected more than 3 million people to sanitation systems.
In 2015, Veolia confirmed its position as a socially responsible stakeholder through its 2020 commitments to sustainable development. One of the company’s nine commitments directly concerns its involvement in the SDGs: “Provide and maintain services essential for health and human development” with the 2020 aim of “contributing to the sustainable development goals as defined by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.” An analysis has been conducted to determine Veolia’s contribution to the SDGs by comparing them to the company’s sustainable development commitments and to the revenue generated by all its businesses and in all its markets, and by collecting the opinions of a panel of internal and external experts. This work shows that the company is concerned by all the SDGs, which fits in with its own commitments. It confirms Veolia’s position as a stakeholder in the sustainable city (SDG 11), in particular through its management of basic services such as water and sanitation (SDG 6), energy (SDG 7) and cleanliness.
In the view of Veolia’s partners and the various survey groups, Veolia’s relations with its stakeholders (SDG 17) and its capacity for innovation (SDG 9) are fundamental aspects of its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.