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Veolia at the Convergences World Forum: "Integrating sustainable development into overall performance"

A few weeks before the COP22 in Marrakech, the Convergences World Forum has devoted its 9th edition to the theme "towards sustainable cities and territories". Veolia’s Director of Sustainable Development, Pierre Victoria, presented the Group's commitments during the conference: "Integrating sustainable development: what are the impacts on companies’ business models?"


Integrating social and environmental performance in the overall performance of the company

In a context of scarce resources and climate change, the world faces a major challenge: ensuring everyone’s right to access essential services. Inequality of access makes weakened populations even more vulnerable to environmental shocks, flooding and water stress. The United Nations sustainable development goals and the Paris Climate Agreement highlighted this link between weakened ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity and poverty. Veolia develops solutions that help increase access to resources, as well as protecting and renewing them. The Group’s mission is “resourcing the world”, a mission that is reflected through its 9 commitments for sustainable development and 12 targets for 2020. As a continuation of these commitments, in June Veolia launched its Environmental Objectives Plan 2016-2018, which sets clear targets for environmental conservation on the basis of six major themes. Veolia thereby incorporates its social and environmental performance into the company’s overall performance.


A dialogue with stakeholders for more sustainable development

The legitimacy of a company in producing, selling and growing its business increasingly depends on the way it dialogues with all its stakeholders. This dialogue involves them in identifying, understanding and responding to sustainability problems. At Veolia, the Critical Friends committee, composed of people from associative, institutional and academic worlds, question the company about the goals it sets itself, outside the restricted circle of customers, shareholders and employees. In the United Kingdom, Veolia brought together 4000 people eager to learn more about waste management and recycling. This initiative enabled the Group to receive the Responsible Business Award from BITC (Business in the Community) in the environment category.

"To integrate sustainable development into the company’s business model, tensions exist - firstly between a movement of financialization, seeking profit and social legitimacy, and secondly between the short and the long term. The inclusion of social and environmental performance in the company’s overall performance addresses these issues. This means reviewing the role that stakeholders should play and promoting a "sustainable" relationship with the territories," concluded Pierre Victoria.

Veolia’s 9 engagements for sustainable development and its targets for 2020

  1. Sustainably manage natural resources by supporting the circular economy: we aim to achieve revenue of over 3.8 billion euros in related to the circular economy by 2020.
  2. Contribute to combating climate change: three targets for 2020. Achieving 60% on the methane capture rate in landfills, a total of one 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions reduced, and 50 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided over the period 2015-2020 through Veolia solutions.
  3. Conserve and restore biodiversity: the 2020 target is to complete a diagnosis and implement an action plan on 100% of the sites identified by Veolia as having major biodiversity issues.
  4. Build new models for relations and value creation with our stakeholders: our 2020 target is to have entered into a major partnership based on value creation in each of the Group’s zones and growth segments.
  5. Contribute to local development: maintain the percentage of our spending reinvested in the territories above 80%.
  6. Supply and maintain services crucial to health and human development: we contributed to the millennium development goals. The 2020 target for this commitment will be based on the best indicators.
  7. Guarantee a healthy and safe working environment: signatory to the Seoul Convention with the International Labor Office, our 2020 target is 6.5 compared to the 11.7 world average.
  8. Encourage the professional development and commitment of each employee: 75% of our employees in the skills development process. Setting up a commitment indicator for 5000 managers worldwide.
  9. Guarantee respect for diversity and human and fundamental social rights within the company: this indicator covers the fact that there is a space for social dialogue on labor issues, as well as the existence of signed collective agreements for employees.



> The Convergences World Forum 
> Veolia’s climate blog “Commitments that make the difference” by Pierre Victoria