Promoting access to water and sanitation

Today, more than one billion people still do not have access to drinking water and 2.6 billion live without sanitation. For many years, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has addressed the challenge of sustainable access to water and sanitation services and supported policy makers in achieving this goal.

Access to water and sanitation: a fundamental right

SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT strongly believes in the “human right to water and sanitation”, and welcomes the decision made by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 July 2010 to recognise access to drinking water and sanitation as being a fundamental human right.

The Group is also fully behind the Millennium Development Goals, a resolution adopted in September 2000 by the member states of the UN, which seeks among other things to halve the number of people without access to drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.  

As such, since 1990, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has worked towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals through its partnerships with local authorities, by working in the southern hemisphere to provide:

  • an additional 11.8 million people with access to drinking water
  • an additional 5.7 million people with access to sanitation

Contributing to the development of water and sanitation services

In the northern hemisphere as well as in the south, the Group is involved in facilitating access to water and sanitation for all: through the deployment of the Water For All programme, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has used its operational expertise in the implementation of innovative solutions, adapted to the particular regional situation and co-developed with the populations concerned and the local authorities.

  • In the northern hemisphere, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT offers to help its clients and partners to develop and implement social policies for access to water. An example of this would be the implementation in the city of Libourne in France’s Gironde department of a progressive pricing policy, which distinguishes between vital water, useful water, and convenience water: a token price is applied progressively for the first 15m3 of water consumed, considered as being “vital”; beyond this amount, the price increases progressively.
  • In the southern hemisphere, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT helps customers to benefit from its expertise by extending services to unconnected or disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT encourages the establishment of innovative public-private partnerships which enlist the help of local stakeholders to find suitable solutions to the challenges and problems they face.

The Group also facilitates dialogue around water and sanitation issues. It holds regular consultation meetings to improve corporate strategy so that it can meet the expectations of civil society.