Review and outlook

The full publication of the Sustainable Development Roadmap’s results, as well as the results of the CSR reporting that underpin the Roadmap, provides a complete picture of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT’s non-financial value and of the progress it has made in integrating sustainability into the Group’s overall strategy.

In 2014, in line with the recommendations of GRI G4 and the IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council), we will pursue these efforts towards increasingly integrated reporting, determining the issues with our stakeholders as we have done for several years now and testing materiality to build a reporting system that covers all factors influencing our ability to create value over the long term.

In addition, the results of the first year of the new 2012-2016 Roadmap confirm the relevance of the approach we have chosen, namely to structure our Sustainable Development Policy around dated and quantified targets. This strategy helps to unite all Group entities and to manage improvement actions by integrating the processes into the managerial systems. In this way it acts as a motivator, fine-tuning action plans to obtain reasonable assurance of achieving our 2016 targets and thus of meeting new environmental, social, and societal challenges.

Global warming is foremost among these challenges. In this regard, the second report of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued on March 31 of this year, details again the full extent of the progress to be made but this is expressed this time in the form or a warning. For several years now, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has been organizing its activities to offer solutions for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to the effects of climate change. In fact, this is the whole point of material and energy recovery that are transforming Waste activities in Europe. It is also the main objective of Water activities, which develop solutions to manage consumption, increase the amount of water available and, through smart technology, strengthen the resilience of cities in the face of climate hazards. In 2014, we will continue in this direction while aiming also for further advances in the energy efficiency and performance of our own industrial processes: generating power on-site, connecting facilities to heat and gas networks, protecting and restoring biodiversity, and so on in the perspective of the United Nations COP21 climate conference. Our ambition is to stimulate innovation around climate challenges and to offer our customers both local authorities and industrials, solutions to help them improve their environmental performance while adapting to resource scarcity.

Global warming makes it even more urgent to strengthen policies intending to provide a growing number of people access to water under acceptable economic terms in both developing and developed countries. Here again, there are answers, whether in the form of progressive social tariffs or developing countries solutions, to ensure that even informal settlements can be connected to the network and have a consistent supply of drinking water. But it will also be necessary in the coming years to experiment on a much larger scale, to strengthen our commitments on these issues, and to improve their traceability; this will be our focus as of 2014.

Meanwhile resource scarcity, as well as resource protection, is driving changes in economic models – whether in the context of a circular economy or the remuneration of environmental performance. Everything incites us to think differently and to invent models capable of distributing created value between multiple stakeholders, placing a value on external factors, such as those related to services rendered by ecosystems, or accounting for value in use. On these issues, we are only at the beginning of a profound transformation, which requires mobilizing research, and will call on economists’ expertise and, in collaboration with industry and local authorities, experimentation with new solutions in France and abroad. These new models, e.g., “local loops” of the circular economy, which, by supporting initiatives such as Vivapolis(1), will meet the needs of a New City: one that is resilient, intelligent, serious about resource management, and able to provide water, sanitation, and waste services to a growing number of urban dwellers, all in the context of a more participatory governance.

Finally – and this is one of our major concerns in 2014 – we will drive these changes in a spirit of collective intelligence, giving our employees the means to adapt to changes, attracting talent from diverse backgrounds, and reinvigorating our stakeholder dialog forums. These efforts will apply to all levels: corporate, contractual, customer (industry and local authorities), and consumer, for it is with them that we will build tomorrow’s services. By listening to their concerns, we will make progress; we will devote all of our efforts to achieving our targets for 2016.

(1) – VIVAPOLIS is the umbrella brand that brings together French public and private stakeholders to promote sustainable urban development at the international level.