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World Forum for a Responsible Economy in Lille: Veolia is campaigning for the “collaborative enterprise”

The 10th World Forum for a Responsible Economy is taking place in Lille from 10 to 14 October. On the theme of "Companies, what purpose do they serve?", this year it explores the role of companies in society. This morning Veolia Chairman and CEO Antoine Frérot delivered a speech during the event’s opening session.

Creating social value 

In a rapidly changing world where growth and prosperity are redistributed, companies must create economic value but also be useful to their stakeholders and prepare the long term.


"The wealth that companies create is acceptable only if they produce social value by helping to address social challenges such as fighting poverty, protecting the environment or training young people that have no qualifications," explained Antoine Frérot, before concluding: "This is because a company is useful when it is prosperous. Not the opposite."

For example, Veolia established a partnership with the ELISE network of social employment companies, leader in recycling office paper in France, which made it possible to create 300 jobs for people excluded from work or with disabilities.

Another example can be found in fighting greenhouse gas emissions: in favour of the introduction of a carbon price, the Group already decides on its own investment projects by charging an internal price for each tonne of CO2 consumed .

Collaborating with stakeholders creates more wealth

Companies only develop harmoniously if the interest for all stakeholders is in proportion to their commitment: "Companies must build the best possible balance between customers, employees, shareholders, civil society, territories, start-ups, etc., by weighting the search for the economic optimum with that of a corporate and social optimum," said Antoine Frérot.

Building a responsible economy is win-win for everyone 

"The usefulness of a company precedes and feeds its economic performance. Services related to water, waste or energy management redistribute wealth when they respond to the different demands of their stakeholders. The long history of Veolia, which was set up 160 years ago to bring safe water to urban populations, teaches us that in the long term solutions for the common good are the best ones," concluded Antoine Frérot.

>Veolia’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) 
>World Forum for a Responsible Economy