Transparency

LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND INDUSTRIAL CUSTOMERS, CONSUMERS AND CITIZENS, ARE EXPRESSING THEIR GROWING EXPECTATIONS FOR TRANSPARENCY. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT IS ENDEAVOURING TO MEET THESE ASPIRATIONS THROUGH AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO INFORMATION SHARING AND METHODS OF GOVERNANCE. THIS APPROACH FAVOURS CONTINUOUS PROGRESSION, EACH MOVE FORWARD CALLING FOR NEW DEMANDS.

 MAKING SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS AND REPORTS

As a company dedicated to two essential services –water and waste– SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is at the heart of global issues: contributing to the health and well-being of a booming population, working for economic growth while preserving natural resources, designing more economic production methods and protecting ecosystems. Fully aware of our responsibility, in 2008 we defined 12 specific commitments, in line with precise objectives, which form the backbone of the company’s sustainable development policy. For example, over a 4-year period, we are committed to saving the equivalent water consumption of a French city with a population of 700,000. The results, audited by Ernst & Young, are published annually in the Sustainable Development report. As an illustration of the progress made and the transparency of its non-financial communication, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is today referenced in the four great benchmark indices of socially responsible companies, these being the FTSE4Good, the DJSI World & Europe, the ASPI Eurozone and the Ethibel indices.

As professionals, a similarly committed approach to our results prevails in our local actions on a daily basis, whether this concerns water quality, environmental efficiency or continuity of service, including in a crisis situation.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, the management contract for operating Jeddah’s water supply and wastewater treatment services is based on clearly defined performance targets, associated with incentive and penalty measures linked to the application of 18 key performance indicators verified by an independent auditor.

 

IMAGINING NEW CONTRACTUAL MODELS

In our contractual relationships, transparency also applies to new data sharing systems: the SEVE system accordingly gives the customer community access to the Lyonnaise des Eaux operating system. It also drives us towards renewed methods of governance, with a new sharing of the roles between public power and private operator.

This is the case, for example, for the water and wastewater treatment services, in Adelaide, Australia, where the “Alliance” contract is the result of a co-construction process involving the customer and the operator. Based on openness, trust, and shared interests, this contract provides for the sharing of risks and profits between the two parties and a joint decision process for all key issues.

THE VIEWPOINT OF

ROB DOWLING, HEAD OF OPERATIONS OF SA WATER

“15 years ago when we started the previous contract, there was no desalination plant, there was significantly less complexity within the metropolitan Adelaide water distribution network, we were not facing the introduction of an economic regulator, there was perhaps less media scrutiny over our every activity and those things weren’t even thought of back then. The need for a far greater flexible contractual framework for the management of metropolitan Adelaide is now required and the “Alliance” model gives us that flexibility to work cooperatively with Allwater to ensure that we come up with the best solutions, the most innovative solutions in a flexible way to deliver water and wastewater services to Adelaide”.

 MAKING INFORMATION MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR CONSUMERS

As far as consumers are concerned, transparency is all about what they are reading. The new water bill puts Lyonnaise des Eaux’s commitment into words. The bill is more educational and more detailed, clearly explaining what the price paid for water is, and it can also be printed in Braille to make the information accessible to blind and visually impaired customers.

 

ETHICS AND GOVERNANCE

Our commitment in favour of greater transparency is also articulated through a proactive ethics policy. Our principles are based on strong values and high standards, formalised in a number of codes among which are SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT’s “Ethical Charter” and “Ethical Practices”. Our system of governance oversees the Group’s ethical policy, which is monitored by the Ethics and Sustainable Development Committee and the network of compliance officers. Our corporate values are also expressed through membership of the United Nations’ Global Compact, the Water Integrity Network and Transparency International.
Furthermore, we are convinced that civil society has an increasing role to play to improve the quality of governance in our businesses. These businesses that connect with the population resonate with changes in society and the desire for more participatory democracy. The integration of representatives from civil society onto Boards of Directors or Committees of Governance for our contracts should undoubtedly be a future policy, and this is already the case in France(for the Eaux de Normandie company), and Spain.