Dialogue

WATER AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT CHALLENGES ARE BECOMING MORE COMPLEX, BOTH IN FRANCE AND WORLDWIDE. THESE DEMAND IN-DEPTH THINKING, SHARED WITH ALL OUR STAKEHOLDERS. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT IS CONVINCED THAT PARTNERSHIPS ARE ESSENTIAL TO BUILD SOLUTIONS FOR TOMORROW. DETAILED REVIEW OF SOME EMBLEMATIC INITIATIVES.

 THE FORESIGHT ADVISORY COUNCIL (FAC): ANTICIPATING TOMORROW’S CHALLENGES

Further developing SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT’s strategy in relation to major environmental and societal challenges is the mission of the FAC, or Foresight Advisory Council, created in 2004. A consultative body bringing together 25 international personalities from various backgrounds –university lecturers, representatives of associations, senior officials, former members of governments, company directors, etc.– whose mission is to challenge the directors of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT.

Twice a year, the members of the FAC freely debate our strategic alignments, our positioning and our initiatives. They then draft their recommendations. “The company will table its vision for changes to its business, its projects and certain situations that it has to confront. However, if one of the experts wants to discuss a particular point, or if a subject has concerned him, he has complete freedom to place it on the FAC’s agenda”, explains Margaret Catley Carlson, Chair of the FAC and Honorary President of the Global Water Partnership.

The main virtue of the FAC’s meetings are that they force us to think globally and to give better consideration to human and societal imperatives, as well as technical and economic aspects.

 

”PLATFORMS” TO SHARE AND BUILD: STAKEHOLDER SESSIONS1

Since 2007, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has been engaged in a consultation process through stakeholder sessions, which bring together NGOs, elected members and experts side by side with the company’s employees. The moderator, Comité 21, is a recognised player on social responsibility issues. 

The objective of these sessions? To build our development by producing solutions jointly with our stakeholders; we are convinced that our strategy will be fuelled by the “confrontation” of approaches and ideas. 

Several times a year, stakeholder sessions are opportune moments for exchange. The responsibilities and methods of intervention of the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT “Water for All” Foundation, housed by the Institut de France, have thereby been defined through this joint work.

1 Multi-stakeholder consultation sessions.

THE VIEWPOINT OF

KENNETH A. CAPLAN, DIRECTOR BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS FOR DEVELOPMENT IN WATER AND SANITATION (BDP), AND PARTICIPATOR IN STAKEHOLDER SESSIONS

“BPD Water and Sanitation is convinced that forging constructive and permanent dialogue is one of the pre-requisites to resolving the enormous challenge of water and sanitation provision. From over 10 years of work with practitioners and policymakers involved in water and sanitation service delivery, BPD brings a wealth of expertise and experience of stakeholder relationships to support more tailored responses to challenges of service delivery”.

 

“NEW IDEAS FOR WATER”: CITIZEN-CONSUMERS,PARTIES IN THE DEBATE

With “New Ideas on Water”, a dialogue program initiated by Lyonnaise des Eaux, a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, a new threshold was crossed in 2010: that of direct involvement of citizen-consumers in the debate on water management. 

This is because the future of water must be written taking into account the views of all those who use it.

In the face of multiple challenges –quantitative and qualitative protection of water resources, interrogations on the role of private operators, new consumer expectations– “New Ideas for Water” aims to stimulate dialogue with all the company’s customers by using a variety of tools:

    • on the Internet, the idéesneuvessurleau.net platform has been visited by 100,000 web users, with contributions fundamentally covering the topic of protection of resources and water in the home,
    • in parallel, expert forums were organized covering two topics: “The Value and Price of Water” and “Water, Science and Technology”.

Result: a positive outcome under two headings:

    • “New Ideas for Water” provided the opportunity for a shared diagnosis, from which Lyonnaise des Eaux met its customers during regional forums, then prepared new offers and realigned its research and development progra ms,
    • at the same time, it contributed to establishing a new way of working, one of innovating and designing; in short, a different way of being.

THE VIEWPOINT OF

ERIK ORSENNA, HONORARY COUNCILLOR OF STATE, ECONOMIST, WRITER AND MEMBER OF THE ACADÉMIE FRANÇAISE

“Water is fascinating. Who can argue with that? There is only one water. No reality is more unique than water. Water is not only the primary and most necessary of all raw materials, because it is a sine qua non condition of life, water is the most faithful reflection of human communities. You tell me how you produce, process and price water and I will tell you which society you belong to. The New Ideas Forum on
water has opened up the debate to all stakeholders, regarding all the issues and all the beliefs”.

 

LOCAL DIALOGUE, A FACTOR FOR INTEGRATION INTO LOCAL AREAS

Another example of constructive dialogue, involves engaging with all stakeholders affected by a site location. A structured approach, which involves identifying spokesmen and local challenges and then imagining and bringing to life suitable dialogue arrangements.

At Jordan’s As Samra plant, the wastewater treatment plant built in a populated area encountered a few malfunctions when it first began operating, which caused inconvenience to local residents. The implementation of technical responses was accompanied by the creation of an Environmental Committee, on which representatives of civil society and the civil authorities were included. Its monthly meetings allowed local residents, craftsmen and farmers to put their point of view forward and to work together to find suitable solutions for the problems which may have been encountered. Another method for integration: site visits organized for schoolchildren and university students.

In Mexico, in Aguakan, the Eaux de Cancun company, which counts SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and Grupo Mexicano de Desarollo among its partners, is undertaking a variety of local actions –site visits, events organized jointly with NGOs and local authorities– which have strengthened the relationship between the operator and other local players.