Ethics committee

Ethics is a cornerstone of Veolia's approach. The company introduced its own Ethics Guide in 2004 to provide a point of reference for all employees.

Like at all other organizations today, Ethics is an issue of major importance for Veolia. Its reputation, image and cohesion depend to a great extent on its ability to act in accordance with its fundamental values: responsibility, community spirit, respect, innovation and customer focus.
Combined with our Purpose, these values embody Veolia’s identity and form the cornerstone of our economic, social and environmental performance.
Formalized in the Ethics Guide, our values provide Veolia employees throughout the world, regardless of their specific culture, with a shared frame of reference. The Ethics Guide therefore acts as a barometer and a benchmark for ethical conduct on a daily basis.
Veolia has entrusted the observance of its Ethics Guide to a body that is independent of its management, the Ethics Committee. Employees or third parties may refer to the Ethics Committee whenever they believe the Group’s values have been violated using a single whistleblowing system: Veolia’s ethics alert system (Whispli) . This system guarantees the highest standard of protection for both the whistleblower and the person implicated by the alert.
The Ethics Committee can also deal with any ethical matters that might merit its attention; it may take any action that it deems will foster the development of a culture of ethics at the company.
To do so, it works closely with the Compliance Department, which possesses the specific tools required to process any breaches of business ethics related to laws and international treaties, as well as serious violations of human and labor rights.
However, as ethics is everybody’s business, the Committee also strives to raise awareness of this crucial issue at all of the Group’s functional departments.

The Chairman of the Ethics Committee

Ethics and compliance: A clear name to match a clear aim

Veolia chose to produce an ethics guide rather than a code to reinforce an internal ethics culture based on shared values that reflect its Purpose. As part of the responsible approach adopted by Veolia, employees are asked to abide by these values, which means they first need to be aware of, understand and buy into them. Not only do our shared values provide guidance for the way employees should conduct themselves day to day, they also strengthen cohesion in a global company whose employees come from different cultures.

Furthermore, the Ethics Guide clearly explains what ethics and compliance actually mean. The guide illustrates our values by referring to behavior that, by its nature (compliance with laws, corruption, influence peddling, etc.), falls under the scope of compliance—in other words, compliance is rooted in our values. The Ethics Guide clarifies a point that often causes confusion for organizations and individuals alike, explaining that compliance forms an integral part of ethics, albeit a distinct subset that requires its own specially tailored approach. Situating compliance as a component of ethics helps ensure employees focus more on understanding the spirit of the law rather than merely obeying the letter of the law.

It therefore appeared logical to set up a single whistleblowing system for both ethics and compliance. The Veolia whistleblowing system is overseen by the Ethics Committee, an independent body that is responsible for communicating any compliance-related red flags to the Compliance Department. Designed to meet the requirements of French public order legislation, which has extraterritorial scope, the system should only be used by whistleblowers when they have not received a satisfactory response from the standard hierarchical reporting system or they deem it inappropriate to go through that channel.

The Chairman of the Ethics Committee
September 6, 2021.

A secure digital platform to improve use of the alert mechanism

In order to improve the use of the "Veolia Ethics Alert" mechanism and take into account the most recent legal and regulatory changes covering its activities worldwide, the Group has set up an ethics alert mechanism that is now accessible to third parties.

Veolia employees and third parties can confidentially contact the Ethics Committee using either the direct access provided here or via their One To One intranet.

If you identify a breach of ethics, you can now directly and confidentially refer the matter to the Ethics Committee via a single link by clicking below:

You can access this system anytime, anywhere in the world and from any computer, tablet or smartphone. It is available in more than twenty languages. Easy to use, it guarantees the confidentiality of exchanges between the Ethics Committee and the reporter, as well as their anonymity if they so choose.

The alert can also be sent orally, in the whistleblower's language, by using a local telephone line that redirects to the platform. This device, present in 23 countries, will gradually be extended.

The Veolia Ethics Alert is a tool made available by the Group that ensures everyone is able to exercise their right to alert.

An ethics alert mechanism is a right.