Protecting resources and the environment results from the combined actions of a large number of stakeholders, and requires solutions appropriate to the specific requirements of each region and its consumers.
The relevance of the new offers proposed by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is based on the Group’s ability to listen and to foster dialog. This conviction led to the setting-up of an ambitious consultation process over 10 years ago. It is now moving on to involve its customers and partners, including companies, voluntary organizations, and research bodies, in the co-construction of operating solutions and the co-management of their implementation. No technical solution could really work without its creators and beneficiaries buying into it. Therefore, the development of new services requires cooperative measures by local authorities and their operators alongside stakeholders, leaseholders, and consumers.
Informing, interacting, and co-constructing with all stakeholders involved in a topic, a project, or a new service: it is the method that SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT develops throughout the Group and adjusts to each local situation.
The types of dialog and co-construction are very diverse, like the measures they induce. Furthermore, the Internet is an increasingly popular way of encouraging this interaction. At the subsidiary level, Lyonnaise des Eaux published in November 2013 a new Water Briefing entitled “Water, science and technology: what are the innovations for sustainable water management?”. This process, which resulted from the New Ideas on Water Discussion Forum chaired by Luc Ferry, enabled to redesign the subsidiary’s innovation policy so as to meet stakeholders’ expectations more accurately. Meanwhile, Degrémont continued to roll out the Stakeholder Toolkit developed by the Group, including in Mexico. This methodology identifies and assesses the challenges faced by subsidiaries and stakeholders involved, to create a genuine policy which encourages local dialog. Lyonnaise des Eaux has also introduced the Toolkit in Martinique, as well as at the Dôle and Lyon facilities. In France, the number of proposals that require stakeholder dialog systems incorporated in tender offers has increased significantly. Customer relations management teams also began to use these methods in 2013 to co-construct new services with consumers.
At the Group level, after discussing its 2012-2016 Roadmap with a panel of 16 stakeholders in late 2012, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT carried out in 2013 an in-depth assessment of the stakeholder sessions’ results. These meetings, organized under the leadership of the Comité 21 since 2007, have associated 97 organizations to the review of the Group’s sustainable development strategy. Eight sessions were held in Paris and New York. This dialog resulted in tangible measures, such as the setting up of the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Initiatives Fund or also to the issuance of the Ethics Charter. It also contributed to changing the Group’s approach to the governance of its contracts by accompanying the development of new types of contracts like Alliance in Australia (Melbourne and Adelaide), management contracts in Algiers, as well as the corporate governance charters introduced by Lyonnaise des Eaux. The assessment conducted with the Comité 21 also underlined the process limitations, like the lowlevel of social partners’ involvement or the lack of balance in the discussions, to the detriment of the Waste sector. It also highlighted the need to strengthen coordination between this process and the interactive initiatives launched by the subsidiaries and the Group’s various governance bodies. This assessment has been presented to the Board of Directors’ Ethics and Sustainable Development Committee, and constitutes the starting point for the overhaul of the dialog system at the corporate level. It includes the reform of the Foresight Advisory Council which is the panel of independent experts who support the Group.
SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT’s activities are progressively falling into new types of contracts, particularly in Australia with the Alliance model in Perth and Adelaide. These public-private partnerships are based on shared governance and management through structures that bring together representatives from each of the contractual parties: private operators and the state water utility. This type of contract also provides for the sharing of risks and benefits between the operator and the customer. This type of partnership, based on an ongoing process of co-development, fosters a shared, long-term vision and an equal access to skills and techniques.
Since 2012, the Lyonnaise des Eaux Regional Rhône Alpes Auvergne Company has tested a “Design Thinking” approach with its local authority customers. This method which consists of making new products and services emerges from the expectations and behaviors of service users. First, the team of designers gathered the reactions and expectations of the residents and stakeholders of a district regarding the issue of “Water, Nature, and the City of Tomorrow.” Following this consultation process, and with no prior censorship, the team tested around 20 service proposals on a panel made up of experts, elected local officials, regional department managers, as well as heads of voluntary organizations, economic operators, and residents from the entire region. Following this trial stage related to the projects’ social acceptability, about 10 of them were investigated by Lyonnaise des Eaux experts. Six projects resulting from this initiative are currently being turned into service offers in areas as varied as the promotion of urban biodiversity, the management of the total water cycle, water in the city landscape, and the promotion of eco-citizenship.
SITA Australia has created a new program known as “SITA Community Grants” in order to structure its support to social inclusion initiatives. This program, which was launched in October 2013, provides local voluntary organizations with a single platform for their funding requests. It is aimed at allocating available funds in a fairer and more transparent manner. Donations are made twice a year and range between AUD 500 and 5,000. They are intended to support local activities as well as citizens involvment in local, social or environmental projects that have a positive impact on sustainable development. The first call for financing closed on January 31, 2014, and the projects selected were announced in March.