2020 CSR PERFORMANCE DIGEST

2020 CSR PERFORMANCE DIGEST

Content is loading, please be patient.

Managing corporate responsibility

The Veolia CSR policy is part of its strategy, its economic model and its sustainability. Convinced that it holds part of the solution to the collective challenges of our times, provided it serves its stakeholders with balance, Veolia defines itself as a sustainable company able to achieve its economic, social and societal missions. 

Our CSR policy is therefore enshrined in our business model as demonstrated by the Purpose and the related multifaceted performance commitments, objectives and targets.

2020 is the first year of implementation for these new objectives. This chapter describes their environmental performance, human resources performance and social performance components as well as the compliance approach. 

In 2020, the year of transition, the objectives supporting its sustainable development strategy, defined in 2015, based on nine sustainable development commitments were achieved. 

French regulations on the Vigilance plan and the Nonfinancial Performance Statement also offer a framework for these initiatives. All information linked to the Nonfinancial Performance Statement is verified by an independent third party body. 

For fiscal year 2020, the indicators noted by the symbol (√) were checked with a reasonable level of assurance. 

The Group’s nonfinancial rating is an independent evaluation of these initiatives by third parties.

Our commitments

In 2015, Veolia formalized its sustainable development strategy in 3 areas and 9 commitments. They complement the Group’s decision to sign up to the UN Global Compact and help the international community fulfil its commitments. This strategy is in line with Veolia’s raison d’être, defined in 2019.

Our Purpose

In 2019, during  the combined general meeting of its shareholders, the Veolia Group has officially given itself a purpose.

The Group’s Purpose was drawn up in consultation with its various stakeholders and approved by the Board of Directors, and articulates why Veolia exists and what it does and how, for the benefit of all its stakeholders. This Purpose, which is the fruit of more than 160 years of history, is in line with Veolia’s “Resourcing the World” mission statement.

The Purpose states the fundamental way in which Veolia will act. It is both the direction in which the Group is heading and a means to show the extent of its ambition and to give its actions a firmer longterm foundation. All Veolia’s stakeholders are being informed of its Purpose – whether employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, partners or the territories where it operates – so that they know what it means and can contribute to its practical application.

Veolia’s Purpose

“Veolia’s purpose is to contribute to human progress by firmly committing to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. It is with this aim in mind that Veolia sets itself the task of “Resourcing the world” through its environmental services business.

At Veolia, we are convinced that continuing human development is only possible if economic, social and environmental issues are addressed as an indivisible whole. This belief is embedded in the history of the Company, which as soon as it was created in 1853, showed the way by making access to drinking water an essential element of public health and quality of life.

In the conduct of our current businesses in Water, Waste and Energy, we provide our public and private customers worldwide with solutions that facilitate access to essential services and natural resources, and that efficiently conserve, use and recycle those natural resources. Improvement of our environmental footprint and that of our customers is central to our business and its economic model.

We are a company that is both local and global with a high level of technical know-how and labor, and which commits for long periods of time. We guarantee long-term results for our customers by leveraging our long experience, the quality of our services and our high capacity for innovation.

We are a working community where, in addition to an income and respect for their health and safety, everyone can find a sense of purpose in what they do, commitment to rewarding collective action and personal fulfillment. Through training, Veolia ensures that its employees, the vast majority of whom are manual workers and technicians, develop their skills. The Company relies on their responsibility and autonomy at all levels and in all countries, and promotes professional equality between men and women.

Veolia also promotes, particularly on staff representative bodies, social dialogue, which encourages employees to adopt our collective project as their own.

Wherever it operates, Veolia complies with applicable laws and regulations. It also applies widely-distributed ethical rules consistent with its values of responsibility, community spirit, respect, innovation and customer focus.

Veolia’s prosperity is founded upon its usefulness to all its stakeholders in the various regions where it operates – whether customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers, current populations or future generations. Its performance must therefore be assessed in various dimensions corresponding to those different communities concerned. The Company pays the same degree of attention and requires the same high standards in each of these dimensions. In this way, Veolia prepares for the future, protecting the environment and responding to humanity’s vital needs.”

A commitment to multi-faceted performance

Veolia is equally attentive to and has the same high standards for all its various stakeholders and therefore for the different aspects of its performance. These are complementary and form a virtuous circle: economic and financial performance, commercial performance, human resources performance, corporate social performance and environmental performance.

Under the Impact 2023 program, Veolia therefore commits to 18 performance indicators targeting its five major stakeholder groups: shareholders, employees, customers, the planet and its current inhabitants and future generations, and finally, society in general.

Each of these indicators will be measured and published regularly during the course of the program to monitor progress. These measures will be validated by an independent body and notably used to calculate the variable compensation of Veolia’s senior executives.

(1) UN Sustainable Development Goal.

(2) The cumulative amount since 2019 of investments in new forms of energy to eliminate coal in Europe by 2030 has been estimated at €1.2bn.

(3) For networks serving over 50,000 inhabitants. At constant perimeter

Our commitments to ensure sustainable development

3 areas and 9 commitments

As part of its mission – “Resourcing the world” – in 2015, Veolia reiterated its sustainable development strategy focusing on nine commitments in three areas:

  • resourcing the planet, because its water, waste and energy management solutions help improve its clients’ environmental footprint;
  • resourcing the regions, because its activities are firmly rooted in multiple locations and support their development. They create direct, indirect and induced jobs and wealth; 
  • the Company’s men and women, because its business is labour intensive, and the well-being of its employees affects performance.

These commitments were supplemented by 12  objectives set for the end of 2020, each of which were sponsored by a member of the Executive Committee.

These commitments and objectives are in keeping with Veolia’s Purpose, defined in 2019. The multi-faceted performance objectives associated with the Purpose, continue on the following objectives to steer the Group’s CSR strategy.

(1) Calculated over the main geographic zones representing 74.4% of Group revenues.

(2) In countries with poor access.

Of the 12 objectives set, eight were attained or exceeded and others were not fully attained, reflecting the high level of the initial goals: 

  • regarding the climate, the reduced emissions objective was not attained due to the loss of certain activities with a significant impact on this indicator (SEEG contracts, Vilnius heating network and Laogang landfill site). In addition, the methodology was adjusted to bring it into line with international benchmarks; 
  • the divestment of high contribution activities (metal recycling in France) also explains the failure to attain the avoided emissions objective, together with lower than forecast growth in Asia; 
  • for the biodiversity indicator, several sites that had conducted a diagnosis were removed from the scope and certain geographies were unable to finalize their diagnoses, notably due to the health crisis in 2020; 
  • finally, as regards the percentage of employees with access to social dialogue mechanisms, the rate of 86% can be explained by the development of industrial activities, where there are fewer branch agreements than in the municipal sector, and the increasing presence in the Group of countries where the implementation of such measures is not authorized.

Governance

Veolia’s commitments to sustainable development apply to all of its activities and all of its employees, in all of the countries where it operates. They are supported at the highest level of the organization and their oversight is the responsibility of various governance bodies, while implementation roll-out is managed at operational level: 

  • the Sustainable Development Committee brings together all internal stakeholders involved in implementing these commitments. It is responsible for coordinating and conducting the initiatives. The Committee is chaired by the General Counsel and run by the Sustainable Development Department; 
  • the Executive Committee assesses progress on these commitments annually and monitors the achievement of the objectives by the end of 2020, using 12 key indicators accompanied by action plans; 
  • the Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development Committee, one of the four Board Committees, monitors the Group’s social and environmental performance annually and ensures compliance with Veolia’s sustainable development commitments. 

Since 2020, the year of transition, the multifaceted performance commitments defined under the Veolia Impact 2023 strategic program have replaced this approach.

Reporting of commitments and results

Every year, the Group’s key CSR performance indicators are audited by an independent third-party organization and the results of this audit are made public.

These commitments were announced at public speeches.

The first was given by the Group’s Sustainable Development Director (an employee director) at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting held in April 2015.

A second speech was given by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at a discussion meeting for external stakeholders held in June 2015. This meeting brought together 80 representatives of Veolia’s non-contractual stakeholders (including members of the “Critical Friends” Committee, associations, NGOs, institutes, foundations, networks, professional bodies, non-financial rating agencies, analysts, auditors, CSR specialists, public sector bodies, development agencies, researchers and academics).

These commitments, available on the Group’s website, have been included in its annual publications since 2015 (Registration Document, Annual Sustainable Development Report and CSR Performance Digest).

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer communicated these commitments internally to the regional and country directors and they were subsequently rolled out via a network of sustainable development officers. The Sustainable Development Director and the Director for Social Development and Labor Relations also presented these commitments to the management committee of each geographic zone.

Working together

These commitments and targets were the result of a preliminary consultation exercise involving all of the Group’s management teams and a panel of operational employees, each of whom was able to put forward the view of their external stakeholders. This consultation was used to determine the material sustainable development challenges that the Group is facing. A draft version of the commitments and targets was also discussed by Veolia’s Critical Friends Committee.

The commitments made in our Ethics Guide

In order to support all its employees, Veolia has had an Ethics Guide in place since 2003 to guide all its staff, setting out the fundamental values that employees’ behavior should reflect in all circumstances. This guide, which was updated in 2013 and in 2018, also sets out the rules of conduct that the company strives to enforce among its employees and promote among its stakeholders. These cover areas such as compliance with laws and regulations, the fight against corruption, the prevention of conflicts of interest, ethical commitments in the field of accounting and finance and the duty to preserve data confidentiality.

For more information on our Ethics Program, click here.

Compliance with international agreements

Veolia’s commitments to sustainable development complement the Group’s decision to voluntarily sign up to the UN Global Compact and its signature of the Seoul Declaration on the basic human right to a safe and healthy working environment.

Veolia’s guiding principles are also in line with various international agreements, including:

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its additional treaties;
  • the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights;
  • the International Labor Organisation’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
  • the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises laid down by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD);
  • the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention;
  • the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Our commitments under the Global Compact

When it signed up to the UN Global Compact in June 2003, demonstrates its commitment to support and promote ten core principles relating to human rights, rights at work, the environment and the fight against corruption within its sphere of influence.

The Group is one of the businesses that have obtained the “Advanced” level differentiation for its UN Global Compact Communication on Progress.

Principles of the Global Compact

Human rights

  1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence; and
  2. Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Labor

  1. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining ;
  2. Eliminate all forms of forced and compulsory labor ;
  3. Abolish child labor ;
  4. Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Environment

  1. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  2. Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  3. Encourage the development and dissemination of environmentally friendly technologies.

Anti-corruption

  1. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

Dialogue with international organizations

Since 2017, Veolia has participated in the High Level Political Forum organized by the United Nations, which aims to take stock of implementation of the 2030 Agenda at a global level. 

Veolia actively contributes to international debates on climate during the climate Conference of Parties (COP). 

In 2020, Veolia took part in a webinar organized by ICC, in partnership with the experts of the IPCC, “Climate Science and Institutional Policy: An Introduction to the IPCC and its Reports for Business Leaders”, to learn about how businesses are using the latest climate science and integrating it into their strategies. The purpose of this series of webinars is to help the writers in charge of drafting the new IPCC report to deliver information that could be used by companies in transforming their business models.

Our contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Between 2000 and 2015, Veolia was a major contributor to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for access to water and wastewater services. It remains active to ensure the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 are attained.

An initial study consulting internal and external stakeholders was conducted in 2017. This aimed to provide an initial overview of the way Veolia’s businesses can help attain the SDGs. It concluded that Veolia contributes to a greater or lesser extent to implementing each of the 17 SDGs and has a direct or indirect impact on 65 of the 169 SDGs targets, representing a contribution to 40% of targets.

In 2019, Veolia published its Purpose, which fits directly into the SDG framework: “Veolia’s purpose is to contribute to human progress by firmly committing to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. It is with this aim in mind that Veolia sets itself the task of “Resourcing the world” through its environmental services business”.

The SGDs provided input for the drafting of this text, by setting objectives and aligning the Purpose with international challenges. The multifaceted performance indicators were drawn up to help provide a better response to these issues. 

Finally, the SGDs also challenge the ability to forge new more innovative relationships to collectively invent new solutions to take up the challenges relating to the preservation of resources and population issues.

Veolia therefore plays a major role for 13 SDGs whose challenges are directly linked to its Purpose:

9 objectives linked to its activities

As an urban services provider, Veolia plays a major role in managing essential services in water and sanitation (SDG 6), energy (SDG 7) and waste (SDG 11, which includes a waste management target). Veolia promotes innovative industrial production methods (SDG 9) and responsible consumption through the circular economy (SDG 12). Finally, through its solutions, Veolia contributes directly to meeting climate (SDG 13) and ecosystem (SDG 14 and 15) challenges.

Finally, by promoting access to essential services, Veolia contributes to reducing inequalities (SDG 10).

3 objectives linked to organization priorities as a responsible company

Veolia acts to develop the skills of its workforce to improve employability, but also to create value for its customers and regions thought its Campus network (SDG 4). The Group is committed to gender equality and acts to increase the number of women in its businesses and strengthen the percentage of women managers (SDG 5). Veolia supports sustainable growth by promoting decent working conditions for all, in compliance with human rights and the rights of its employees, subcontractors and suppliers (SDG 8).

1 key objective to drive attainment of SDGs

Veolia is a local operator and interacts with all its stakeholders, to build together solutions adapted to regional challenges. Its commitment to attaining the SDGs leads Veolia to extend its economic activity chain in order to widen its areas of action and to build new alliances with other players to meet the needs of the public covered by the SDGs. By developing new partnerships and notably by calling on additional expertise contributed by its partners and shared value creation, Veolia contributes to strengthening SDG implementation resources (SDG 17), Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Toilet Board Coalition, etc.

Supporting promotion of the SDGs and reinforcing a common understanding

In order to help promote understanding and adoption of the SDGs, the Veolia Foundation supported the creation of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) dedicated to the SDGs. Launched in 2018 by the Virtual Environment and Development University (UVED), it presents the 17 SDGs and how they interact with each other. It provides tools to better take the SDGs into account on a daily basis, offers ideas to implement positive actions and promotes initiatives and experiences already in place. Veolia shared its feedback regarding adoption of the SDGs by a company. The MOOC was updated in 2019 and a second session was launched in September. Overall, nearly 25,000 people have familiarized themselves with these global requirements that are essential to developing world peace, protecting the planet, bringing an end to poverty and reducing inequality. The SDG MOOC has been translated into five languages and won the “Best MOOC developed by a university or school” prize at the MOOC of the year awards.

CSR issue materiality analysis

In 2020, Veolia updated the materiality analysis of its CSR issues. This was an opportunity for the Group to assess the perception, by its external and internal stakeholders, of the decisions taken by the Group with regard to its Purpose. This is the first step of renewed reflexion that will continue in 2021 on the organization of the Group’s stakeholder relation strategy, under the heading “Resourcing together”. 

To conduct the analysis, 24 CSR issues were identified based on a documentary study of data taken from several databases, taking into account the multifaceted performance indicators defined under the Impact 2023 strategic plan. 

They were then assessed by 188 internal and external stakeholders (customers, suppliers, competitors, associations and NGOs, local residents, end consumers, regulatory authorities, etc.) during an online consultation organized from April to November 2020 by the firm Des Enjeux et des Hommes in eight Veolia Business Units: Water France, Germany, UK, Czech Republic, China, Australia, USA, Colombia. The Africa – Middle East region was included in the overall results based on consultations held between 2017 and 2019 by the firm BL Evolution. The consultation was likewise held with a selection of “corporate” stakeholders and head office employees. The internal stakeholders were asked to assess the impact of the CSR issues on Veolia’s activity, while the external stakeholders commented on their level of achievement with the Group. To complete this analysis, 75 interviews were held with voluntary stakeholders, some of whom answered the questionnaire. These interviews were organized to discuss the risks and opportunities associated with the CSR issues, and to strengthen dialogue with stakeholders. 

In this survey, the 10 most significant issues were identified worldwide, by country and stakeholder category.

Materiality matrix of Veolia CSR issues

Our commitments, actions and results for each major issue

For more information, go to :

Environmental issues

Sustainable resource management Sustainably manage water resources

Save and preserve energy resources

Preserving raw material resources

Management of pollution and discharges Reducing pollution
Combating climate change Reducing and avoiding GHG emissions
Circular economy Encouraging the circular economy
Protect natural environments and biodiversity Protect natural environments and biodiversity

The three lines of action of protecting natural environments and biodiversity

Roll-out of solutions to adapt to climate change and improve resilience Adaptation

Social issues

Business ethics Ethics program
Responsible purchasing Tax policy
Contribution to the right of water and essential services Providing ongoing access to essential services

Supply safe water drinking

Regional responsibility Managing sustainable procurement
Sponsorship, patronage and solidarity measures Contribute to the development and attractiveness of regions

Human resources issues

Employee health and safety Guaranteeing a safe and healthy working environment
Diversity, gender equality and fight against discrimination Diversity policy and approach

Professional equality

Professional development of Veolia employees Encouraging professional development
Quality of life at work Well-being in the workplace
Appeal to candidates and employee loyalty Encouraging professional development
Social dialogue Workforce cohesion and social dialogue

Commercial issues 

Security of facilities and services Environmental policy and environmental management system

Supply safe water drinking

Service quality & customer satisfaction Manage consumer/user relations

Provide ongoing access to essential services

Innovation Chapter “Research and innovation” of our 2020 Registration document, p.38
Data confidentiality and security Protecting personal data

Governance issues 

Responsible corporate governance Chapter “Corporate Governance” of our 2020 Registration document, p.107
Commitment with our external stakeholders Build new models for relations with our stakeholders
Responsible taxation Corporate social policy and management

International solidarity initiatives

Structured organization

To anchor sustainable development in the day-to-day operations of its businesses, Veolia incorporates the concept into its management systems by rolling out policies, objectives and procedures.

CSR governance bodies

Chaired by the Group’s General Counsel and run by the Sustainable Development Department, the Sustainable Development Committee brings together all internal stakeholders involved in implementing these commitments. It defines the Company’s strategic priorities and approves its environmental policy, objectives and management system.

Our sustainable development policy, which involves many different internal stakeholders, including management teams, business units and independent bodies, requires a structured approach to manage all the issues involved.

Stakeholders and scope of involvement:

PROSPECTIVE

  • Veolia Institute
    A think-tank for forward thinking on environmental issues, with a focus on analyzing ongoing changes and the interplay between society and the environment.
  • Critical Friends Committee
    Made up of independent experts, the Committee helps Veolia make progress on its vision of sustainable development and thinking in this area.
  • Veolia Research & Innovation (VERI)
    VERI develops partnerships with universities and Open Innovation programs.

ANTICIPATION

  • Board of Directors’ Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development Committee
    It assesses the company’s R&D, innovation and sustainable development strategies and policies and gives its opinion to the Board of Directors. It also monitors the company’s social and environmental performance.
  • Risk Department
    It coordinates the analysis of risks that are likely to affect the Group’s activities and implements action plans.
  • Veolia Research & Innovation (VERI)
    VERI manages and coordinates R&D programs on priority Group issues.
  • Public Affairs Department
    It plans, coordinates and represents the Group’s interests in its dealings with the French authorities and European institutions.

MANAGEMENT

  • Executive Committee
    assesses progress on sustainable development commitments annually and monitors the achievement of the objectives by the end of 2020, using 12 key indicators accompanied by action plans;
  • Sustainable Development Committee
    It coordinates and promotes sustainable development initiatives.
  • Human Rights Committee
    It coordinates the Group’s human rights policy.
  • Sustainable Development Department
    It launches and monitors sustainable development initiatives.
  • Technical and Performance Department
    It reports on technical and environmental performance and coordinates the environmental management system in conjunction with teams in each country.
  • Human Resources Department
    It defines and implements the human resources policy and reports on performance with regard to labor-related issues.
  • Purchasing Department
    It defines and implements the sustainable purchasing policy and reports on purchasing.
  • Innovation and Markets Department
    It defines and implements the business development strategy and coordinates reporting on business-related matters.
  • Veolia Foundation

It arranges corporate sponsorship and voluntary skills-sharing programs.

COMPLIANCE

  • Legal Department
    It drafts legal procedures and guidelines and sees that, through their dissemination, the Group’s activities are compliant with the law.
  • Compliance function
    It steers and coordinates internal control. It ensures the consistency, dissemination and understanding of Veolia’s internal standards.
  • Internal Control Department
    It formalizes and implements internal financial control procedures (transposed for the business units). It reports on matters such as fraud.
  • Internal Audit Department
    It independently and objectively assesses risk management procedures, including environmental risk, governance and internal control processes, and helps to improve these procedures using a systematic and methodical approach.
  • Ethics Committee
    It independently looks into all queries and whistleblowing relating to the Group’s ethical values and principles.

Coordinated risk management system

Objectives

The Group has established an integrated risk management policy aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of the risk portfolio, using the same tools and methodologies across all Business Units and functional departments. Veolia also builds long-lasting relationships with its customers based, in particular, on its ability to manage risks delegated by them, by integrating environmental, social/societal and economic factors. The Group responds to this challenge, which is of fundamental importance to its development, and makes a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility towards its stakeholders, by setting up a coordinated risk prevention and management system.

The risk management system has the following objectives: 

  • identify and anticipate: ensure the constant oversight of the Group’s major risks so that no risk is overlooked or underestimated, understand and monitor the environments in which the Group operates and anticipate changes in the nature or intensity of those risks; 
  • organize: ensure that the main identified risks are effectively addressed at the most appropriate level within the Group. Numerous operational risks are managed at Business Unit level. Others, which require specific expertise or are of a primarily transversal or strategic nature, are handled directly at head office; 
  • process: ensure that the structure and resources employed are effective so as to control as best as possible the identified risks, in line with the Group’s values and strategy; 
  • raise awareness and inform: communicate on risks to the various financial and non-financial stakeholders.

Organization

Within the Risk and Insurance Department that reports to the Group’s General Counsel, the Risk Department coordinates and serves as the entry point for the Group’s strategic risks and facilitates the risk management system through its network of risk managers in the zones and Business Units. In 2020, the Risk Department organized monthly meetings with its network of risk managers in the zones and Business Units. The aim of these meetings was to communicate key Group information, share feedback and consider issues in greater depth by setting up working groups on specific topics.

The Risk Committee is responsible for validating and monitoring the effectiveness of the action plans covering the major risks identified in the risk mapping. It ensures and supports the proper functioning of the risk management systems and may also decide on which risks are unacceptable within the context of the business. The Risk Committee brings together members of the Veolia Executive Committee, establishing a direct link between the Group’s strategy and the risk management process. It is facilitated by the Chief Risk and Insurance Officer and chaired by the Group’s General Counsel.

The Group Risk Committee meets to examine the Group’s risk mapping and the action plans for mitigating these risks. Risk Committees by zone and/or country meet to monitor and approve the risk mappings for their scope of activities and the implementation of the related action plans. 

The Risk Department works with all functional departments and more particularly with: 

  • the Internal Control Department to link up the identified risks and Veolia’s organizational rules, processes and principles, and propose changes where appropriate; 
  • the Compliance Department to strengthen the Group’s compliance programs ; 
  • the Internal Audit Department to contribute to defining its annual audit program. Audits carried out also serve to enhance the risk assessments conducted within the Group. By verifying the Company’s key processes, the Internal Audit Department provides assurance that internal control and risk management procedures have been implemented and are effective. These procedures are regularly assessed within the Group to ensure that the Group has the appropriate risk management tools and processes: risk identification, implementation of action plans, updated risk mapping and deployment of the risk management function throughout the Group.

Risk mapping

At head office level, as at business unit level, beyond the financial impact analyzed through the evaluation of the risks and opportunities of the strategy (achievement of objectives) and projects (profitability and relevance), all risks and opportunities are examined with regard to the Group’s objectives and commitments in terms of CSR and sustainable development.

Together with its network, the Risk Department has developed a common process designed to identify and prioritize events that may prevent the Group from reaching its objectives. It is founded on a common methodology and a Governance Risk and Control (GRC) digital tool, enabling the consolidation of major risks by zone and Business Unit. After consolidating the risks, interviews are held with head office functional directors to complete the identification and assessment of Group risks. Members of the Board of Directors also participate in the risk mapping, providing an external perspective of Veolia’s risks.

The Group’s risk mapping is updated each year in accordance with this methodology.

Zones and Business Units have a risk mapping, prepared in compliance with the main market benchmarks (notably COSO – Committee of Sponsorship Organizations of the Treadway Commission) and in accordance with ISO 31000 on risk management. The identified risks are assessed in terms of their impact and frequency, taking account of risk control measures. The “risk owners” are in charge of designing and implementing action plans in liaison with the risk managers for their zone and/or country and/or head office, so as to limit and manage risk exposure.

The network of risk managers contributes to defining the corresponding action plans and steering the overall process. It also plays a role of warning and coordination for emerging risks.

This process contributes to the company’s adjustment of its exposure to environmental, labour-related, corporate social and economic factors. It also helps to identify business opportunities in the management of risks linked to sustainable development that Veolia’s clients (municipal authorities and industries) delegate to it. 

The main activities of the Risk Department and its network are:

Mapping of multifaceted performance risks

The Risk Department assists the Strategy Department and the head office functional departments with the Group’s transformation to attain the multifaceted performance objectives. In 2020, workshops were organized for each performance area in order to identify and rank the risks of not achieving the multifaceted performance objectives and to determine the priority actions to be taken. The approach and the initial results were presented to the Board of Directors’ strategy seminar in December 2020.

Health and environmental risks: Veolia’s responsible approach to addressing emerging risks

The ability to manage environmental and health risks is a cornerstone of the company’s expertise. Above and beyond strict compliance with regulations, Veolia fosters a proactive, multifaceted approach to anticipating emerging risks in each of these areas. This approach is in part based on stringent prevention procedures involving the identification and assessment of risks, an awareness of any possible impact on the company’s operations and on its stakeholders, and in part on recommendations.

Veolia’s active vigilance allows the company to anticipate new developments—by constantly monitoring regulations, reviewing business operations, scientific research and participation in international programs and R&D partnerships—on the following issues in particular: nanomaterials, emerging biological parameters, chemical toxicity, and the societal, health and environmental consequences of climate change.

Country risk and opportunities program

Since 2012, the Risk Department has conducted specific analyses by country and region, through its “country risk and opportunities” program. This program assesses, in particular, political risks, economic risks, the risk of institutional instability and corruption risks and provides Commitment Committees with the information necessary to assess external factors potentially impacting Group and zone investment projects. In 2020, this program enabled the anticipation unit to implement dashboards monitoring the spread of Covid-19 in the geographies where Veolia operates.

Corruption Risk Mapping

In 2018, the Chief Risk Officer presented the results of the first mapping of Group corruption risks to the Executive Committee (meeting as the Risk Committee), the Management Committee and the Board of Directors’ Accounts and Audit Committee. The corruption risk mapping was deployed in the Business Units in 2019, using a common methodology developed at Group level. The updated Group corruption risk mapping was presented to the Executive Committee in 2020.

Analysis of human rights

In 2020, the Risk Department updated the analysis of the Group’s human rights risks. To this end, it analyzed external risk factors in the geographies where the Group operates and surveyed over 520 managers. The conclusions of this work were used to adapt the Human Rights management system to take account of risk factors, with an approach founded on prevention and awareness-raising.

Ethics program

Ethics Guide

In February 2003, the Company implemented the “Ethics, Commitment and Responsibility” program, which was updated in 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2013, when it was renamed the “Ethics Guide”. The most recent version of this Guide, issued in December 2018, includes the presentation of the new Group Ethics Whistleblowing system, implemented in response to the recommendations set out in the Sapin II law of December 9, 2016, the law of March 27, 2017 on the corporate duty of care, and the GDPR general data protection regulation. This system supplements the whistleblowing mechanisms levels implemented in the Business Units.

It is designed as a reference document for the conduct of all Group employees at all management levels and in all countries where the Group operates. The anti-corruption Code of conduct is appended.

Distributed throughout the Group and translated into some 15 languages, these are a Group-wide standard designed to guide the conduct of employees in their day-to-day activities.

In January 2014, the CEO sent the Ethics Guide and a summary of its core values and rules to each of the country directors and to members of the Management Committee, with the aim of reaffirming the Group’s ethical commitments at the highest level. The contents of the guide have since been communicated to employees via a range of other initiatives.

The Ethics Guide sets out the Group’s core values and the resulting rules of conduct that form the foundation of the Group’s economic, social and environmental performance:

  • responsibility: the Group is committed to promoting the harmonious development of territories and improving the living conditions of populations affected by its activities from a public interest perspective, as well as internally, by developing employee skills and improving occupational health and safety;
  • community spirit: as the Group serves collective and shared interests through its business activities, this value applies to relationships entered into with all stakeholders. Concretely, it involves developing solutions enabling the supply of essential services for everyone and compliance with a Code of conduct for managers to ensure the Group’s core values are shared and complied with throughout the world;
  • respect: guides the individual conduct of all Group employees through compliance with the law and the Group’s internal rules and the respect shown to others;
  • innovation: imagine, create and be audacious in order to develop the environmental services of the future. Veolia has placed Research and Innovation at the center of its strategy in order to develop sustainable solutions of service to its customers, the environment and society;
  • customer focus: seek ever greater efficiency and quality in our services, listen to customers and strive to fulfill their technical, economic, environmental and societal expectations through our capacity to provide appropriate and innovative solutions.

The most recent version underlines Veolia’s commitment to comply with major international initiatives, such as the UN Global Compact, international human rights law and the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises.

A copy of this document is given to each new Veolia Environnement employee.

Providing a framework for practices

In addition to its Ethics Guide, Veolia has also introduced company-wide standards aimed primarily at preventing risks. These include:

  • an anti-corruption code of conduct;
  • a competition law compliance guide;
  • a guide to managing and minimizing criminal risk exposure in group operations;
  • the Supplier Charter and internal Purchasing Code of Conduct, which include sections on the ethical practices to be observed and promoted by anyone involved in the purchasing process. (For more information, see Managing sustainable procurement);

    Suppliers relationship

    Suppliers relationship 2019

  • an internal procedure for managing criminal law risk. In particular, it includes elements of awareness-raising and training in the fight against corruption;
  • an internal company procedure that sets out a framework for selecting and monitoring intermediaries and service providers. This is used to check that service providers have been selected appropriately, oversee their provision of the service agreed and their compensation and check that they are carrying out the service in accordance with strict rules and a framework contract. The contract itself includes a detailed “ethics and anti-corruption” clause. Internal audits are carried out to ensure application of this procedure;
  • an internal company-wide legal reporting procedure;
  • an internal procedure for sponsorship and patronage activities;
  • an internal procedure for identifying and reporting any fraud that impacts directly or indirectly on the company’s accounting;
  • an internal prevention and management procedure to handle conflicts of interest;
  • an internal guide to good conduct aimed at company employees involved in representing its interests;
  • an internal procedure on compliance with competition law;
  • an internal “Code of conduct on insider trading and securities law”;
  • an internal procedure for “Activities in sensitive countries”;
  • a code of conduct for finance officers;
  • an internal procedure on “Restrictions on payments and funding during election periods”;
  • a guide on protecting innovations and expertise.

These documents are available on the company’s intranet site and training courses are also available to supplement them.

Raising awareness and training employees

History of anti-corruption and fraud prevention training, and competition law compliance training

Veolia has been organizing training in ethics and compliance since 2004. These programs, which are regularly updated and improved, focus on the prevention of anti-competitive practices, criminal risk and fraud. They are delivered both through e-learning tools and face-to-face activities. 

Since 2009, the Company has  elaborated a Criminal Risk Prevention Guide and implemented and deployed the associated training. This program has been deployed to around 4,000 Group employees (including 850 managers in France).

In 2012, nearly 500 managers worldwide received training in strengtheningfraud prevention and control. Between 2014 and 2018, fraud awareness training for the internal controller network was provided during annual seminars (average of 80 people per year). Between 2017 and 2019, fraud awareness training, supervised by Internal Control followed by the Compliance Department, was provided to managers and mainly accounting, financial and purchasing teams (over 300 people) in several countries and BUs. In addition, the roll-out of a nine-module e-learning course on the prevention of wire transfer fraud continued in 2019 and will be completed in 2020.

Other training courses on the theme of “compliance, corruption and criminal business law” (e-learning and face-to-face training) were delivered in 2017. Around 2,800 people were trained.

In 2018 the Group began tightening up its compliance procedures and as a result has decided to step up its training efforts by ensuring that as many employees as possible receive appropriate training on the main compliance risks affecting them. 

Specific training sessions on the Anti-Corruption Code of conduct and anti-competitive practices, the content of which was defined by the Compliance Department, were organized in 2018. These training sessions are mandatory. They are deployed as e-learning courses by the Veolia Campus networks and primarily target the Group’s main executives, then an extended group of the “TOP #5000”, including people whom it would seem appropriate to train considering their responsibilities and their exposure to these issues. These trainings courses were started in November 2018 and completed during 2019. This training was extended in 2020 to cover an additional level of management. Nearly 32,185 Group employees were trained in this way in 2019 and 2020. 

In a broader sense, the Zone Compliance Officers were tasked with defining a compliance training plan specific to each zone at BU level, in close collaboration with the Human Resources Department and based on a risk approach. These training plans seek to train all relevant employees, notably managers and individuals with sensitive roles. 

In addition, a ninth training module on fraud prevention was developed in 2020 to complement the previous modules implemented between 2017 and 2019. It will be rolled out in 2021 as part of a new training campaign on this subject.

The compliance program, carried out by Veolia as part of reinforcement of its compliance approach in 2018, includes a section dedicated to training. The objective is that as many employees as possible are trained in the relevant risk areas using appropriate means.

Specific trainings were organized on the Anti-Corruption Code of conduct and anti-competitive practices. The content of the module was defined by the Compliance Department in 2018.

Initially, these mandatory e-learning courses were deployed by the Veolia Campus network. They primarily target the Group’s main managers, then an extended group of the “TOP #5000”, including people whom it would seem appropriate to train considering their responsibilities and their exposure to these topics. These trainings courses were started in November 2018 and completed during 2019.

Also, and in a broader sense, the Zone Compliance Officers were appointed to define a compliance training plan specific to each zone at a BU level, in close collaboration with the HR Department and based on a risk approach. These training plans seek to train all relevant employees, notably managers and individuals with sensitive roles.

Development and deployment of the Anti-Corruption Code of conduct

An Anti-Corruption Code of conduct was adopted by the Executive Committee in 2018. It improves other texts in force within the Company regarding this topic, notably the Ethics Guide and the internal procedure “Preventing criminal risk and corruption”. 

The Anti-Corruption Code of conduct describes the principles and actions intended to respect the Group’s commitment to ban any form of corruption and similar or equivalent behavior, and to comply with best practices and regulations in this field. 

It applies within all companies controlled directly or indirectly by Veolia, in France and all countries where they operate or are located, regardless of legal status. 

All zones and BUs must deploy the Code in their respective areas. In France and certain countries, the implementation requires the integration of the Code in the internal regulations of the legal entities in question. Within Veolia Environnement, the modified internal regulations entered into force on July 15, 2018. For France, the Anti-Corruption Code of conduct was presented to the Works Council. Outside France, the Code disclosure and implementation processes depend on local legal requirements. 

In 2020, the Anti-Corruption Code of conduct was presented in sketches illustrating the corruption scenarios presented in the document, in order to help the Group’s employees better assimilate the issues at hand. Each situation is supplemented with insights, references to the wording of the Anti-Corruption Code of conduct and practical advice. This illustrated guide is an easy-to-share awareness and training tool that complements other initiatives deployed by the Group, such as e-learning modules or resources made available to employees primarily through the Compliance Department’s intranet site.

To our knowledge, no political contribution and no contribution to a local, regional or national political party / campaign / organization / candidate has been made in 2020.

The Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee has five members appointed by the Executive Committee, who may be employees, former employees or individuals from outside the Company offering the necessary guarantees of independence and expertise. Independent in the conduct of their duties, Committee members cannot receive instructions from Executive Management or be removed during their renewable four-year term of office.

The Committee is responsible for ensuring the proper application of the values set out in Veolia’s Ethics Guide, which have been embraced by the Group and all its employees.

In the course of its duties, the Ethics Committee interprets the Ethics Guide taking account of the diversity of companies comprising the Group, the specific nature of their activities and the regulatory, social and legal frameworks in the countries in which they operate.

It is vested with the authority necessary to perform its duties with regard to Veolia Group companies, both in France and abroad. On that basis, it can access any useful documents and hear any Group employee, the auditors and third parties.

In the conduct of its duties, it can be supported by the Internal Audit Department and all other Group departments which it can ask to intervene on any issues within its remit. It can also call on the services of external experts or visit any Group sites or companies.

Since 2004, any employee who believes there has been a failure to comply with the values and rules of conduct set forth in the Ethics Guide and who believes that informing his or her line manager may cause difficulties or is not satisfied by the latter’s response, can refer the matter directly to the Ethics Committee.

In this context, the Ethics Committee is responsible for managing the new Group Ethics Whistleblowing tool in force since January 15, 2019 and based on a secure platform enabling whistleblowers to report in over twenty languages. An information campaign informed employees of the launch of this tool and was rolled out in all zones by the Internal Communications Departments. This whistleblowing system was opened to third parties in early 2020.

As in the past, a whistleblower may also refer any matters within its remit to the Ethics Committee and in particular any actions considered to represent corruption or influence peddling, using all means available.

While the Ethics Committee does not recommend that whistleblowers remain anonymous, employees and third parties may do so if they wish by using the secure digital platform.

The Ethics Committee will safeguard the rights and interests, not only of the whistleblowers, who it will protect throughout the investigation, but also of the accused parties. The Committee communicates reports that appear within its remit to the Compliance Department and particularly issues covered by the Sapin II law and the corporate duty of care. It can also be assisted by country alert delegates in its investigation.

The Ethics Committee reports annually on its activities to the Veolia Environnement Board of Directors.

In 2020, 118 ethics alerts were received by the Ethics Committee, including:

  • 93 via the Whispli ethics alert platform, a platform set up in early 2019.
  • 25 outside the platform, via the traditional channel

As well as :

  • 23 via the Veolia ethics mailbox
  • 2 received by mail

It should be noted that of all the alerts received, 16 were issued by third parties, including 9 via the Veolia ethics mailbox and 7 via Whispli, to which access was granted at the end of 2020, while many of these alerts do not raise ethical issues.

In previous years, the alerts received were 103 in 2019 (year of implementation of the Whispli plateform), 22 in 2018, 40 in 2017, 29 in 2016, 24 in 2015 and 25 in 2014. The alerts are divided into operational, financial or accounting, human resources or corporate governance topics.

Internal control and internal audit

Internal control objective

The main objective of the internal control system is to prevent and manage the risks arising from the Group’s businesses, whatever their nature. Like any control system, however, no absolute guarantee can be provided that these risks are completely eliminated.

The purposes of the internal control procedures in force within the Group are:

  • to ensure that management acts fall within the framework defined by applicable laws and regulations, the corporate decision-making bodies and the Group’s values, standards and rules, as well as the strategy and objectives defined by Executive Management;
  • to ensure that the accounting, financial and management information communicated to the Company’s corporate decisionmaking bodies fairly reflects the activity and position of the Company and the Group, by defining and guaranteeing the implementation of a high-performing control system covering the Group’s processes through assisting all Business Units and entities.

Veolia’s internal control conceptual framework is based on the fundamental principles defined by COSO. In addition, Veolia’s internal control structure and procedures are not materially different from the principles set-out in the internal control reference framework or the application guidance recommendations published by the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF)

Internal control organization

Internal control relies initially on the effective management of all of the Group’s business processes, including non-finance related processes (commercial, technical, human resources, legal, communication, etc.). The Internal Audit Department then conducts a stringent review of the application of the Group’s rules.

All aspects of internal control, especially financial and operational aspects, are vital to Veolia. The Group’s ongoing objective is to maintain the right balance between the decentralization that is necessary for its activities, the highest level of operational and financial control, and the dissemination of expertise and best practices.

Stakeholders involved in the steering and coordination of internal control

  • The Executive Committee steers and supervises the system at Group level. It reviews and validates progress with the internal control systems and, in particular, monitors the main changes in the Group’s Norms.
  • The Coordination of Internal Control Departmentis an integral part of the Risk and Insurance Department. Its main role is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of standards and procedures in each functional department where necessary and ensure the overall consistency of the system.
  • The Internal Control Department reports to the Group Finance Department. Its primary role is to define, standardize and roll-out the process control framework covering the preparation of financial information and, more generally, all activities of a transactional nature.

Shared standards and processes

To facilitate the appropriation by employees of Group Norms and procedures and make the Group’s organization and operating principles more visible, the Internal Control Coordination Committee, with its network of officers in the functional departments, has implemented:

  • a multi-lingual documentary database available on the intranet, containing all Group Norms and organized by domain sector and document type;
  • an internal guide to Group fundamental principles summarizing the key processes and principles supporting the organization and operation of the Group. It is structured around fourteen processes, with a description of the main players for each process, their duties and the key activities for the attainment of the associated objectives. Links to Group Norms and intranet pages provide more detailed information on the subjects.

In 2019, the Coordination of Internal Control Department primarily focused on assisting the Compliance Department update and strengthen the Group Norms based on the results of the mapping of Group corruption risks. It also improved and developed these tools and promoted them internally.

Internal audit

Reporting directly to Veolia’s General Management, the Internal Audit Department also reports to the Board of Directors via the Accounts and Audit Committee. Among others, it works closely with the Risk Management, Insurance and Compliance Department, the Legal Department and the Internal Control Department (which reports to the Finance Department) and regularly makes sure that the defined standards are properly applied.

The annual internal audit plan, approved by the Accounts and Audit Committee, is based on a mapping of the Group’s key risks. As well as financial, human resource or operational internal control reviews, it includes regular reviews of the entities’ governance, including all ethical aspects,  and measures to ensure that the Group’s strategy or policies are observed.

The annual internal audit program, validated by the Accounts and Audit Committee, is based on the mapping of the Group’s major risks and includes, in addition to internal control missions covering financial, human resources or operational aspects, regular reviews of the governance of the entities including all ethical aspects, as well as missions targeting the proper application of the Group’s strategy or policies.

The Internal Audit Department also reviews Group acquisitions and new contracts once they have been made; this includes a financial review as well as a review of the contractual process and terms. The Internal Audit Department is routinely involved in addressing the risk of fraud by recommending improvement measures.

Cross-divisional audits, in addition to those of legal entities, are also conducted to check compliance with Group-wide standards and policies, such as those on the use of intermediaries (2015), sponsoring and patronage expenditure (2016), anti-corruption (2009, 2014), the environmental management system (2010), reporting on labor relation issues (2011), the protection of personal data (2016), suspected or identified frauds (2018). Furthermore, since 2011, the Internal Audit Department has assisted with the deployment of the Group warning system.

In 2006, the Group’s Internal Audit Department was certified by the French Audit and Internal Control Institute (IFACI). This certification, confirmed annually, relates to professional standards and benchmarks and attests to the Internal Audit Department’s ability to fulfill its role.

Human rights

Human rights committee

Due to the geographic scope of its activities, the Group is exposed to non-compliance by stakeholders with the principles set out in the Group’s human rights policy and notably external stakeholders (subcontractors, suppliers). Veolia therefore implements appropriate due diligence to ensure compliance.

The Veolia Human Rights program seeks to retain the trust of internal and external stakeholders, reinforce appeal and commercial differentiation and protect the Group’s reputation. This program naturally forms part of the Group’s Purpose.

Since it joined the United Nations Global Compact in 2003, Veolia has backed and promoted the principles in its sphere of influence, particularly the protection of international law on human rights, the recognition of collective bargaining rights, and the elimination of employment discriminations. Compliance with these fundamental rights and these commitments for sustainable development is naturally part of the human rights policy defined by the Group. Its formal documentation in 2016 led to the creation of the Human Rights and Duty of Care Committee, which is responsible for steering the human rights framework within Veolia. 

The Group has been working hard for years to uphold the human rights not only of its employees, subcontractors and suppliers, but also of the communities living in the areas where it operates. Veolia’s dedication to human rights is reflected in its sustainable development commitments and its fundamental values and principles set out in its Ethics Guide.

Implementation of the Group’s human rights policy

Veolia human rights policy focuses on several measures and initiatives:

  • governance and steering;
  • periodic risk analysis;
  • Group whistleblowing to the Ethics Committee;
  • local whistleblowing set up for the governance of each entity;
  • performance appraisal;
  • local and international dialogue with stakeholders;
  • transparency of non-confidential data and measures undertaken.

The policy is rolled out based on 8 priority issues:

8 priority issues

3 issues relating to the rights of the people impacted by its activities

  • Right to a healthy environment and protection of resources
  • Right to water and sanitation
  • Rights and lifestyles of local communities

5 issues relating to fundamental labor rights

  • Elimination of forced labor
  • Abolition of child labor
  • Elimination of discrimination
  • Promotion of freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • Right to a safe and healthy work environment
The Human Resources Department and the Compliance Department have pledged to ensure these rights are respected in cooperation with the Group’s other functional departments and all entities.
For several years Veolia has been formalizing many actions and approaches in favour of human rights and this policy is meant to gather and consolidate them. It also contains an action guide specifying the practical procedures for their implementation and describing the continuous improvement process to which Veolia is committed in accordance with international reference texts.
As a French group operating in numerous countries, Veolia strives to roll out and enforce its human rights policy among its employees while requiring its subcontractors and suppliers to strictly abide by these principles.

Respecting human rights fits into the following international reference texts framework:

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two additional covenants on civil and political rights ; on economic, social and cultural rights) ;
  • the (ILO) International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;
  • The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises;
  • The United Nations 10 guiding principles on business and human rights;
  • And the respect of local legislation.

Steering

The Compliance Department performs its human rights role through a network of compliance officers covering the entire Group. This network is coordinated and facilitated by a human rights and duty of care manager reporting to the Compliance Department. Within the framework of this system, the compliance managers took a greater role in Veolia’s Human Rights and Duty of Care Committee meetings in 2020 in order to strengthen the dialogue between Head Office and the Business Units on human rights issues.

The Human Rights and Duty of Care Committee is at the center of Veolia’s approach to managing issues concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms. This body is chaired by the Group’s General Counsel and led by the Compliance Department. It is responsible for the proper roll-out of Veolia’s Human Rights policy and its appropriation by employees and monitors the implementation of action plans.

The Committee met three times in 2020 to guarantee the effectiveness of this policy.

The Compliance Department performs its human rights role through a network of compliance officers covering the entire Group. This network is coordinated and facilitated by a human rights and duty of care manager reporting to the Compliance Department. Within the framework of this system, the compliance managers took a greater role in Veolia’s Human Rights and Duty of Care Committee meetings in 2020 in order to strengthen the dialogue between Head Office and the Business Units on human rights issues.

To assist Veolia employees with this approach, more detailed information and training tools are available in French and English on a dedicated intranet site. The human rights policy is available in seven languages (French, English, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese).

Mapping of human rights risks

Veolia identifies risks linked to human rights and the duty of care through different tools and methods.

Building on the analyses conducted in 2014 and 2016, and as approved in 2019 by the Human Rights and Duty of Care Committee, a survey was conducted in 2020 to update the Human Rights risk map. It was based on a methodology developed by the Risk Department, combining the results of studies carried out at Group level with contributions from the operating entities. Unlike previous years, the 2020 survey covered the entire scope of the Group. It was also redesigned to focus on the following issues: human rights within the Business Units; external stakeholders; and the Group’s human rights management system. The findings of this work will serve as a basis for steering Veolia’s human rights system for the entire Group.

The crossed production of the risk analysis and internal survey is a basis for dialogue to assess differences between external and internal risk perception. It is designed to identify the priority issues that would require an additional action plan.

In 2018, this map was used to update the purchasing risk mapping.

Purchasing risk mapping

The purchasing category mapping which includes a human rights component since 2018 was updated in 2020. The analysis methodology has been adapted and now takes into account the type of supplier, the objective being to better identify high-risk suppliers in terms of CSR and compliance criteria. If the level of risk for a given purchasing category is not acceptable, a specific assessment is triggered. Corrective actions are launched if necessary.

Third party evaluation

Veolia has a third-party evaluation system, comprising several components. 

The Group notably calls on an external service provider to evaluate the performance of its strategic and/or “at risk” suppliers since 2012, including in the fields of fundamental, social and environmental rights. It includes 21 criteria including topics such as water, local contamination, social dialogue, child labor and forced labor. 

In 2020, two projects helped strengthen the Group’s capacity to assess third parties in conjunction with its risk map: 

  • the Purchasing Department implemented a “Compliance & CSR” questionnaire, the purpose of which is to strengthen the scope of assessment of those suppliers considered to be most at risk in the context of calls for tenders conducted by the Group;
  • a project to acquire an additional third party assessment tool was also carried out in 2020. One of its major functions is to bring to light any human rights violations and other issues related to the duty of care, which are identified by monitoring media controversies and court conviction

Stakeholders dialogue

Veolia favors regular dialogue with its stakeholders in order to improve its management of human rights issues. For example, at a meeting of the Human Rights and Compliance Committee in May 2018, the association Entreprises pour les Droits de l’Homme, to which Veolia belongs, presented a study on the methods used by a panel of major French companies to implement compliance plans. This review not only enabled Veolia to validate the relevance of its approach, but also to consider future areas for improvement as part of an improvement process such as the development of appropriate reporting and monitoring tools.

In June 2019, Veolia organised, with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and EDH, a morning of discussions on “Human rights and sustainable development objectives: involvement of CEOs, responsibility of companies and opportunities”. As Veolia is resolutely committed to these issues, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Antoine Frérot, co-signatory of the WBCSD’s “CEO Guide to Human Rights”, took advantage of this meeting to invite his peers to take action on these issues.

Protecting personal data

The Group continues to organize itself to ensure that national provisions and the European Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data (GDPR) are applied, giving priority to entities falling within the scope of the GDPR. 

It is focusing in particular on the measures to be adopted as a result of the recent positions taken by the European institutions on data transfers outside the European Union. 

The Group is also preparing to strengthen its global network organization, under the supervision of the Compliance Department, by appointing a coordinator who will ensure compliance in all countries where the Group operates with the common personal data protection standards defined and expected by the Group Compliance Department. 

The network organization remains relevant with: 

  • a Global Data Protection Officer (GDPO) appointed for Veolia Environnement and its support functions, who reports to the Compliance Director and works with the Group’s Information Systems (IS&T), Legal and Security Departments (“DPO Team”). The DPO Team supports the coordinator who will facilitate the network of Data Protection Correspondents (DPCs);
  • a DPC per geographic zone who locally organizes her/his network of Data Protection Officers (DPOs) and Data Protection Managers;
  • a DPO for each Business Unit in France. 

In addition, Veolia Environnement has strengthened its Design and Legal Authority process, common to the IS&T, Safety, Compliance and Legal Departments, to ensure that each IT tool is evaluated (evaluation of the technical architecture, security standards, user experience and evaluation of legal documents, particularly with regard to the protection of personal data, limits on liability and licensing policies). This reinforced assessment procedure makes it possible to integrate the additional measures taken by the partners concerned whenever personal data is transferred to a country that does not offer adequate protection measures. The deployment of this assessment process is ongoing within the Group (it covers the European Union, Latin America, South Africa, Indonesia, China and Australia). The process is being rolled out across the Group, including in the European Union, Latin America, South Africa, Indonesia, China and Australia, and involves online and face-to-face training for all the parties concerned (Veolia Environnement SA management, BUs and companies requesting training).

 This assessment process continues to be implemented throughout the Group to ensure consistency and the best possible level of protection for individuals’ data. 

Internal audits on personal data were carried out in 2016 and 2019. As the Group continues to make progress in implementing applicable regulations and mandatory internal standards, a new audit is scheduled for 2021. To the best of our knowledge, all requests from individuals exercising one of their rights have been addressed by the Group entity concerned without this giving rise to sanctions from the supervisory authorities.

Information on customer data protection

As part of General Data Protection Regulation, Veolia is committed to protect privacy of its customers and inform them about their rights. In every municipal water business unit, Veolia ensures transparency and security regarding the use of personal data by providing all the information about the data collected, their use and management. Thus, Veolia solicits customers for the communication of personal data only in strict confidentiality and in the interest of the service, to allow the communication of all the information useful to the response to the requests. These data are intended for the sole use of Veolia and its partners. They will under no circumstances be made available to third parties. Furthermore, the customers are informed about their rights for correction, deletion of their data or refusal of consent to share personal data. This information is available on the website of each company given below.

To the best of our knowledge, we use the data of our water and wastewater customers only for the purposes for which they are collected, as stated in our available privacy and data protection policy.

Management of risks related to tangible and intangible property, and information systems

Due to the nature of its businesses and the scope and diversity of its sites, the Group pays close attention to the security of its tangible and intangible property and information systems.

 

The primary roles of the Security Department are to avert security threats potentially affecting the Group and its employees and to manage violations possibly impacting employees, tangible and intangible property, including information systems, and securities of the Group in France and abroad. The Security Department is also responsible for coordinating warning and crisis management systems. A network of security officers has been set-up in all countries where the Group operates, in order to tailor the management of these risks to specific local conditions. It provides advice and assistance to country managers on security-related issues within the framework of current laws and regulations. The organization of crisis management at Veolia revolves around two separate but complementary arrangements that come together to deal rapidly and efficiently with any deteriorated or critical situation that the Company or its entities may encounter. 

 

A warning system that operates 24 hours a day and is deployed across all the Group’s locations, escalates information quickly up the line to the Company’s Executive Management on any critical or delicate situation. This process has been updated, primarily to take account of changes in the Group’s organizational structure. It then moves into crisis management mode and, if the situation is critical enough, operational cells can be quickly mobilized bringing together all the necessary functional skills and the divisions concerned. Predetermined objective criteria are used to assess the seriousness of the situation. This process is constantly refined on the basis of feedback and post-crisis evaluations of each of the situations that have been managed. 

 

An information systems security organization (ISS, cybersecurity) was set up in 2013 and updated in 2016. Managed by the Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO), a member of the Group Security Department and in conjunction with head office and local Group departments, the ISS is also supported by a network of local officers spanning all countries where the Group operates. In 2020, the Group’s cybersecurity strategy was based on a normative framework with risk reduction and Group business resilience objectives. At Group level, the Cybersecurity Steering Committee validates and monitors the implementation of the general cybersecurity policy. It meets once a month, chaired by the Group’s General Counsel and brings together the central departments (finance, risk and assurance, internal control, technical, safety, information systems) and the ISSO. At least once a year, the General Counsel reports  to the Group Executive Committee and the Accounts and Audit Committee on the Group’s approach to risks and the cybersecurity strategy and provides an update on measures taken. The information security strategy is monitored annually by the Accounts and Audit Committee. In order to integrate the emergence of risks relating to an increasingly connected industrial environment, the ISSO facilitates, together with the Business Support and Performance Director and the Information Systems Director, the Industrial Cybersecurity Steering Committee launched in 2021.

 

The Information Systems Security Policies (ISSP), including for the industrial sector (ISSP-I) are implemented in all Veolia entities under the oversight of the ISSO and the local Security Officers. To control application, annual self-assessments are performed in all entities. In addition, audits and assistance are carried out by specialized external partners using international standards (e.g. NIST) in high-risk entities and on the most exposed system. The resulting actions plans are presented to and monitored by the Cybersecurity Steering Committee. An awareness program for all employees and a training program for certain specific functions have been defined. This is also an important cybersecurity line of action. These actions are carried out by means of IT charters, distributing information on best cybersecurity practices and specific actions targeting the various communities exposed to specific risks such as accountants, CFOs, treasury managers, etc. E-learning awareness and training courses are currently being developed and will be published in 2022. A certification process is underway and some Group entities are certified ISO 27001, NIST or equivalent.

Evaluating our performance

Veolia has set up a highly comprehensive, structured reporting system to evaluate its performance on environmental, labor relations and corporate social issues. Furthermore, the Group is rated for its extra-financial performance based on published information and statements.

Using reporting to support our commitments

Veolia has set up a highly comprehensive, structured reporting system to evaluate its performance on environmental, labor relations and corporate social issues:

  • reporting standards have been in place for many financial years and have been translated into the main languages spoken within the company;
  • a reporting tool incorporating a range of consistency checks has been rolled out to more than 2,000 entities where data is entered, covering the entire scope for data on labor relations issues and 95% of the scope for environmental data. These data are checked several times at different levels of consolidation;
  • an independent third-party organization checks the authenticity of most (around 80%) of the indicators published in this document to a level of “limited” or even “reasonable” assurance for key indicators (see dashboards). Its opinion is included in the company’s Registration Document .

This reporting system is also a key component of the approach set out in Veolia’s Operational Efficiency Plan and is used by its centers of operational excellence.

CSR reporting key figures

Number of operating sites covered >10 000
Number of contributors >2 000
Number of primary indicators >1 800
Number of calculated indicators > 1 700

More information on reporting

The social and environmental information in this document has been taken from the international database that Veolia has developed for its social and environmental reporting. The societal information is taken from this same database and other Group reporting (finance and sustainable purchasing) or obtained from limited geographic or business areas or from departments centralized at Group level.

Indicators

The indicators were chosen to monitor the following as a priority:

  • performance relating to the Group’s principal CSR challenges ;
  • the effects of the Group’s CSR policy ;
  • regulatory requirements (Article R. 225-105-1 of the French Commercial Code, article 173-IV of the of the energy transition law).

Scope

Social reporting covers all companies that are fully consolidated in the Group’s financial statements and the companies included in the financial statements which the Group manages operationally, and which are located in all the countries where the Group has employees. 

As from 2018, all acquisitions of entities (outside of the Veolia Group) made during year Y, are taken into account in the social scope starting from January 1 of year Y+1. This rule allows for a better integration of the Veolia human resources processes, safety standards and Group commitments. 

Since 2016, to ensure consistency with the financial reporting scope, the Chinese concessions are no longer included in the social reporting, except for the indicators defined for sustainable development commitments. Hence, injury frequency and severity rates, the rate of employees who participated in at least one training course and the rate of coverage by a social dialogue organization were calculated including the Chinese concessions which represented 8,846 employees as of December 31, 2020. 

Since 2017, employees absent during the entire year for reasons other than occupational disease or following a workplace accident are deducted in calculating the number of calendar days of absence. They are also excluded from the calculation of the full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce. 

In 2020, to better respond to the time requirements of the Group’s multifaceted performance, the reference period for training hours was changed to December 1, Y-1 to November 30, Y.

The diversity multifaceted performance indicator refers to Group’s Top 500 Executives. In Veolia Group this encompasses executive employees with a job position graded 16 and above in the Willis Tower Watson Global Grading System. 

In the face of the health crisis and to assess the potential impact of Covid-19 on employee data, an indicator was created to record absences in calendar days relating to this period (self-isolation, furlough, childcare).

Environmental reporting covers activities linked to the operation of public water and wastewater treatment services, waste collection, transfer and processing activities, as well as industrial cleaning and maintenance and energy services (heating and cooling systems, industrial utilities and energy services for buildings). Within this scope, the reporting covers all activities over which the Group exercises operating control. Excluded activities in 2020 are estimated at approximately 4% of revenue and are split between a few operational activities that still need to be integrated into the reporting and low environmental impact activities (support functions, design offices and in-house training centers). 

Within this scope, environmental and social information taken from the Group’s dedicated information system is fully consolidated regardless of the consolidation rate in the financial statements. 

Societal reporting covers the same scope as that of the social and environmental reporting for the data included in one of these reports, as stated in the societal reporting guidelines. Societal reporting also covers specific scopes due to the nature of the indicators and sources from which the data originates. In this case, the specific nature of the information is stated with the presentation of the indicator. 

In calculating the indicator monitoring commitment six (number of people connected), people connected to water or wastewater treatment networks by Veolia continue to be included in this indicator after the termination of the related contracts. 

Data consolidation period

The data collected covers the period from January 1 to December 31, 2020.

Guidelines

Where there is no recognized and relevant external reporting reference framework, the Group has defined its own reporting procedures, drawn from best practices and draft international standards, that describe the methodology used for compiling, measuring, calculating, checking, analyzing and consolidating data. The environmental and societal reporting guidelines are available in French and English for the entities and on the Veolia website (www. veolia.com). The social reporting reference framework is available for the entities in French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Consolidations and control

The Group uses a software package to conduct automated checks on entities. The data is consolidated and checked by the Group’s Corporate Human Resources Department and Technical and Performance Department for the social and environmental indicators respectively. The societal indicators that are not taken from the social or environmental reporting are consolidated and checked by the department/entity concerned (Finance, Purchasing, Foundation) and subsequently by the Sustainable Development Department.

All the information published by the Group in Chapter 4 has been subject to a specific external review. For fiscal year 2020, the indicators identified by the symbol (√) were checked with a reasonable level of assurance.

Methodological limits

It is important to note that there may be methodological limits to the indicators due to the following:

  • lack of harmonization between national and international legislation;
  • heterogeneous nature of the data managed and the variety of tools in the Group’s many subsidiaries;
  • changes in definition that may affect the comparison of indicators;
  • specific characteristics of labor laws in certain countries;
  • practicalities of data collection;
  • availability of source data on the reporting date.

The indicators should be interpreted with caution, in particular averages, since the figures comprise worldwide data that requires a more detailed analysis at the level of the geographical zone, country or business line in question.

As the methane production of landfill sites cannot be measured on site, it is modeled using the IPCC TIER 2 methodology. The model is recalculated annually based on the following parameters for each site: historic tonnage (since the site’s opening if available), climate data (rainfall, temperature, etc.) and the standard composition of incoming waste (Modecom, Gas Sim, IPCC, etc.).

A recognized performance

Veolia Environnement’s non-financial performance is rated externally based on published information and statements. This rating is valuable, as it is an independent measure of the Group’s performance and allows it to remain attentive to expert opinion.

Environmental performance

Our aim in our day-to-day activities is to resource the world in order to tackle the three key environmental challenges of preserving natural resources, combating climate change and protecting biodiversity.

Veolia is continuing to implement specific action plans, while at the same time refining its reporting processes to better reflect the impact of its activities.

Our three-year environmental plan for 2016-2018, extended to 2019, has been drawn up in conjunction with our strategic and performance plans. We also began the rollout of our new internal EMS in 2015 to support the company’s strategic priorities and engage its operational entities.

Environmental policy and environmental management system

Commitments and targets

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia reconfirmed its environmental commitment in 2015 to better underscore its inclusion of the challenges facing the planet :

Commitment 1 – Sustainably manage natural resources by encouraging the circular economy

2020 target indicator : Generate more than €3.8 billion in revenue in the circular economy

Commitment 2 – Contribute to combating climate change

2020 target indicator: capture over 60 % of methane from managed landfills

2020 target indicator: achieve 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent of reduced emissions over the period 2015-2020

2020 target indicator : achieve 50 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent of avoided emissions over the 2015-2020 period

Engagement 3 – Protect and restore biodiversity

2020 target indicator : carry out a diagnosis and deploy an action plan in 100% of sites with significant biodiversity issues.

In connection with its Purpose, defined in 2019 and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia drew up new multifaceted performance commitments, objectives and targets in 2020. In terms of environmental performance, Veolia undertakes to Combat pollution and accelerate ecological transition. This commitment breaks down into several objectives: 

  • combat climate change ;
  • promote the circular economy ;
  • protect natural environments and biodiversity ; 
  • manage water resources sustainably.

The Veolia environmental policy and its EMS concerns all of its activities *. Its main joint ventures, for instance in China, are fully integrated into its EMS and its environmental reporting. The Veolia Responsible purchasing policy also includes requirements in terms of protection of the environment vis-à-vis its suppliers and subcontractors. Finally, environmental criteria are taken into account by the commitment committees when reviewing new projects, whether they relate to internal growth or corporate acquisition.

*See Registration Document 2020, chapter 1.3 p.23

The Environmental Management System

Since 2002, the Group has rolled out within its BUs an Environmental Management System (EMS) designed to reduce environmental impacts and properly manage the risks and opportunities relating to the environment. It provides a framework that helps to achieve its environmental objectives using a review, assessment and improvement in line with its environmental performance.

The EMS was updated in 2020 to be consistent with the environmental performance presented in Impact 2023. It is based on a continuous improvement approach in which the BUs and their managers play a key role. Each year, the BU director, its management committee and the EMS correspondent conduct a specific analysis: identification of environmental issues, environmental operating performance, sharing of good practices, identification of improvement levers and management of environmental risks. The aim is to analyze the environmental performances of the year and current environmental performances and risks to define corresponding objectives and future action plans.

The 2023 objective is to attain an EMS deployment rate of 95% (compared to 90% in 2019)

This common framework is strengthened locally by environmental management systems recognized externally : ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 certifications, labels, compliance with contractual commitments, etc.

Control and deployment

The Group has also implemented a warning system and a crisis management procedure throughout its locations, particularly to monitor environmental risks and violations. These procedures mean that any necessary measures can be taken on a timely basis and at an appropriate level.

Centers of excellence

In recent years, Veolia has completely restructured the company by strengthening the technical and performance management capabilities of its Water, Waste solutions and Energy businesses. The centers of excellence within certain business areas have been strengthened and expanded, each bringing together a dozen world experts. The standards created by these centers of excellence help to prevent pollution and preserve resources.

186 managers and experts are involved in 25 centers of excellence;  more than 2,800 people are stakeholders in the 26 communities that cover the main business areas; 14 standards have been published.

Deployment

In 2020, 72% of the company’s revenue was covered by ISO 14001 certification. The new environmental management system introduced in 2015 has been rolled out to 94.9% of the scope, with the aim of deployment in all businesses by 2023 of 95%.

While Veolia has set itself the target of continuing to roll out its EMS, it has opted not to systematically pursue ISO 14001 certification for its businesses. Locally, the EMS may be certified on the basis of this standard depending on the management needs of the relevant business unit.

Change in certifications and internal EMS

2020-2023 Environmental Plan

In addition to the 2020 objectives associated with its three commitments for the planet, the Group has broken down its environmental policy into 3-year objectives. These objectives apply to the entire Group scope and each entity must supplement, where relevant, these general objectives with local objectives decided based on an analysis of the major environmental impacts identified for its scope.

The new environmental plan for the period 2020-2023 was prepared in line with the Impact 2023 strategic plan, still based on a materiality analysis of environmental challenges, and in conjunction with Veolia’s Purpose. The selected indicators and defined objectives therefore take into account Veolia’s strategic, operational, commercial and environmental issues.

It comprises around thirty objectives, detailed in the sections below.

Materiality of Environmental Objectives 

For each type of environmental impact (consumption of water, material, energy consumption and production, atmospheric emissions (including greenhouse gas emissions), aqueous discharges, waste management, local nuisances, impact on biodiversity), the Group has determined its most contributing activities. He then defined numerical or trend objectives for those presenting:

  • high interest for external stakeholders;
  • a reasonable level of control by the Group;
  • importance in terms of reducing operating costs or developing business volume.

Raise employee awareness and training

Training and informing employees about environmental issues is an integral part of the measures put in place by the Group in each of the countries where it operates.

The integration process calls for management training and awareness-raising in environmental issues and the challenges specific to Veolia. The Veolia Campus network provides Business Units with access to environmental training. This is supplemented by local training sessions based on identified needs.

In 2020, Veolia launched an e-learning program: “Act for the planet – Climate change issues”. This compulsory module for managers is aimed at understanding the world’s main climate change issues, learning about Veolia commitments to combat climate change and their implementation in the field, master climate-related vocabulary in varied contexts and identifying the best lines of action to support the various stakeholders in their ecological transition.

To raise employees’ awareness of the key social and environmental issues surrounding international or political current affairs, the Sustainable Development Department and the Veolia Institute organize several conferences each year (four in 2019, two in 2020), with presentations by leading specialists. A webcast of these events is available on the Group intranet.

The Veolia Institute also set up “Les rencontres de l’institut” for Group managers to discover current environmental, societal and geopolitical changes by dialoguing with top-notch experts. Short video interviews were streamed to pass on the key messages from these meetings to a wider internal audience. Two meetings were held in 2020, focusing on critical metals and energy transition and the impact of the health crisis on commodity markets. 

With the support of the Veolia Foundation, the Virtual Environment and Sustainable Development University (UVED) has developed online training (MOOC: Massive Open Online Courses) on biodiversity, the causes and challenges of climate change and ecological engineering. Veolia scientific experts have contributed to the educational content (videos) and the Group encourages its employees to enroll in the courses.

Resources dedicated to the prevention of environmental risks

Given the nature of the Group’s activities, the amounts allocated to preventing environmental risks, particularly pollution, account for the majority of its expenses and investments. More specifically, industrial investments amounted to €2,387 million in 2020 and included investments in growth and compliance measures

The Group also invested in employee training, certification programs and the implementation of the EMS. A specific Research and Innovation budget was also renewed (with €56 million R&I spending in 2020).

The Group continued a policy of selective investment, while maintaining industrial investments that were contractually required or that were needed to maintain industrial assets.

Provisions for environmental risks primarily consist of provisions for site closure costs (including provisions for site restoration, the dismantling of equipment and environmental risks). They totaled €678 million in 2020. 

GreenPath, an environmental footprint tool for offerings and contracts

Veolia has developed GreenPath, a web platform used by sales and technical teams to compare the environmental footprints of several solutions and choose, with clients, the solution that best meets their performance objectives. The tool calculates the carbon footprint of new projects and existing contracts in accordance with ISO 14064 and ISO 14069 and their water footprint in accordance with ISO 14046 and assesses their impact on biodiversity. It is available on the Group’s intranet and covers Veolia’s three business lines: Water, Waste and Energy.

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) use in production or system design

In its Research & Innovation Department, Veolia has a team of experts in LCA since 2006. The researchers conduct LCA to compare the environmental benefits of the production or system design of innovative solutions developed by Veolia for its clients, in the following activities: water and wastewater treatment, waste recycling and recovery, energy. Latest example is a water softener system by nano filtering used in a municipal tender on water. The LCA experts also work on european collaborative projects financed by public funds; they include critical reviews.

Environmental fines and penalties

Based on the information available to us, the amounts of fines and penalties paid of more than $10,000, related to environmental legislation are as follows, by year of occurrence of the generating incident:

2017 2018 2019 2020
Number of violations of legal obligations /regulations with fines or penalties paid over $10,000 * 2 0 6 0
Amount of environmental fines and penalties paid over $10,000 * 110,123 0 251,696 0

*the amounts are recorded for the year in which the incident occurred

Promote the circular economy

economie_circulaire_web

By operating its own facilities and those of its customers, Veolia consumes water, energy and raw materials and generates waste. This environmental impact exposes the Group to third-party liability risks.

However, the very nature of Veolia’s business aims to protect resources, as reflected by its motto “Resourcing the world”. 

Veolia builds long-lasting relationships with its customers based, in particular, on its ability to manage risks delegated by them. The Group proposes specific offerings to its customers to protect natural resources: processing waste and “complex contamination”, waste and wastewater energy and product recovery and industrial and regional ecology services.

Policy and commitments

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia adopted the following commitment and 2020 objective in 2015 :

As part of its Purpose and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to combating pollution and accelerating ecological transition. This commitment can be broken down into several objectives, including Promoting the circular economy, mainly by plastic recycling and material recovery. To illustrate this objective, the Group defined a 2023 target for the volume of recycled plastic in the Veolia recycling plants.

Régis Calmes (1) is the sponsor for this objective. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Executive Vice President for the Asia region.

(1) No longer a member as of the date of the 2020 Universal Registration Document.

This objective focuses on: 

  • developing the circular economy;
  •  limiting raw material consumption, mainly through material and energy recovery of waste).

Encouraging the circular economy

Veolia proposes solutions to protect resources in a circular economy by:

  • producing “secondary raw materials” from waste (recycled plastic, rare metals from electronic waste, recovered solvents, compost, refused derived fuels, etc.);
  • producing renewable and recovered energy from waste and wastewater and recovering unavoidable energy;
  • reusing water;
  • pooling multi-customer sites (industrial ecology, biomass heating network).

In 2020, Veolia contributed to discussions on the implementation of the French law on the circular economy through multi-party organizations and professional federations in the sector, defending waste recycling and recovery activities. At European level, the Group actively participated in the European Commission’s Green Deal debates and action plan for the circular economy to promote reuse, recovery and recycling.

Veolia is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) circular economy program, Factor10, which aims to encourage conditions contributing to a more sustainable global economy. The Group contributes to various studies on plastic, regulation and circular measurement indicators. A methodology was developed and made available to companies in 2019.

Establish large-scale partnerships to optimize resource management

In 2018, Tetra Pak and Veolia entered into an innovative recycling partnership through to 2025 for used food packaging components (75% cardboard, 20% plastic and 5% aluminum) collected in the European Union. In addition to cardboard fibers currently recovered as paper paste, the polymer and aluminum mix will be recovered as raw materials for the plastic industry. The value created by the packaging collection and recycling chain is expected to double, making the sector viable in the long-term.

In 2018, Veolia entered into a three-year partnership with Unilever. Solutions to accelerate transition to a circular economy will be deployed in several countries including India and Indonesia: used packaging collection, increasing recycling capacity, developing new processes and technologies, notably for plastics, and creating new economic models. 

Veolia is also involved in the STOP project, co-created by the company SYSTEMIQ and Borealis. This project aims to implement a genuine waste management ecosystem in Indonesia promoting plastic recycling and organic waste composting, to reduce the quantity of waste in the ocean. It will also have a social and economic impact for local people. In 2020, Solvay and Veolia joined forces to set up a circular economy consortium to optimize the recycling of lithium-ion batteries in electrical and hybrid vehicles in Europe, mainly by improving the management and reuse of critical and rare raw materials.

Plastic recycling and recovery strategy

Veolia has defined a plastic strategy to guarantee its industrial clients access to high quality recycled plastic meeting their requirements and comparable to virgin material.

  • Since 2016, the Group has continued its contribution to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s “New plastics economy” initiative, that includes a Global Commitment to eliminate plastic waste pollutions at source, bringing together 250 organizations and countries;
  • Veolia is a member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste along with 40 international companies, that have committed to investing US$1.5 billion over 5 years in plastic waste reduction, collection and recycling, notably in South-East Asia;
  • in March 2020, Veolia signed the “European Plastics Pact”, which aims to identify common ambitions among States and voluntary businesses towards more ambitious goals for single-use plastics and packaging, initiate new cross-border collaborations and develop partnerships around innovations. Veolia took part in the European and French discussions on single-use plastics, recycling and recovery, mainly through multi-player bodies and professional federations in the waste industry;
  • the Group has also entered into partnerships with industrial companies in order to act from the design phase and improve the ability to recycle products and the use of so-called secondary raw materials; 
  • under the indicators associated with the Company’s Purpose, the objective for 2023 is to recycle 610,000 metric tons of plastic in the Group’s transformation plants.

Objective and results

As part of its sustainable development commitment, Sustainably manage natural resources by encouraging the circular economy, Veolia set a circular economy revenue target of over €3.8 billion by 20201. This target involves three business lines: Waste, Water and Energy. This revenue totaled €5.2 billion in 2020.

The 2020 objective has been exceeded since 2017. It was set in 2015 based on forecast revenue taken from the Group’s growth plan. Circular economy revenue currently reflects the definitions below1. In 2020, circular economy revenue remained stable despite a decline in activity in certain business sectors due to the health crisis.

(1) Circular economy revenue: revenue of entities that generate over 50% of their revenue from the following activities: the recovery of hazardous solid and liquid waste, by-products and sludge, water reuse, energy performance contracts, heating, steam and cooling network operations using over 50% non-fossil energy, cogeneration, and multi-activity industrial service contracts.

(*) Estimated value.

(**) The 2016 figure published in the 2016 Registration Document was an estimate based on forecast revenue in the Group’s growth plan. The 2016 figure published in this Registration Document was recalculated based on actual 2016 revenue in the financial statements.

Preserving raw material resources

Residual waste is what is left once all recovery and treatment phases have been completed. Veolia makes every effort to prevent waste production, seeks new recovery possibilities and, when none is possible, treats any waste produced.

Veolia is firmly committed to the recovery chain, particularly by developing methods for recovering materials from the waste it is given for treatment and the byproducts of its activities. It thus helps third parties to reduce their consumption of raw materials by making secondary raw materials available to them.

Veolia also seeks to reduce the raw material consumption of the installations it operates.

Recycling our clients’ waste

Challenges and objectives

In 2020, Veolia collected 28 million metric tons of waste and processed 47.3 million metric tons. 

The Group is responsible for developing innovative and efficient waste management technologies and solutions that enable waste recovery (selective collection, materials and/or energy recovery) and for offering these technologies and solutions to its industrial customers and public authorities, which make the final implementation decision.

The waste generated by industrial companies and households (wood, paper, cardboard, glass, metals, plastic,  etc.) can be recycled and converted into re-usable materials through selective collection and sorting.

Waste that is not suitable for materials recovery can be processed for energy recovery using the heat produced by specially designed incinerators and the recovery of biogas produced by the decomposition of landfilled waste.

Recovery of treated waste

* Calculation methodology refined in 2019 with a more restrictive meaning.

Despite the increase in the quantity of waste treated in certain regions for certain types of waste (plastic, hazardous waste), the overall decrease in waste tonnage treated in 2020 is due to the impact of the health crisis. 

Over and above the performance of Veolia’s recovery activities, these indicators especially reflect the type of contracts signed with its customers (with or without recovery). 

In the 2020-2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia refined the method for calculating energy recovery from waste at landfill sites, making it more restrictive. Based on the 2019 scope, the new objectives are a materials recovery rate of 20% and an energy recovery rate of 30%.

A new specific plastic recycling objective was set for  2023: attain 610,000 metric tons of recycled plastic.

Waste treated by the Group on behalf of customers includes hazardous waste. Veolia has set a 2023 objective of an improvement in the abatement rate for all hazardous waste treated, i.e. the elimination performance for this type of special waste.

To further increase waste recovery at sorting facilities, Veolia conducts projects with Research and Innovation to: 

  • optimize sorting: development of innovative technologies such as remotely operated sorting (refined sorting using touch screens) and sorting using Artificial Intelligence (Max AI ® sorting robot); 
  • search for recycling solutions for complex waste derived from new technology: electronic equipment, plastics or solar panels; 
  • produce so-called “refused-derived fuels”, an alternative fuel for cement plants and for incineration electricity and heat production.

Veolia applies a strict hierarchy when it comes to waste management: avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, treat, and dispose.

Principle: explore all waste recovery methods to find the best solution. Waste that is not suitable for materials recovery can be treated with processes allowing energy recovery (recovery of heat where waste is incinerated, recovery of biogas emitted by the decomposition of landfilled waste, etc.).

 

Waste materials recovery

Between 2011 and 2019, waste materials recovery rose by 4 percentage points from 15% to 20%. There remain many obstacles to expanding in this area. In some countries, the recycling rate may be 100%, while in others it is close to 2.4%.

In France, the Law for Energy Transition and Green Growth (LTECV) and its numerous application texts have provided a clarified framework for waste management activities. The fruit of several years of work to which our profession contributed, these texts marked a turning point towards a more circular economy. As early as 2014, Veolia’s CEO had submitted to the French Minister of the Economy, the recommendations of the Recycling and Green Materials working group of waste and recycling industry players aimed at fostering the emergence of competitive and innovative recycling industries in France. The stakes are economic, environmental and also social: several thousand permanent and non relocatable jobs can be created thanks to the implementation of a recycling industry.

In France, transition is well underway and the implementation of a regulatory framework resulted in:

  • ADEME calls for projects in 2016 for solid recovered fuels, repeated in 2017;
  • the Orplast program, supporting plastic waste recycling projects
  • the CITEO recovery plan, which has enabled the emergence of projects to modernize household waste sorting centers.

Since then, the roadmap for the circular economy (FREC) has set ambitious targets for reducing the tonnage of waste sent to landfill (-50% by 2050) in favor of recycling, consideration of waste as a resource and energy recovery. At the end of 2017, Veolia contributed, through multi-stakeholder organizations and professional federations in the waste sector, to the French government’s proposal to define this circular economy roadmap for the country.

Veolia is also a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) circular economy program, Factor10, which aims to encourage conditions contributing to a more sustainable global economy. The Group contributes to various studies on plastic, regulation and circular measurement indicators. A methodology was developed and made available to companies in 2019.

Innovating to recover new types of waste

Veolia develops specific recycling technologies for new types of products, such as solar panels at the end of their useful life, a market expected to reach millions of metric tons by 2050. 

In 2018, Veolia launched the first solar panel recycling plant in France and Europe, in Rousset, with PV CYCLE and the Syndicat des énergies renouvelables (Renewable energies union). Between 1,800 and 4,000 metric tons of material per year will be separated to be recycled in various industrial sectors: glass is transformed into clean cullet for the glass production sector, the frame is used at an aluminum refinery, plastics are used as recovered fuel in the cement industry, silicon is used in the precious metals sectors, cables and connectors are ground down into copper shot. This expertise could be replicated in other countries. 

In 2020, GE Renewable Energy signed an agreement with Veolia to recycle its onshore wind turbine blades in the United States. This recycling contract, the first of its kind in the U.S. wind turbine industry, will turn the blades into a raw material for use in cement manufacturing. Veolia will use a co-processing solution that has already proven its effectiveness in Europe: the blades – mainly composed of fiberglass – will be shredded and the material obtained will then be used in the kilns to replace the coal, sand and clay needed to make cement. More than 90% of the blade will be reused: 65% as raw material in the cement plants, and 28% transformed into energy required for the chemical reaction in the kiln. This solution, which can be rapidly deployed at scale, increases the environmental benefits of the wind industry.

Sorting and recycling materials

By promoting source-separated collection and sorting of the waste (wood, paper, cardboard, glass, metals, plastics, etc.) generated by industrial companies and households, Veolia can optimize recycling of such waste and transform it into reusable materials.

Veolia recovers waste materials at 236 sorting and recycling centers.

The various components of complex waste, such as waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and fluorescent bulbs are sorted at these specialized centers.

Veolia works upstream to develop recycling processes in partnership with industrial clients and the company’s Research & Innovation Center. The recycled materials are sold or transferred to intermediaries or directly to industrial clients for use in their processes.


Biological waste recovery

Waste materials recovery also includes processes for recovering organic waste known as “biological recovery”. Veolia has become an expert in all treatment technologies, thanks in large part to the one hundred or so sites that it operates worldwide.

In 2020, Veolia recovered 1.91 million metric tons of organic waste(1) and produced 1.04 million metric tons of quality compost(2). To date, Veolia has 10 anaerobic digestion sites on waste sites around the world (Germany, France and Australia in particular).

(1) Waste sent for composting in 2020, excluding household waste and sludge

(2) including sludge

The work done by Veolia over many years has resulted in the development of research programs and patented processes. These are improveing the effectiveness of biological treatments and help with the use of soil enriching agents for agricultural reuse purposes. and facilitating the use of things such as soil conditioners in agricultural recycling.

  • BiokapTM is the complement of aeration composting process. It is characterized by the covering of the composting windrow, with a layer of 25 to 60 cm, made up of organic material alone or mixed with inorganic material. This biological cover helps to improve the composting process (better decomposition, reducing the fermentation time, maintaining the temperature in the windrow), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to treat odors.
  • Metha-dataTM is a web application which provides securely online access to characteristics, composition parameters and methane potential of all types of or- ganic substrates. For some key substrate, reference sheets are also avail- able inthe tool. They aimto synthesize all information and figures for these substrates: characteristics, feed- stock, composition, ability to anaerobic digestion, experience feedback. The METHA-Datal” database is upgradable and is intended to be continuously enhanced by the results and expertise of Veolia.
  • ValobioTM is a one-year E-learning training tool, mainly for operators of Veolia Environmental Services biological treatment units. It develops skills in many fields (biological, chemical, mechanical, technical, regulatory, security, commer- cial) and provides a global understanding of biological treatment processes, the market andits opportunities. lt provides a flexible organization with an individual follow-up by the trainer, and promotes exchanges and the creation of a professional network, especially with meetings organized throughout the training. Since its inception in 2004, VALOBIOM has already trained 450 operators (in French and in English).
  • Decision Tree, a tool designed to select the most suitable organic chain according to the tonnage or the material collected. Two types of recovery are possible for residual household waste and clean organic waste: energy recovery (biofuels, electricity, network gas injections, heating) and agricultural recycling (fertilizer and compost).

Three partnerships between Veolia and the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment of Grignon (INRAE) (a French public research institute working for sustainable development of agriculture, food and the environment) have resulted in:

  • the QualiagroTM research program, which aims to determine the agricultural value of composts formed from urban waste, as well as their environmental impact, on the basis of long-term field trials and laboratory research. The results achieved have direct applications in manufacturing composts and for their directions for use.
  • the development of Carbo ProTM, a decision-making tool that creates spreading scenarios by calculating changes in the amount of carbon in the soil over time depending on the quantity and quality of organic soil conditioners added, as well as facilitating the use of soil conditioners. In agriculture, the addition of organic waste products such as compost, sludge, digestates and manure helps to increase the amount of carbon in the soil, making it more fertile. This tool is available to all free of charge at www.carbo-pro.fr.
  • Soil AdvisorTM, a tool for optimizing reasoned fertilization : Veolia Research and Innovation has developed a decision support tool with the INRAE to support teams in contact with farmers in reasoning fertilization with organic products, using a diagnostic – simulation – optimization approach. In 2017, the Century model developed by the University of Colorado (CSU) was adapted and calibrated for French soils by Veolia teams in collaboration with CSU using field trial data. Century makes it possible to couple the dynamics of carbon and nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), an essential point for a global optimization of fertilization (organic and mineral). A multi-objective algorithm, developed and tested in 2018 is available under the name Soil AdvisorTM. Deployed in France in collaboration with SEDE, a subsidiary of Veolia, the tool has shown that the organic carbon content of the soil degrades over time when supplied with mineral fertilizer, but that an improvement in this is possible with a contribution of compost, and this, while maintaining the cost/benefit ratio (based on a field trial conducted in Calvados, France).

 

Bioconversion

To innovate in biowaste processing, Veolia has begun to contribute to bioconversion initiatives. This consists in breeding flies that produce larvae that will then feed on selected organic waste. These larvae are then transformed into protein concentrates that can be used for aquaculture, as a substitute for fish meal.

Veolia entered into a partnership with Entofood, a French start-up based in Malaysia, to open a first plant in 2018, drawing on their complementary know-how: Entofood has the technology required for this new form of recovery; Veolia has the knowledge and expertise regarding the organic source on a global scale.

In France, through its subsidiary SEDE, Veolia is also a partner of the start-up Mutatec, in the Vaucluse region, which is developing black soldier fly farms to feed aquaculture and poultry farming. The fly larva has great potential and in 2017, the European Commission authorized the use of animal proteins processed from insects for aquaculture. Bioconversion by insects presents a new opportunity that complements the range of solutions SEDE offers its customers, ensuring the best recovery solutions for their organic waste.

 

A partnership with Yara to recycle nutrients

This partnership is based on Veolia’s access to growing volumes of recovered nutrients and expertise in handling organic materials and Yara’s mineral fertilizer production expertise and crop nutrition knowledge. The goal is to connect the end and beginning of today’s food value chain and effectively close the nutrient cycle. Veolia and Yara seek to scale up nutrient recycling in three promising sectors. They are developing new business models for a circular agriculture based on nutrient recycling processes to obtain high quality fertilizer products. They rely on both existing production processes and local recovery, processing, distribution and sales. Veolia and Yara also intend to create a Food-to-Agriculture value chain by collecting and processing food surpluses in cities. They have already set up a circular economy loop by recycling ammonia produced from composting green waste and wastewater sludge. In addition to other recovered materials, the recycled ammonia is further processed into sodium nitrate and reused in wastewater facilities to prevent odor and corrosion.

Combating food waste

Veolia helps supermarket chains comply with regulatory provisions on reducing food waste. In France, Veolia signed a partnership with the social-economy start-up Eqosphère. This start-up optimizes sorting processes and trains employees in stores; Veolia optimizes the recovery of unsold items and biowaste. The result: lower waste volumes, optimized treatment of biowaste and the recovery of unsold goods for reuse by associations and charities.

Innovation in biowaste treatment with Bioconversion
Veolia has engaged in bioconversion initiatives which consist in breeding flies that will produce larvae that feed on organic waste. The larvae are then crushed to make protein concentrates that can be used in aquaculture, replacing fish meal. Veolia has joined forces with Entofood, a French start-up based in Malaysia, to set up a plant, and with the start-up Mutatec in France. Fly larvae have considerable environmental and growth potential.

 

Search to recycle phosphorous used as agricultural fertilizer
Since 2012, Veolia has worked to develop methods of remove pollution and recover and recycle the nutrients contained in wastewater, in partnership with academic teams, and institutional and industrial players in Europe. The phosphorous used in agriculture (key fertilizer nutrient) and animal feed is primarily produced by mining, but this resource is limited. To help reduce environmental impacts and satisfy an ever increasing demand, Veolia developed the StruviaTM solution which paves the way for phosphorous recycling in Europe.

 

Waste-to-energy recovery

In addition to materials recycling and composting, Veolia also recovers waste for energy purposes.

The objectives and measures put in place to expand waste-to-energy recovery have enabled the company to increase its production of renewable and alternative energy.

 

Promoting responsible behaviour

With 40 contracts in France (covering nearly 1.1 million inhabitants) and some 60 in Germany implementing incentive-based pricing for waste collection and treatment, Veolia has valuable feedback on the operational aspects, as well as on communication, forecasting inhabitants’ behavior and the administrative and fiscal set-up of this approach. In this way, Veolia is helping public authorities raise awareness of the need to move from a flat-rate, invisible tax to a transparent fee that is proportional to each person’s efforts.

According to studies by ADEME, incentivized pricing results in a positive change in the flow of waste generated by users of the collection service:

  • residual household waste decreases by 15% to 50% by weight;
  • recyclables increase by 10% to 100% by weight, without any change in the quality of sorting;
  • recycling increases by 30% to 50%;
  • the overall quantity of waste collected remains stable or decreases slightly, whereas it is continuing to increase for all French municipalities as a whole*.

* Source: ADEME, studies performed in France and internationally.

Incentivized pricing presents an advantage for the municipality by lowering the associated collection cost and increasing revenue, and for the environment by achieving the objectives of waste reduction at the source and increased household waste recovery. For households, even if this system does not always result in any immediate savings, incentivized pricing does limit the additional cost that would have been passed on if it had not been introduced. Lastly, the principle of incentivized pricing is equitable (users pay as a function of actual usage of the waste collection service, in the same way as they pay for the water or electricity they consume) and it encourages cost transparency.

The Urban Resourcers approach

With Urban Resourcers, Veolia helps communities become eco-responsible and committed ambassadors to reduce their impact on the environment. 

Driven by Veolia’s mission statement “Resourcing the World”, we propose to deploy the Urban Resourcers (UR) approach in the regions and to turn citizens into committed ambassadors of eco-responsibility, concerned about their environmental impacts. 

This approach is divided into two parts that we want to be totally linked and intertwined:

  • A community dimension through which citizens will be able to engage in a participatory manner and which will give rise to the animation of workshops and direct interactions with citizens. In a global way, the Urban Resourcers approach proposes, on the one hand, the creation of communities on the theme of eco-responsibility, and the issues that we will define with our local authority clients. The vision of these communities is to engage people (at home, in their city, at work) to act in an eco-responsible way and to measure the impact of their actions, especially their carbon footprint. Each community must have a clear purpose and a community guide to achieve ambitious environmental goals. Community management allows members to interact/discuss, meet physically, and propose solutions/tools that meet the needs of the community and the challenges of our organization. The content that we propose to create on the theme of “zero waste” in particular, will feed these communities, giving very practical information on: sorting, reuse, measuring the carbon footprint, mutual aid in case of crisis, … The objective of this innovative initiative is to make each territory a place of exchange and interaction with citizens, on all themes of eco-responsibility. 
  • On the other hand, a digital ecosystem that provides information on Veolia’s business lines and sustainable development commitments, engages citizens through contextualized information, useful and participative features, and brings our business services to the door or into the pocket of citizens, while allowing for fast and dynamic administration. Veolia’s Digital Urban Resourcers ecosystem, adapted to the territory, also allows for the centralization of waste information and therefore better distribution to citizens. The open and multi-channel logic of the distribution, visible to the citizen, makes it possible to take full account of any applications put forward by our clients and, above all, of local uses and partners. In a very concrete way, we are also building a centralized database of waste collection points (Glass, Plastics, Cardboard, Batteries, WEEE, Light bulbs…) present on the territories as well as the reuse and recycling solutions proposed by the local actors. This work in partnership with our customers allows a better distribution of information to citizens according to their needs. Indeed, when a citizen is looking for a recycling solution for a product or a waste, he can find the nearest collection point or service according to his geolocation on his city’s website via a dedicated widget. To go further, we are working on an image recognition technology for nearly 80 types of products and waste in order to offer citizens an application that will make sorting even easier. Thanks to the recognition of the photo, the application queries the database and suggests the easiest and most ecological solution to the user, then rewards him for his action. This global approach is adapted to the expectations and needs of our local authority clients and can be co-constructed with them, the local players and all the stakeholders in the territories.

This global approach will be adapted to the expectations and needs of our local government clients and can be co-constructed with them, local actors and all the stakeholders in the territories.

In 2020-2021, we are currently following two experiments, for now, in France, that will allow us to measure the relevance and impact of this approach:

  • The creation and animation of a citizen community in the community of communes of the Lunéville-Baccarat territory
  • The deployment of a digital ecosystem, with our partner Publidata, on the territory of the CARF (Communauté d’agglomération de la Riviera Française)

 

Recycling by-products generated by the company’s activities

Challenges and Objectives

The Group generates final waste and primarily:

  • residual waste from incineration (bottom ash and residues) and waste sorting and recycling (sorting refusals) in the Waste business;
  • combustion waste (bottom ash and fly ash) in the Energy business;
  • sludge from municipal wastewater treatment in the Water business.

Across its entire business, Veolia proposes solutions to its customers to reduce final waste production.

Change in residual waste production

(1) Scope: all bottom ash from non-hazardous waste incineration exploited by Veolia, irrespective of whether Veolia has contractual responsibility for management of the bottom ash.
(2) For wastewater treatment plants with a population equivalent capacity of over 100,000.
(3) At heat production and distribution facilities exceeding 100 GWhTh.

The increased production of residual waste by the Waste business is due to greater processing capacity for certain types of waste, and notably hazardous waste, in line with one of the pillars of our Impact 2023 strategic plan.

Breakdown of residual waste production by activity in 2020

Objectives and results

Recovery rate for the main types of residual waste produced by the Group’s activities

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2023 objective
Recovery rate for residual bottom ash from waste incineration (1) (as a %) 87.7% 84.8% 92.2% 92.5% 93.6% 90%
Recovery rate for combustion waste in the Energy business (fly ash, bottom ash) (as a %) 74% 70% 70%
Recovery rate for wastewater treatment sludge (as a %) 63% 57% 58% 64% (2) 70% (2) > 75%

(1) Scope: bottom ash where Veolia is contractually responsible for management.

(2) Since 2019, this indicator includes waste recovered as energy (biogas).

The decrease in the recovery rate for combustion waste is due to lower demand for the reuse of these by-products, as well as the inclusion of new facilities that do not recovery by-products at this stage.

In 2020, the global recovery rate for residual bottom ash from waste incineration where Veolia is contractually responsible for management and combustion waste in the Energy business is 81.6%

Incineration residues

The recovery of bottom ash, the non-combustible solid residue produced by incineration, is regulated according to its source. After a period of maturation and depending on its composition, it may be recovered as road construction material. In quantity terms, it accounts for roughly 17% of incinerated non-hazardous waste.

Veolia is contractually responsible for managing 60% of the bottom ash produced by the incinerators that it operates, equivalent to around 1.0 million metric tons; 93.6% of this was recovered in 2020. When bottom ash cannot be recovered, it is stored at a landfill site for household and similar waste.

Flue gas residues are stabilized and then stored in landfills for residual hazardous waste. In quantity terms, they account for roughly 3% of incinerated non-hazardous waste.

The 2023 objective is a recovery rate of 90% for incineration bottom ash.

Recover wastewater sludge

Wastewater treatment produces sludge, which is a concentrate of the organic and mineral material previously contained in the water.

With population growth and increasingly sophisticated wastewater treatment systems, public authorities and industrial companies are faced with growing sludge volumes. Veolia’s challenge is to transform this sludge to reduce the related management costs and recover it:

  • as products that can be used in agriculture (spreading and composting) when the quality of the sludge and the availability of suitable land permits (37% in 2020), or industry;
  • as energy (33% in 2020): anaerobic digestion, use as a replacement fuel, incineration with energy recovery.

Veolia promotes sludge recovery solutions. However, the Group does not always have decision-making powers over the choice of treatment and recovery solution. The Group ensures that the quality of the sludge is always appropriate for the customer’s intended use. The 2019 objective was attained. The 2023 objective is a recovery rate of 75% for wastewater treatment sludge.

SEDE Environnement, a company subsidiary, uses a diverse range of complementary systems to ensure a constant outlet for sludge under strict compliance with the applicable regulations.

 Areas of Veolia’s research for sludge recovery

Research is largely focused on maximizing the energy potential of sludge and, in particular, the use of digestion to increase biogas yields. The health and environmental impacts and the lifecycle analysis (LCA) of the various systems for sludge recovery are the subject of studies, together with the choice and sizing of dewatering techniques tied to each of the sludge treatment systems, and isolation for deferred treatment of the sludge fractions that are difficult to recover.

Another area of research is the recovery of by-products from wastewater treatment. The aim is to turn treatment plants into “bio-refineries” by exploiting certain fractions of the organic matter. Together with specialist companies and partners such as CNRS, the French scientific research center, Veolia’s research and development teams have already developed innovative, experimental recovery systems producing organic intermediaries, such as bio plastics.

AdWaste2Gas: results of a sludge/biomass co-gasification pilot

Adwaste2Gas is a new gasification technology based on the thermochemical conversion principle and enabling the production of syngas – a gas rich in hydrogen – from the transformation of a mix of wastewater treatment plant sludge and other solid waste. A trial in Avignon, in France, demonstrated the technical feasibility of the activity and the technology and its good positioning compared with competitive technologies. The project was carried out in collaboration with three companies: A3I, Femag and Snecmmi and an academic laboratory – LM2P2 at Aix-Marseille University.

Finally, the dual challenge of recovering sludge as a material and as energy is reflected in the Group’s implementation of technologies adapted to each situation and to each destination chosen by the client .

  • In the United States, Veolia has been producing compost for the city of Baltimore for more than 24 years, in compliance with the strictest standards set by the State of Maryland and the health authorities. In Milwaukee, Veolia operates a facility that converts dried sludge into milorganite (for Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen), a high-quality biosolid fertilizer.
  • In France, Veolia has obtained Qualicert certification in La Roche-sur-Yon for the production of sewage sludge for agricultural spreading. This certification covers upstream monitoring of discharges arriving at the wastewater treatment plant, control of sludge composition and the safety of sludge production. The agricultural spreading of recycled fertilizer materials from the plant is also certified, guaranteeing the traceability of the process, the adequacy of the needs and quantities spread, and the training of the personnel involved.
  • In Hong Kong, Veolia has the largest sewage sludge treatment plant in the world, with 2,000 metric tons treated per day and 110 employees. Self-sufficient in water and energy, it treats the sludge from 11 wastewater treatment plants in the region (7.2 million inhabitants). The technology applied allows for a 90% reduction in waste and thus protects the natural environment without any discharge into the sea, but also produces heat for three swimming pools located near the plant and electricity for 4,000 homes.

Smart Agriculture, an application for compost valorization
This research project aims to develop a commercial tool to better valorize organic waste products from waste and wastewater treatment processes: composts, digestates, recycled fertilizers. The tool includes in situ diagnosis of soil quality (coupling of carbon dynamics and nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and a module for optimization of the fertilization solution. The prediction and optimization steps are based on agronomic models describing the evolution of soil parameters as a function of time, agricultural practices and the pedoclimatic context. The model was first developed by the University of Colorado (CSU) and then adapted and calibrated for French soils by Veolia teams using field trial data.

Reducing the consumption of materials at sites operated by Veolia

Raw materials consumed (excluding fuels) are mainly treatment reagents used to produce drinking water and treat wastewater (notably urea, ammoniac, coagulants and flocculants). Their consumption is monitored internally and the related greenhouse gas emissions are included in the Group’s scope 3 emissions.

The Group optimizes raw material consumption and efficiency of use:

  • at an economic level: through a cost savings plan;
  • at an environmental level: through reduction objectives for Group greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Water business, several solutions optimize the consumption of materials:

  • predictive regulation of reagents to optimize dosage levels. For example, the PrédiflocTM process reduces coagulant consumption by 15% on average;
  • matching the size of storage tanks to actual requirements helps manage supplies more effectively, ensure consumption is properly planned and limit the number of truck journeys

Combat climate change

Cities produce 70% of global CO2 emissions([1]) and as such the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must focus on them and their territories. As a leading provider of environmental services, Veolia partners with many municipalities to assist them in their efforts. It also accompanies industrial customers, for whom this is equally a major challenge.

The Group is committed to reducing its emissions across its entire business chain to limit global warming to 2°C by the end of the century compared with the pre-industrial era.

It designs, supplies and operates solutions for its customers – both cities and industrial companies – to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Group mobilizes its Research & Innovation department to identify long-term solutions (with €56 million R&I spending in 2020) and develop new contractual models to accompany its partners and also advocates for carbon pricing.

Veolia is exposed to the risks of climate change either due to the consequences of natural disasters on its sites or locations, or due to the impact of weather conditions on its business activities, particularly the Water and Energy businesses.

In order to help combat climate change, Veolia is committed to implement solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), both for itself and its clients

 

([1]) Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements 2011 – Abridged.

 

Challenges and actions

By taking charge of heat production and distribution activities, as well as energy efficiency, waste management and water treatment activities for our municipal and industrial clients, Veolia accepts a significant share of the responsibility for managing the associated emissions.

Strategy

On the international political agenda since 2015 with the signing of the Paris Agreement, carbon neutrality is now a universal goal. The aim is to limit the global temperature increase to “well below 2°C” compared to pre-industrial levels by achieving “a balance between anthropogenic emissions and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases” (GHG). This global carbon neutrality objective is rolled out at Group activity level in:

  • its long-term growth outlook, including the medium-term strategy (2016-2019 then 2020-2023) ; this is reflected in the GHG emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative and the combating climate change multifaceted performance indicators
  • the decisions to transform its businesses;
  • an economic outlook compatible with a carbon neutral world.

A substantial change in growth models is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Veolia implements specific diagnostic tools for each business (production of heat for municipal heating networks and industrial companies, waste management, water management, etc.) to support its customers’ strategy with a focus on resource-saving consumption: improving the energy efficiency of installations and services, converting coal-based thermal plants to an energy mix with fewer emissions by incorporating renewable and alternative energies, and recovering materials (e.g. plastic, solar panel recycling) and energy (e.g. recovery of biogas from waste and waste heat).

Veolia’s strategy therefore incorporates the reduction of GHG emissions within the scope of directly-owned assets and operational responsibility through partnerships with its customers, as well as in its value chain according to its influence capacity.

However, the scenarios, based on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, indicate that temperatures will rise between 3.7°C and 4.8°C by 2100. The impact of climate change can already be seen in certain regions. Veolia’s solutions for local communities and industrial companies in terms of water management or resilience to natural disasters contribute to regional adaptation and resilience. In areas where water resources are increasingly scarce, Veolia develops alternative solutions including the reuse of waste water, sea water desalination and management of the large water cycle, incorporating nature-based solutions.

The Group mobilizes its Research and Innovation teams to identify sustainable solutions and develops innovative contractual offers and models to support its partners in reducing emissions such as optimizing energy management of tertiary buildings, or adapting to climate change through flood prevention solutions.

In the Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia:

  • undertakes to convert its coal-based activities in Europe by replacing coal with other less-polluting and most often renewable energy sources by 2030. An investment plan has been developed to this end;
  • aims, through the development of its activities, to avoid emitting 15 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2023.

Challenges and commitments

Challenges

Climate change raises physical risks to which Veolia and its customers must adapt. The necessary transition to a low-carbon economy also generates transition risks, while generating significant business opportunities for the Group, may also include risks related to this transition. These risks may have a negative impact on the Company due to the consequences that natural disasters may have on its sites or locations, the impact of weather conditions on its business activities, particularly the Water and Energy businesses, or changes in regulations, particularly on energy production and CO2 allowance markets.

In order to help combat climate change, Veolia is committed to implementing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and limit climate change, both for itself and its customers.

In 2020, direct GHG emissions (scope 1)1 and indirect GHG emissions linked to energy purchases (scope  2)2 of Group operations amounted to 30 million metric tons CO2 eq.. 47% was generated by its Energy business (mainly the operation of heating networks) and 41% by its Waste business (mainly methane emissions (CH4)3 in landfills and CO2 emissions by incinerators). The distribution of GHG emissions (scope 1 and 2) by business does not directly correlate with the distribution of revenue (see diagram below). The Group also calculates other indirect emissions (scope 3)4: emissions linked to significant sources of scope 3 represent 36% of scope 1 and 2.

(1) Direct GHG emissions (Scope 1): Direct emissions from fixed or mobile facilities within the organizational perimeter, i.e. emissions from sources held or controlled by the organization, such as: fixed and mobile combustion, industrial processes excluding combustion, biogas from landfills, refrigerant leaks, etc.

(2) Indirect emissions linked to energy purchases (Scope 2): Indirect emissions linked to the imported production of electricity, heat or steam for the organization’s activities. Veolia also includes losses from electricity and heat distribution networks operated by the Group.

(3) The global warming potential of biogenic methane (CH4) over 100 years is 28 times higher than carbon dioxide (CO2), GIEC AR5 report, 2014.

(4) Other indirect emissions (Scope 3): Other emissions indirectly produced by the organization’s activities which are not recognized in scope 2 but which are linked to the complete value chain, such as: the purchase of raw materials (electricity, heat or gas for a retail business, etc.), services or other products (reagents, etc.), business travel, upstream and downstream transport of goods, managing waste generated by the organization’s activities, use and end of life of sold products and services, capitalization of production goods and equipment, etc.

Overall, changes to regulations provide new market opportunities for the Group’s activities:

  • Veolia is a player in the low-carbon transition and provides its customers with solutions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (energy efficiency, use of renewable energies, capturing and recovering methane, waste material and energy recovery). In 2020, GHG not emitted due to Group activities represented 47% of emissions (scopes 1 and 2);
  • the Group is also committed to implementing solutions to adapt to the effects of climate change, particularly for managing the small and large water cycle.

The Group’s Research and Innovation activities contribute fully to developing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and optimize energy consumption, as well as technical solutions to adapt to climate change. Regional resilience is supported by the Seureca consulting and engineering division.

Policy and commitments

As part of its commitments to sustainable development, Veolia adopted the following commitment and 2020 objectives in 2015.

(1) See definition of the three indicators above.

(2) The Group’s 2020 sustainable development objectives for the climate objective were set based on the business changes presented to investors in the long-term plan in 2015 and the related GHG emissions calculated business-by-business.

(3)No longer a member as of the date of this Universal Registration Document.

The 2020 cumulated reduced emissions objective was not attained due to the early sale during the period 2015-2020 of high contribution activities (notably energy production sites in Gabon and Lithuania and waste landfill sites with methane recovery in Asia).

The 2020 cumulated avoided emissions objective, set in 2014, was particulary ambitious and founded on an assumption of sustained growth in recycling activities, notably in Asia. This growth was however slower than expected. In addition, the 2016 sale of French metal recycling activity had a significant impact on the final result.

As part of its Purpose and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to combating pollution and accelerating ecological transition. This commitment can be broken down into several objectives, including combating climate change. To illustrate this objective, the Group defined two 2023 targets, one to reduce GHG emissions, the other to increase avoided GHG emissions.

Patrick Labbat is the sponsor for this objective. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Executive Vice President for the Northern Europe region.

Veolia has adopted the conclusions of the IPCC report of October 2018 on “The impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty”. On adopting a Purpose in April 2019, the Group embedded its activity in a framework of fair transition to benefit regions through its customers, both public authorities and industrial groups.

The Group contributes fully to the carbon neutral approach of sites under its operational responsibility. This approach is based around four complementary lines of action:

Line no. 1: Reduce the Group’s GHG emissions based on measuring and reporting scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions reducing the Group’s GHG emissions. Veolia’s responsibility is divided between:

  • its own assets, such as the investment plan to eliminate coal in Europe by 2030, estimated at €1.2 billion,
  • activities and services for which the Group exercises operational control where decisions (choice of energy mix, investments) are shared with its customers or supported by them,
  • and in the value chain, depending on the Group’s sphere of influence.

In 2019, Veolia committed to a 22% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions (scopes 1 and 2) over 15 years, that is by 2034, compared with the operational scope of the 2018 reference year2. This objective is compatible with Paris Agreement ambitions (below 2DS trajectory) and was validated by the Science Based Targets2 initiative.

Progression towards the Science Based Targets approved target

2019 2020 2023 interim objective SBT approved 2034 objective
Reduction in GHG emissions / 2018 SBT reference scope (%)  +0.5% -0.4% -3% -22%

Group GHG emissions in the SBT scope were expected to increase slightly until 2020 and then decrease. They decreased in 2020 thanks to an improved methane capture rate at landfill sites in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. To achieve the objective of a 22% reduction in emissions by 2034, a thermal coal substitution policy and a new methane capture target have been set in the 2020-2023 Environmental Plan.

(1) The scope adopted for the change in GHG emissions in the context of the SBT initiative is the 2018 scope under operational control. In the event of cessation of a contract, it will not longer be included in the change in emissions, with prior year changes remaining earned.

(2) The SBTi provides companies with GHG emission reduction pathways enabling them to calculate by how much they must reduce their own emissions and within what time frame to contribute to the Paris climate agreement. https://sciencebasedtargets.org/companies-taking-action/

Main drivers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The average methane capture rate (at constant scope) at landfill sites increased by 2% between 2019 and 2020, from 53.9% to 56.5%. This good performance was driven by a net improvement in the capture rate at sites in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong and the installation of biogas capture equipment at several landfill sites in Latin America.

Line no. 2: develop solutions to help its customers to avoid emissions, through the generalization of the circular economy and the recovery of unavoidable energy.

Emissions avoided by Veolia customers, tied to the 2020-2023 strategic plan

(1) Emissions avoided by the Group’s businesses under the 2020-2023 strategic plan are not calculated in the same way as for the 2015-2020 sustainable development commitment, following changes to the methodology and notably the integration of preliminary guidance on accounting for avoided emissions for the waste and recycling sector (EIT Climate KIC – January 2020) and the emissions avoided by the Energy business (cogeneration and production of renewable and alternative energies).

Avoided emissions increased over 6% between 2019 and 2020, from 12.1 to 12.8 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. This good performance was driven by the significant increase in the use of biomass to produce energy (particularly in the United States, China and Japan) and the development of material recycling, notably in France and Asia, with new sorting centers integrated into the operating scope and an increase in material tonnage received and recovered at existing sites.

Line no. 3: offset GHG emissions through projects allowing the issue of carbon credits (e.g. recovering biogas from landfill sites in Latin America), by participating in the development of the French low carbon certification through I4CE, creating offsetting opportunities in France or by implementing voluntary offsetting initiatives (e.g. SEDIF carbon neutral water contract, 4.6 million users in 2020);

Line no. 4: CO2 sequestration through a service offering for the operation of industrial CO2 sequestration sites and a research program focusing on demonstrating carbon sequestration on agricultural land and improving this potential through optimization of organic soil conditioner use.

Emission pathways and scenarios

As climate change raises both transition risks and physical risks, Veolia addresses transition scenarios and adaptation scenarios in its strategic planning. Veolia contributed to the AFEP study, “Guiding companies to build their energy & climate scenarios” and the EFRAG European Lab Project Task Force (PTF) on climate-related reporting, to identify best practice and particularly the use of climate scenarios.

Transition scenarios

The 15-year GHG emission reduction targets for Veolia’s operational scope were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative as compatible with the Paris climate agreement objectives.

Veolia – a responsible player in energy transition: towards thermal coal substitution

Veolia’s coal activities amount to 2.9% of its revenue and 31% of direct emissions of activities under the Group’s operational control in 2017. Veolia has decided to take a position regarding coal-fueled heat and electricity production. In 2018, the Board of Directors put Veolia on the path to substituting thermal coal: Veolia is committed to not developing or acquiring new activities using coal, except activities specifically aiming to replace coal with energies producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Rather than passing on the responsibility through divestiture, the Group agrees to start converting its existing business activities to totally remove the CO2 impact of using coal over time by combining several drivers: improving energy performance by increasing thermal plants and networks efficiency and implementing energy efficiency solutions, as well as replacement of coal, either with alternative fuels (waste, biomass, gas) or by using recovered waste heat.

In its 2020-2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia set a target investment completion rate for the conversion of coal-fired power plants in Europe by 2030, at sites where Veolia controls investment.

As early as September 2014, Veolia advocated for a robust and predictable carbon price by signing the statement issued by the World Bank. In April 2015, the Group showed its commitment by supporting the World Economic Forum’s CEO climate leaders’ initiative. In May 2015, Veolia Environnement signed the Global Compact Business Leadership Criteria, the Carbon pricing leadership coalition and that of the AFEP/MEDEF. Its Chairman and CEO advocates for a carbon fee which would tax greenhouse gas pollution and redistribute these funds directly to mitigation projects. At the same time, Veolia has set an internal carbon price which will increase until 2030. It reflects its vision of changes in regulations governing the markets in which it operates and is applicable to investment projects.

Contributing to carbon neutral regions

Veolia contributes actively to reducing GHG emissions in the regions and countries where it operates. In 2018 and 2019, Veolia took part in the Net Zero Emissions 2050 study (“ZEN 2050”) study supported by Entreprises Pour l’Environnement (EPE), the contribution of a multi-sector business group to the discussion on the National Low Carbon Strategy in France. Together with Imperial College of London, Veolia contributed to the study “An exploration of the resource sector’s greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and its potential to reduce the carbon shortfall in the UK 4th and 5th carbon budgets”(2) .

(2) “An exploration of the resource sector’s greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and its potential to reduce the carbon shortfall in the UK 4th and 5th carbon budgets”.

The Group advocates for a scientific accounting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The leading scientific body, CITEPA, verified the GreenPath tool developed by Veolia to measure the carbon footprint of contracts and offers complies with the GHG Protocol Carbon Footprint® and ISO standards. In 2019, Veolia also began drafting “Preliminary guidance on accounting for avoided emissions in the waste management and recycling sector”, benefiting from European funding (1) and presented this work to European federations for a project on this scale. Veolia also participated in the ISO Committee on Carbon Neutrality. 

The Group is also committed to promotinglow-carbon solutions enabling avoided emissions and participates in the recycled plastic material ECO-PROFILs produced by the French Plastics Recyclers professional body (Syndicat national des Régénérateurs de matières Plastiques, SRP). In 2019, SRP provided its customers with certificates representing a potential saving of 0.7 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

(1) Project financed by EIT Climate KIC in 2019, initiated by VEOLIA and conducted with Quantis, The Gold Standard Foundation, WBCSD, Paprec, Séché Environnement and Suez.

Adaptation scenarios

Veolia also addresses in its strategic planning, the physical implications of IPCC scenarios with a higher average temperature.

In its  2016-2019 Environmental Plan, Veolia set an objective of performing a diagnosis at 95% of the sites it operates with significant water stress issues using a risk and impact analysis tool 1. In its 2020- 2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia strengthened this objective and included an indicator to identify and act at sites operated by the Group in zones with a high exposure to flood risk 2 : this physical risk (natural disaster) is exacerbated by climate change risks and is a main risk of the Group.

(1) GreenPath, environmental footprint tool based on WRI – Aqueduct data.

(2) Based on environmental data presented in the CatNet® indicators produced by SwissRe.

Helping regions adapt to climate change

Veolia accompanies the development of regions and proposes offers and solutions for adapting to climate change and, more broadly, improving resilience to stress and disasters that customers may face. The Seureca engineering and consulting division accompanies the Group’s customers to jointly develop a resilience plan with regional players. 

The Group deploys a range of operational solutions tailored to climate change adaptation, focusing particularly on: 

  • managing the large water cycle; 
  • water recycling and the reuse of wastewater to reduce pressure on resources and conflicting usages;
  • controlling urban wastewater systems in rainy weather to limit flooding risk and the health and biodiversity impacts on waterways and beaches; 
  • limiting urban heat islands; 
  • crisis management and continuity plans for essential services (water, energy, waste management, etc.) in the case of extreme events.

Governance of the climate commitment

The policy designed to combat climate change is coordinated at the highest Group level.

The Board of Directors approves the Group’s strategy and makes decisions which commit the Group, such as the substitution of coal at heat production facilities in the medium- to long-term. It monitors the Company’s performance through the “Combating climate change” multifaceted performance indicators. The results of climate commitments are presented annually to its Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development Committee.

The Director of the Northern Europe zone, Patrick Labat, is the Executive Committee sponsor of the climate commitment. He presents the Group results on climate to the Executive Committee and submits proposals for associated action plans. The environmental indicators chosen to calculate the variable compensation of the Chairman and members of the Executive Committee are also part of the Group’s climate commitments.

Through its Director, the Sustainable Development Department is responsible for coordinating actions linked to Group commitments to combat climate change, both in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. The environmental performance indicators are included in the Group’s Environmental Management System.

At an operational level, each Business Unit Director is responsible for breaking down the Group strategy into business opportunities and risks inherent to their business lines and region. Climate risk is identified as a main risk of the Group and the Non-Financial Performance Statement.

Active participation in climate change conferences and alliances 

Veolia participates in the international conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since COP21, the Group has worked to play a part at these conferences and contribute to debates on mitigating and adapting to climate change. During the COP25 in Madrid in 2019, Veolia took part in several side events organized by the French Pavilion, speaking on issues concerning adaptation and education challenges as society transforms.

Emissions reporting

Impact of the way of consolidation

To provide transparency and advice to its customers, Veolia has been reporting on and publishing greenhouse gas emissions, based on the GHG Protocol, for the scope of activities under the Group’s operational control, regardless of the percentage consolidation in the financial statements.

Impact of methane

Veolia has opted to take into account the actual impact of methane in its reporting. Calculated over 100 years, the global warming potential of this gas is 28 times higher than CO2 (5th IPCC report). The Group’s decision to use this figure increases its emissions linked to methane by 12% compared to many other countries and countries which still report based on the 4th IPCC report, when the global warming potential associated with methane was 25.

Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions

Change in GHG emissions of activities under operational control in the current scope*

* The GHG Protocol proposes several ways of consolidating GHG emissions. Veolia applies the approach which reflects its business as an operator: GHG emissions fully consolidated for the activities in the operational control scope, even if the assets are not fully owned by the Group.

(1) By convention, household waste is considered to consist 50% of biogenic carbon and refused derived fuels 30% of biogenic carbon. The methodology for calculating direct emissions at landfills was reviewed in 2018 to include a better identification of waste accepted at the sites, the modifications have been applied to the years 2015 to 2018.

(2) In 2020, GHG emissions from coal combustion were of 8.1 million metric tons CO2 equivalent.

GHG emissions change are mainly due to the evolution of the Group’s activity scope.

(2) Pursuant to the GHG Protocol, emissions relating to heating and electricity purchased and distributed without  transformation are accounted for in scope 3. Only the physical losses of heat and electricity distribution networks operated by Veolia are accounted for in scope 2.

Scope 1 emissions fell 4.8% between 2019 and 2020, despite strong growth in energy production in the United States, due to the sale of waste landfill sites and energy production facilities in China and improvements in methane capture rates at waste landfill sites (United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Latin America).

The main Scope 2 emissions are linked to drinking water production services and processing wastewater which requires the purchase of electricity for transport and water treatment. A significant portion of this business activity is in France, but also in countries where the energy mix is coal-heavy, such as China or the Czech Republic. In the energy business, only the physical losses of heat and electricity distribution networks operated by Veolia are accounted for in scope 2, in accordance with the GHG Protocol.

Scope 2 emissions fell 5.1% between 2019 and 2020, reflecting a fall in electricity consumption tied to the divestment of drinking water production activities (Asia and Oceania) and wastewater treatment activities (Middle East). Veolia recognizes biogenic carbon emissions, primarily linked to the combustion of biomass for energy production and the biogenic portion of domestic waste and refused derived fuels incinerated. They amounted to 12 million tons of CO2 eq. in 2020 (10.6 in 2019 and 9.1 in 2018).

Emissions relating to heating and electricity purchased and distributed without transformation are accounted for in scope 3 above, after deducting losses.

Scope 3 emissions

The Group also assesses greenhouse gas emissions and publishes the significant sources scope 3 i.e. significant sources of emission or minor sources of emission where the Group’s scope of action is significant.

Change in main scope 3 emission indicators

(1) Change in methodology in 2019, based on scope 3 electricity emission factors of each country and each energy source, multiplied by actual consumption.

(2) Scope 3 emissions linked to gas distribution activities are accounted for from 2019.

Emissions relating to purchases of products and services presented in the table above correspond to chemicals used in the production of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater*. Veolia is committed to a responsible purchasing strategy which contributes to reducing scope 3 emissions.

* These indicators are calculated using the sum of volumes produced and the sum of wastewater volumes entering wastewater treatment plants for treatment and associating respective emission factors relating to the inputs (chemicals). Source : Base Carbon

Digital development and digital sobriety

Veolia’s digital strategy includes the digital sobriety approach aimed at reducing the information system’s environmental impact, in the infrastructure, architecture, tools and usage sections. 

Veolia has largely outsourced the management of its infrastructure: the data centers are now operated by suppliers committed to a carbon neutral approach.

The computer pool is being replaced by Internet terminals. The carbon footprint of replacing the Group’s IT pool and software suite at its headquarters enabled a 52% reduction in GHG emissions. 

With regards to architecture and tools, the solutions adopted aim to limit the volume of data processed and stored by using high performance collaborative platforms and preferring SaaS applications using virtuous infrastructure. Finally an awareness rising program “One for all”, covering the impact of individual digital use is being rolled out to managers, young employees and apprentices in the IT departments. 300 people in the Group IT department were trained in 2020. 

To expand our knowledge of digital sobriety, Veolia participates in the digital sobriety working group, alongside the Club Informatique des Grandes Entreprises Françaises (CIGREF) and the Shift Project. Veolia also uses its reference position on environmental issues to collect precise information or even influence the carbon strategy of leading global IT service provider.

Reducing and avoiding GHG emissions

Approach

A committed player, the Group provides solutions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions :

  • by reducing emissions from the services and processes sold and facilities managed (diagnosis and environmental footprint, greater energy efficiency, use of renewable energies, destruction of methane arising from landfills);
  • by enabling third parties to avoid emissions through its activities (mainly by supplying energy and materials extracted from the recovery of waste and wastewater).

Measures to reduce GHG emissions by business line

Business line / Type of measure Measures implemented
ENERGY

Reduction of GHG emissions

WASTE
Reduction of GHG emissions

GHG emissions avoided

  • Collection and treatment of biogas from landfill sites;
  • On-site consumption of heat and electricity produced from waste incineration and biogas recovery;
  • Other actions enabling the reduction of fuel and energy consumption;
  • Sale of heat and electricity produced from waste incineration and from biogas recovered in landfills and anaerobic digesters;
  • recovery throught direct use of biogas produced at landfill sites and from anaerobic digesters;
WATER
Reduction of GHG emissions

GHG emissions avoided

  • On-site consumption of some of the heat and electricity produced from renewable sources (biogas from sludge digestion, recovering potential water energy using hydraulic micro-turbines, heat pumps, etc.);
  • Optimization of energy consumption by the facilities;
  • Sale of energy produced using renewable energy sources (biogas from sludge digestion, recovering the potential energy of water by using hydraulic micro-turbines, heat pumps, etc.).

The Group has deployed an operational excellence approach, “Operators Priorities”, coordinated at corporate level for its main sites and contracts. These implement an annual action plan to improve operating performance, in particular regarding energy efficiency, maintenance and optimizing reagent consumption, which contribute directly to reducing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. 

The sustainable purchasing process, which aims to implement a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) approach to assessing costs over the useful life of the equipment, such as pumps, also contributes to energy efficiency. 

The Group offers its expertise to its customers to calculate and reduce their environmental footprint and particularly their carbon footprint, using the Veolia GreenPath tool. For each project, Veolia is able to assess avoided emissions in comparison to a reference scenario, whether in recycling materials or energy production from waste. The partnerships signed with Tetra-Pack to recycle aluminum, plastic and cardboard from food cartons or with Unilever to recycle used packaging contribute to the circular economy and avoiding emissions.

Objectives and results

Change in GHG emissions (million metric tons of CO2 eq.)*
*In 2019, emission factors of avoided emissions from waste recycling activities have been updated, to comply with the GHG Protocol tool linked to the “Protocol for the quantification of GHG emissions for waste management activities” V5.

Despite significant growth in energy production from biomass (USA, China, Japan) and an increase in the overall methane capture rate at landfill sites, reduced emissions slipped 1.7% in 2020 compared with 2019 due to the sale of a major landfill site in Asia which contributed significantly to reduced emissions. 

Avoided emissions (calculated using the protocol defined for the 2015-2020 commitment) increased 3% between 2019 and 2020, driven by the development of material recycling, notably in France and Asia, with new sorting centers integrated into the operating scope and an increase in material tonnage received and recovered at existing sites.

Total emissions reduced and avoided since 2015
(1) Since 2016, Veolia has aligned its scope 2 calculation for Energy activities with the GHG protocol. The calculation reference scenario for emissions reduced was modified downwards.
(2) In 2019, Veolia updated the avoided emission factors associated with the GHG Protocol tool for the waste recovery sector, relating to the «Protocol for the quantification of greenhouse gases emissions from waste management activities – v5 – October 2013

Focus on a GHG reduction action: methane capture

In landfills, the decomposition of fermentable waste generates biogas which contains up to 40% to 60% methane: the Group’s expertise in capturing and recovering this methane is an important factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Veolia has opted to take into account the actual impact of methane in its reporting. Calculated over 100 years, the global warming potential of this gas is 28 times higher than CO2 (5th IPCC report). The Group’s decision to use this figure increases its emissions linked to methane by 12% compared to many other countries and countries which still report based on the 4th IPCC report, when the global warming potential associated with methane was 25. 

In 2020, 85.8% of operated landfills, representing 90.4% of stored waste, set up a biogas capture and control system.

Change in methane capture rate at landfills

(1) Change in calculation method since 2018:The calculation scope for the “methane capture rate” indicator includes landfill sites included in Group reporting from 2013 to 2019. For the Group indicator calculation, the capture rate of each site is weighted by the methane volume produced by the site during the 2013 reference year.
The average methane capture rate for landfill sites increased significantely between 2019 and 2020. This good performance is driven by a net improvement in the capture rate at sites located in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong and the installation of biogas capture equipment at several landfill sites in Latin America. 

The decrease between 2016 and 2018 was due to the policy of closing landfills in the United Kingdom, the decline in methane capture at major landfills in China and France and work on motors at sites. 

As a result of the increase in the price for carbon credits, the new methane capture facilities managed by Veolia may become profitable in the medium term. 

The current scope capture rate was lower than for the 2015-2020 pro forma scope due to the acquisition of sites with a lower level of performance. Actions to improve their performance are currently being rolled out.

Improving biogas capture

Although this technology is not compulsory everywhere, the Veolia minimum standard for landfills requires biogas capture devices (extraction using pumps lowering the waste mass) for operational or post operational sites.  Besides, in order to ensure the sealing of the waste mass to protect the atmosphere, the cells not receiving waste any longer must be covered according to the standard.

The biogas may be recovered:

  • by direct injection into the grid, as for the Southeast New Territories (SENT) Landfill Gas Processing Facilities, which is the result of a 10-year collaboration with the local authorities in Hong Kong. Since November 2018, the first French site injects its refined biogas into the public network. New projects are under development allowing to improve the biogas recovery efficiency, each volume of biogas injected allowing to supply more useful energy ;
  • by energy recovery in the form of heat and electricity, as at the Electr’od site in Paris, which generates 100,000 MWh of electricity/year, which equates to the consumption of approximately 41,200 homes (excluding heating) and 450,000 MWh/year of thermal energy, i.e. the equivalent of around 4,350 households consumption. The thermal energy feeds an industrial process as well as a new heating and hot water network in the towns of Goussainville and Plessis-Gassot (95): dwellings and collectivity buildings (Town Halls, festival halls, churches, municipal buildings).

Biogas capture and recovery work group

Within the frame of its landfills center of excellence, Veolia created a work group dedicated to biogas capture and recovery. It allowed listing nine documented good practices in the field which were shared between all the sites. They refer to biogas capture, site maturity, measures and regulations of biogas networks, the sealing around the biogas wells, the location of diffuse biogas  emissions or the monitoring of the biogas capture network via a mapping tool.

Methacontrol™: towards maximum biogas management

Under the Methacontrol™ brand, Veolia has developed a range of technologies to further optimize the management of the biogas produced at our landfills. This enables it to reduce diffuse emissions and to improve management of odor nuisances and the impact of methane’s greenhouse gas effect on the climate.

This technology is improving the yield of recovered biogas, which leads to additional energy production in the form of electricity or methane gas fed into urban gas networks or used as a fuel for waste collection vehicles. The company is continuing to roll out these technological advances. By the end of 2018, 11 of the 70 operational landfill sites were equipped with this technology.

Adaptation

The Group takes the constraints linked to climate change into account throughout its operational plants and implements solutions to help its customers reduce their vulnerability.

Managing risks associated with climate change for the company

At Veolia business unit level, adaptation to climate change is incorporated into the local analysis of environmental risks and challenges. The teams take into account relevant regulatory changes, resource availability, additional requirements/volumes identified and necessary process changes. Accordingly, when faced with higher
demand for water resources for specific uses such as irrigation and watering green areas, the increased reuse of treated wastewater and optimizing distribution network performance are encouraged.

At Group level, climate change risks are taken into consideration in the risk mapping process, based on resources, regulatory and market changes, purchases and economic risk. In 2014, the definition of risks associated with climate change was reviewed in order to improve how they are identified and assessed in the risk mapping process as part of Veolia’s strategic risks.

The risk mapping performed at country/business level and for the company as a whole is presented to the Risk Committee, which approves and monitors the effectiveness of the action plans that contribute to adaptation to climate change.

See our method to diagnose sites with significant water stress issues.

See page “Challenges and commitments”, chapter “Adaptation scenarios”.

Solutions, R&D and partnerships to enhance regional and client resilience

Solutions

Veolia accompanies the development of regions and proposes offers and solutions for adapting to climate change and, more broadly, improving resilience to stress and disasters that customers may face.

The Seureca engineering and consulting division accompanies the Group’s customers to jointly develop a resilience plan with regional players.

The Group deploys a range of operational solutions tailored to climate change adaptation, focusing particularly on:

  •  managing the large water cycle;
  •  water recycling and the reuse of wastewater to reduce pressure on resources and conflicting usages;
  • controlling urban wastewater systems in rainy weather to limit flooding risk and the health and biodiversity impacts on waterways and beaches;
  •  limiting urban heat islands;
  •  crisis management and continuity plans for essential services (water, energy, waste management, etc.) in the case of extreme events.

ENPC-Veolia conference “Accelerate city readiness for a changing climate”

Ecole des Ponts ParisTech engineering school and Veolia organized the 2019 conference day of the Chair “Hydrology for Resilient Cities”. During this day session, introduced by Mr. Antoine Frérot and Ms. Sophie Mougard, Director of Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, achievements and best practices for improving the resilience of cities in the face of extreme wet weather events were discussed.

Energy in New York… a total blackout!

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy demonstrated New York’s vulnerability to major hurricanes. However, whereas almost the whole of Manhattan was plunged into darkness, the majority of the Greenwich Village university campus escaped the blackout. The university had in fact drawn upon the expertise of SourceOne, a Veolia subsidiary, to rebuild its cogeneration plant in 2010; it therefore had an energy source that was independent of the grid, efficient, reliable and highly carbon-friendly.

Copenhagen, a flood-resistant city

At the beginning of the 1990s, the city of Copenhagen wanted to make its port area suitable for bathing. It therefore invested in infrastructure to control and retain rainwater and wastewater. Following a violent storm in 2011, which caused major flooding, the city was considering doubling its rainwater storage infrastructure, when Veolia offered it an alternative solution by developing the Star Utility Solution™ modeling tool. This tool enables rainfall to be forecast six to twelve hours before it occurs, by means of a weather radar system, and makes it possible to manage the network in real time (by optimizing the use of floodgates, pumps and weirs). As a consequence, the overflow of wastewater into the natural environment has been significantly reduced and flood-related damage minimized.

100 resilient cities & Swiss Re

The Rockefeller foundation, Veolia and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd have teamed up to design a totally new infrastructure modernization initiative, which will enable economic activity in many cities across the world to be restored more quickly in the wake of a disaster. This initiative intends to help cities adapt to climate change, reduce their exposure to the risk of disasters, and strengthen and modernize their infrastructures.

https://youtu.be/OR7FBgAChwc

Advovacy and raising awareness activities

Active participation in climate change conferences and alliances

Veolia participates in the international conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since COP21, the Group has worked to play a part at these conferences and contribute to debates on mitigating and adapting to climate change. 

COP 21

From early 2014, Veolia wanted to engage fully in preparations for COP21, the 21st international conference of the United States Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which took place in Paris in December 2015.

The credibility of Veolia’s speech on climate was based on the triple focus on Positioning/Commitments/Solutions that is shared within the company and endorsed at the highest level by our CEO.

The company has signed up to numerous commitments with recognized external organizations – particularly in favor of the introduction of a strong and stable price for carbon – has set itself quantified medium-term objectives (2020) for greenhouse gas emissions and established an internal company price for carbon in 2015.

The company focused on three areas: climate-friendly circular economy solutions (recycling, reuse etc.), the price of carbon and methane, a short-lived pollutant that has a greater environmental impact than CO2. On this last subject, the Veolia Institute organized a high-level international conference on solutions for reducing methane emissions and two dissemination side-events during the COP21 in Le Bourget, in order to spread awareness of this gas which is not given adequate attention in discussions.

Throughout the COP21 conference, Veolia representatives spoke both at Le Bourget, the official site of the COP21 and the Grand Palais, the site dedicated to civil society, at the request of Solutions COP21, a multi-actor platform of which Veolia has been a founder member since June 2014.

In this environment, Veolia has fostered new partnerships and joined alliances, such as the business alliance for water and climate change led by the CDP, the Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate and the WBCSD, or the global alliance for buildings and construction for the climate supported by the UNEP, bringing together countries, cities and public and private sector organizations.

Finally, Danone and Veolia announced a strategic alliance for the management of energy efficiency, waste and the water cycle to contribute to the target Danone has set itself: net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

http://www.veolia.com/en/veolia-group/media/press-releases/french-business-climate-pledge-veolia-one-39-major-french-companies-which-vow-combat-climate-change

COP22

Veolia seized the opportunity at the COP22 to convey its message to both decision-makers and the public at large. With its partners, the Group organized numerous conferences and debates on various climate change issues: circular economy, ocean biodiversity, access to vital decentralized water and electricity services, adaptation to climate change, carbon pricing, etc. At the same time, the Veolia Institute, together with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), has rallied round innovative solutions to reduce methane emissions.

This was also an occasion to present solutions designed to adapt to natural disasters. Veolia has contributed to the 2050 Pathways Platform via the Nazca Tracking Climate Action platform. Veolia is in particular a member of the CCAC, the Global Alliance for Building and Construction in favor of energy efficiency, Sustainable Energy for all (SE4All ) and the Water Alliance

COP23

At the COP23 in Bonn in 2017, Veolia organized a side-event at the France Pavilion on the challenges of adapting to climate change, featuring prestigious contributors including Jean Jouzel, the former Vice-Chairman of the IPCC. During this event, Veolia presented solutions for adapting to natural disasters and particularly the project implemented in New Orleans to assist the city with its resilience strategy.

COP24

During COP24 in Katowice in 2018, Veolia took part in several side events organized on the France, Poland and the European Union Pavilions, to share examples of low-carbon solutions and feedback on the challenges of adaptation, air quality and heating networks.

COP 25

During the COP25 in Madrid in 2019, Veolia took part in several side events organized by the French Pavilion, speaking on issues concerning adaptation and education challenges as society transforms.

Other contributions

Veolia has contributed to the 2050 Pathways Platform viaNazca Tracking Climate Action. Veolia is a member of Sustainable Energy for all (SE4All), which aims to promote urban heat networks as a recognized solution for energy transition at regional level and a reliable source of reducing CO2 emissions. This initiative is currently deployed in China, at several pilot sites.

Veolia is also an active member of Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), through the Municipal Solid Waste Initiative program, which helps cities implement better waste management practices and contribute to reductions in GHG and short-lived climate pollutant emissions. At the 4th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in 2019, Veolia spoke on how waste and resource management can help attain the Paris Agreement objectives.

Training and raising awareness amongst the general public

With the support of the Veolia Foundation, the Virtual Environment and Sustainable Development University (UVED) has developed online training (MOOC: Massive Open Online Courses) on biodiversity, the causes and challenges of climate change and ecological engineering. Veolia scientific experts have contributed to the educational content (videos) and the Group encourages its employees to enroll in the courses.

Tara Expeditions, with which the Veolia Foundation has worked in partnership since 2009, played an important role in the COP21 conference. The combined efforts of the Tara team, Ban Ki-Moon and state representatives made it possible to incorporate the issues relating to the ocean into the preamble of the text that was ultimately adopted. In May 2018, the expedition team presented to the Group’s head office the results of its 2016-2018 campaign on coral reefs. 

Save and preserve energy resources

The protection of energy resources is closely linked to the company’s commitment No. 1, Protect natural resources and its commitment No. 2, Contribute to combating climate change.

Veolia seeks to increase energy efficiency not only in the facilities we operate, but also through the energy services we offer. Wherever possible, the company also promotes the use of renewable and alternative energies1 , and makes every effort to recover the maximum energy potential from the waste or wastewater we treat or originating from the facilities we operate.

 

1Alternative energy includes sources of natural or industrial energy that would be lost if not immediately recovered (e.g. mine gas, biogas, unavoidable heat, etc.)

Challenges and commitments

Challenges

Energy production and distribution for the Group mainly covers: 

  • its Energy business through its heat production and distribution activities for urban district heating for industrial customers and tertiary activities, including combined production of heat and electricity (CHP); 
  • its Waste business via its incineration (recovery of heat produced by waste combustion) and storage (recovery of heat, electricity or biogas from methane produced via waste fermentation) activities.

Commitment

Saving and preserving energy resources is a major aspect of Veolia’s contribution to combating climate change. In this area, the Group commits to: 

  • increase energy efficiency at the facilities which it operates; 
  • prioritize the use of renewable and recovered energies and support its customers in this transition; 
  • recover as much energy potential as possible from treated waste and wastewater

Energy production and distribution

Change in primary energy consumption

(1) Since 2016, if Veolia purchases heat for distribution via a heating network, this heat is not taken into consideration in Group consumption related to production. The same applies for electricity distribution activities without production.

(2) Recovered energies are natural or industrial sources of energy which are lost if they are not recovered immediately. Renewable energies are energies which can be renewed or regenerated indefinitely and endlessly. Energy recovered from domestic waste incinerators is considered 50% renewable and 50% recovered. Energy recovered from refuse derived fuels is considered 30% renewable and 70% recovered.

Change in energy production 

For Energy services, the thermal energy we produce is destined for the district heating systems we operate; the aim is also to cover the needs of industrial clients and managed buildings. This can also include recycled unavoidable energy (e.g. recycling energy produced by IT data management centers). For other activities, the thermal energy produced comes from waste recovery and wastewater recycling.

The electrical energy produced originates from the company’s desire to maximize the energy efficiency of thermal facilities and recover energy from waste and treated water, mainly by installing cogeneration units as soon as technically and financially feasible.

Electricity production and capacity by energy type

Electricity generation source Generation 2020 (% of total TWh sold) Capacity 2020 (% of total MW owned)
Coal 17 20.76
Nuclear 0 0
Natural gas 40 39.56
Oil 0.02 0.07
CCGT (Combine Cycle Gas Turbine) 0 0
Total renewables (solar, small hydro (units < 10 MW), geothermal, biomass, etc.) 43 39.61
  • o/w hydro, large (units >10 MW
0 0
  • o/w wind
0 0
  • o/w biomass
23 23.04
  • o/w geothermal
0 0
  • o/w solar
0 0
Total power generation (in TWh) 16.58
Total power capacity (in MW) 6549

Renewable and alternative energy production objective

As part of its 2016-2019 Environmental Plan, Veolia set a target of increasing renewable and recovered energy production by 5% compared to 2015 in all its activities.

Change in renewable and alternative energy production

As part of its 2020-2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia set a target of increasing renewable and recovered energy production by 15% compared to 2019 in all its activities. 

The commissioning of new biomass facilities for energy production (United States, China, Japan), the ramp-up of existing biomass plants in China and the acquisition of new waste-to-energy facilities (France and Germany) contributed to the increase in renewable or recovered energy production between 2019 and 2020. 

The one-off decrease observed in 2019 in energy production and consumption was due to repositioning of activities in the USA Energy scope: divestment in 2019 of the District Energy subsidiary, followed in 2020 by the acquisition of several major energy production sites. 

Veolia also has different objectives based on the specific features of its businesses, as stated below.

Energy efficiency services offered by the Energy services business

For its Energy services business, Veolia focuses its efforts on high energy content operations, leveraging its two key areas of expertise as a local producer and manager of energy services. The three priority business areas are:

  • production and distribution through urban heating and cooling networks;
  • energy services for buildings;
  • energy services for industrial clients.

Heating and cooling networks

Veolia is one of Europe’s leading companies for managing urban heating and cooling networks, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. The operation and maintenance of heating and cooling networks enables the supply of heating, hot water and air conditioning to public and private facilities, including schools, health centers, office buildings and apartment blocks. Heating networks help improve air quality as the centralized units are equipped with better flue treatment systems. Cooling networks also help remove heat islands by centralizing production.

The heating and cooling networks enable the use of an energy mix favoring the use of renewable and alternative energies: geothermal, biomass, cogeneration or the recovery of heat produced by incineration of household waste, wastewater treatment plants, etc.

Veolia uses its unique expertise to design, build, operate and maintain heating and cooling networks, manage energy supplies (particularly those from renewable sources) and deliver services to end customers.

In this way, urban networks reduce a city’s carbon footprint and its dependence on fossil fuels. This is why the European Union is encouraging their increased use to achieve its targets for saving energy and reducing CO2.

The open innovation approach to energy efficiency

Our Research & Innovation teams concentrate on improving the energy efficiency of industrial facilities and combustion plants and managing distribution networks more efficiently. Veolia launched its first open innovation campaign on this subject in partnership with KIC InnoEnergy.

Energy services for buildings

The way in which buildings such as hospitals, high-rise office blocks, data centers, shopping malls and residential buildings function is becoming more complex and requires the involvement of an energy professional to optimize the services delivered and energy consumption, against a backdrop of rising energy prices and increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

Veolia conducts an energy efficiency audit at each site, then prepares and presents an improvement plan to the client (including works on the building, modernization of energy equipment, monitoring tools, schemes encouraging the building’s occupants to reduce their energy consumption etc.), which it then implements. Its technicians regulate, manage and maintain the installations to obtain the best performance. They rely on the skills of experts working in the new energy saving centers that Veolia is creating in each operating region.

Energy Saving Centers: creating genuine centers of energy efficiency

Energy Saving Centers (ESCs) are innovative management centers that may be decentralized, whose purpose is to optimize the energy consumption of one or more buildings. Using a sophisticated data-processing system, the ESCs accurately monitor and analyze the energy used in large multi-purpose buildings and compare this data with best practices in the sector and with international protocols. These ESCs have been rolled out in a dozen or so countries, including Ireland, Sweden and Dubai.

Research and Innovation : 2017 Progresses

  • Selection tool for building energy consumption “Measurement and Verification (M&V)” models

Energy performance contracts require Veolia to use a variety of tools to, initially, define its commitments, meet them and then monitor them throughout the contract term. Veolia Research and Innovation has developed an M&V tool enabling the best contractual model to be chosen according to a building’s characteristics, based on which the performance level and therefore compliance with commitments can be determined

  • Optimization tool for the management of heating and cooling systems in service sector buildings

In the building energy services market, Veolia is committed to improving energy performance. This type of contract requires the implementation of solutions to attain the announced energy savings. Veolia Research and Innovation works to propose strategies involving the optimization of heating and cooling systems based on forecasting models for the thermal behavior of service sector buildings. In the summer of 2017, the tool was tested in an office building operated by a Group company in Belgium and electricity savings of around 7% were noted over the test period for the refrigeration units. The assessment will continue during the 2017-2018 heating period with heating strategy trials.

Industrial utilities

Veolia provides its expertise in diagnostics, design, construction and management of energy utilities plants to major industrial client, particularly in the food processing, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors. The company is also able to develop effective economic and environmentally friendly solutions that incorporate the use of biomass, biogas or recovered energy, and the production of energy by cogeneration. Veolia provides its clients with guarantees on three fronts:

  • securing their supply and energy mix in terms of quantity, quality and price;
  • reducing the energy and carbon footprints of their industrial processes;
  • ensuring the availability of their facilities, with specific service commitments.

Energy business: energy efficiency and diversification of the energy mix

Veolia manages energy at over 45,806 energy facilities worldwide. GHG emissions linked to the Group’s Energy business represent 51% of scope 1 and 25% of scope 2 emissions.

Optimization of the Group’s thermal equipment energy performance is based on the quality of their operation and maintenance, as well as their modernization.

Energy performance indicators (Energy business): heat and electricity production and distribution

(1) Thermal and cogeneration plants.

As part of its energy production contracts, Veolia specializes in operating CHP facilities comprising the simulaneous production of heat and electricity. These facilities improve energy performance compared with the separate production of heat and electricity. The average age of facilities managed by the Group (or the last major refurbishment) was five years in 2019: this recent infrastructure is equipped with the best available technologies to limit pollution and improve production performance. Primary energy savings (in GWh) are tied to changes in the portfolio of CHP facilities operated by the Group. 

Downstream from the public authority heat production facilities, Veolia operates district heating networks: by focusing production at a single site, energy performance is optimized compared with domestic sources. Veolia has improved the performance of district heating networks through significant investment. It is also Veolia policy to diversify its energy mix towards renewable energies. 

With the increase in the share of biomass in the fuel mix for energy production (from 8% in 2015 to 23% in 2020), Veolia has decided to include biomass energy traceability and certification objectives in its 2020-2023 environment plan. These ambitious objectives mainly concern non-European Union countries. 

The share of traceable biomass fell in 2020 due to the significant development of activity at sites, notably in Asia, using less certified and traceable wood resources.

Energy performance indicators (Energy business): energy services for buildings and industrial clients

For its energy services for buildings and industrial customers, Veolia has deployed performance management centers in all its zones: data analysts and systems engineers ensure the optimum management of managed facilities consumption, e.g. in its subsidiary ENOVA in the United Arab Emirates. The increase in 2019 is due to the improved reliability of reporting by this entity and the inclusion of EPC contracts1 . In 2020, the health crisis had a major impact on the activity of energy services for buildings and industrial customers, particularly in the Middle East.

(1) Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts.

Veolia has developed its energy flexibility offer: in 2019, the Group acquired Actility’s energy business. It notably intends to apply load shedding, which consists in deferring the energy consumption of facilities to reduce peaks and stabilize electricity distribution networks.

Production of renewable energy in the Energy services business

Veolia’s policy to diversify its energy mix towards renewable energies

Veolia has developed recognized expertise in biomass solutions, and especially in solutions that combine biomass with cogeneration, in plant design, combustion optimization and comprehensive management of supply chains, which are key to securing the future for such projects.

As part of its several environmental plans, Veolia has set itself targets for increasing the share of biomass in the energy mix.

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2023 objective
share of biomass in the energy mix (as a %) 6% 8% 8% 9% 9% 12% 19% 23% 24%

Biomass procurement policy – Veolia’s commitment to fighting deforestation

The development of biomass energy entails managing the balance between carbon sequestering, energy needs and industry’s needs.

With the increase in the share of biomass in the fuel mix for energy production (from 8% in 2015 to 23% in 2020), Veolia has decided to include biomass energy traceability and certification objectives in its 2020-2023 environment plan. These ambitious objectives mainly concern non-European Union countries.

The share of traceable biomass fell in 2020 due to the significant development of activity at sites, notably in Asia, using less certified and traceable wood resources.

Energy efficiency and energy production in the Waste business

Improve energy efficiency and develop recovery

The Group develops energy recovery from waste at sites such as incinerators producing heat, landfills and anaerobic digestion units producing biogas. The energy produced is used on-site and supplied to third-parties, reducing in both cases recourse to other higher carbon energy sources. Moreover, the material recycling and the production of refused derived fuels (RDF) helps reduce customers’ primary energy requirements.

Energy performance indicators related to consumption optimization

The main sources of energy consumption are waste collection (fuel consumption representing 2% of the Group’s scope 1 emissions) and incineration (electricity consumption representing 2% of the Group’s scope 2 emissions and energy from waste recovery used on-site). Veolia works to limit emissions by managing its vehicle fleet and optimizing collection routes. Veolia also optimizes primary energy consumption at its waste incinerators.

Energy performance indicators (Waste business)

The rates of energy produced per metric ton of waste incinerated and CO2 emissions per quantity of energy produced decreased slightly in 2020 due to damage suffered in Asia and France (and the fall in demand for a heating network in France for the first indicator).

The closure of two landfill sites in 2020 which recovered a significant amount of captured methane (China and France), negatively impacted the consolidated captured methane recovery rate from landfills.

Optimizing incinerators

The operation of incinerators provides a significant opportunity for optimization (representing 78.7%  of the energy consumption of the Waste solutions business activity).

In 2018, 100 % of non-hazardous waste incinerators and 53% of hazardous waste incinerators were fitted with energy recovery systems.

The number of incinerators with energy recovery systems has been steadily rising in recent years, especially in France.

Maximizing the recovery of energy produced by the combustion of waste means focusing in particular on installing recovery boilers at sites where there are none, changing the turbines and connecting municipal waste incineration plants to district heating networks, or increasing their thermal exchange capacity with the network.

One of the drivers for improving incinerator profitability is increased energy efficiency, through optimized management of empty furnaces and the optimization of maintenance stoppages.

Success and progress in 2017

REFRAVE: feedback after four years’ operation of refractory tiles in Toulouse

The REFRAVE project to develop refractory tiles for use in incineration furnaces reached a major milestone in 2017. These tiles have a dual
objective: to transfer heat from the chamber to the heat exchangers and to protect the heat exchangers. Four years of trials have now been completed in two waste-to-energy plants operated by Veolia. Feedback on the new refractory tile model – the result of modeling work performed by Veolia Research and Innovation – is positive. The new tile model is protected by a patent and more resistant to heat distortion. It is manufactured by HAASSER under an industrial
partnership.

In 2014, Veolia’s centers of excellence produced a standard on the incineration of domestic waste. Based on good operating practices, this standard aims to increase treatment capacity (availability of lines and loading rates), improve revenue from the sale of thermal and electrical energy, and reduce consumables such as reagents for treating exhaust fumes.

Moreover, since 2013 we have adopted a comprehensive approach for all hazardous waste incinerators wishing to reduce their fossil fuel consumption. These sites are monitored annually by the Center of Excellence for hazardous waste and a number of key performance indicators have been defined. Best practices are identified and adopted at all sites.

London is transforming its waste into energy

The London Borough of Southwark recovers collected waste to produce heating and power, with a corresponding reduction in the volume of waste sent to landfill. This change is the result of better sorting at source by the residents and the implementation of innovative treatment facilities, as part of a 25-year partnership with Veolia that began in 2008.

ISO 50001 certification for 39 energy recovery plants

In 2018, 39 waste-to-energy plants in France were ISO 50001 certified

The SOBREC non-hazardous waste plant in Rennes was the first to pursue this path, with a major initiative to increase the quantity of energy supplied to the district heating network.

In the realm of hazardous waste, the Marseille-based SOLAMAT decided that certification offered a prime opportunity to expand its ISO 14001 system with regard to energy efficiency.

Optimizing waste collection

All company business activities implement measures to reduce the impact of travel for technical service operations.

For the Waste activity, the main objective is to optimize municipal and industrial waste collection rounds where fuel consumption represents 56% of the company’s total fuel consumption. To date, 100% of vehicles have been fitted with GPS devices linked to a statistical analysis of routes. Veolia now offers new concepts and new logistics solutions to adapt the nature of collection to the features of the area, such as “first kilometer” collection using small, electric vehicles better suited to a dense urban environment, vehicles with side loaders to make collection more efficient and improve operator safety in dense urban areas, and use of new waste drop-off containers in large multi-family housing schemes.

The Center of Excellence for activities has worked on the formalization of the first Standard for the Group regarding the waste collection activity. This  methodology lists  solutions to  optimize  scheduling (itineraries, véhicules used), to organise and centralize planning allowing the common use of resources.

Environmentally friendly driving also helps to reduce consumption by around 7%. These driving techniques include the provision of driver training, on-board tools in vehicles that allow drivers to evaluate their own driving, as well as back office tools to monitor consumption and offer refresher awareness training to drivers, if necessary.

The group ambitions is to  broadly deploy the approach which is already in place over 30% of  the fleet in France, 90 % of the fleet in the United Kingdom, 20% of the fleet in Colombia and Argentina and starting in Germany (these countries and, to a lesser extent Singapore and Australia represent the majority of countries  regarding  the waste collection activity of the Group) Besides , within the frame of the Group’s priority performances plan, the majority of the units concerned by collection activities reports eco-behaviour actions.

The Purchasing department has worked on a new policy published, regarding the purchase of waste collection vehicles. This approach seeks to standardize purchasing  in Europe (representing the majority of countries for this activity) through an inventory and specifications for calls for tenders, fuel consumption being one of the criteria. Finally, a proper vehicle  maintenance completes this approach.

The benefits of the measures taken in terms of waste collection are clearly demonstrated by decreased fuel consumption.

Moreover, new collection methods, including vacuum collection , whereby waste is sucked into underground networks, are helping to reduce the impact of collection vehicle travel in cities.

Energy efficiency and energy production in the Water business

Drinking water production and distribution activities, as well as wastewater systems (collecting and treating wastewater) represent 68% of the Group’s scope 2 emissions. Veolia develops its know-how in order to reach or get close to energy self-sufficiency for wastewater treatment. The theoretical energy contained in wastewater is two to five times greater than the energy needed to treat it.

Energy performance indicators (Water business)

The Group aims to minimize consumption at the facilities it operates (water and wastewater systems, networks and factories) through listing best practices and efficient technological choices, the development of diagnostic tools and the implementation of energy audits or certifications – the Veolia Eau France management system is ISO 5001: 2011 certified. The equipment renewal policy also aims to optimize energy consumption. 

Similarly, in order to find the optimum wastewater sludge treatment solution, Veolia studies and evaluates energy recovery options (methanation, incineration or co-incineration with energy recovery, etc.) and seeks to optimize the energy efficiency of its treatment processes. Furthermore, wherever technically possible and economically appealing for its customer, Veolia reinforces energy production via renewable electricity production equipment: solar panels, wind power, etc. It works to evaluate recoverable energy by placing turbines at the output of treatment plants, like in Brussels (Belgium). 

An increasing number of wastewater treatment plants offer examples of energy efficiency. In Germany, Veolia has launched an energy saving and biogas energy production initiative at all facilities equipped with a sludge digester. Three treatment plants (Braunschweig, Görlitz and Schönebeck, i.e. approximately 520,000 population equivalent) are energy self-sufficient.

Eco-design of water treatment plants

Veolia has the know-how (life cycle analysis tools such as Greenpath and energy consumption optimization) and technological solutions to design optimum water treatment systems. It implements them in accordance with the selection criteria defined in the specifications of the consulting firm and/or owners.

In all cases, Veolia, when it is the builder, provides a guarantee on energy consumption, for example in kWh/m3 of water treated or produced, to estimate the operating costs. 

For major construction projects, specific training programs are developed for future operators on Veolia technologies and the optimization of their energy consumption.

Minimize the consumption of water treatment facilities

Veolia has developed numerous energy optimization tools, including : 

  • Ocean, a material and energy balance tool for wastewater treatment plant designers and operators. It is available online and allows the comparison of different technical solutions to optimize energy and reagent consumption.
  • Greenpath, a web-based platform that allows sales and technical teams to compare the environmental footprints of several solutions and choose the one that best meets their performance objectives. It enables the carbon footprint of new projects or existing contracts to be calculated according to the ISO 14064 and ISO 14069 standards, and their water footprint according to the ISO 14046 standard. It is available on the Group’s intranet and covers all three of Veolia’s businesses: Water, Waste and Energy.
  • Pumps: a tool to select pumps, when renewing them, according to their cost and their electricity consumption during their whole life span.
  • A guide to good practice and selection of aerators (particularly energy-intensive equipment)

In addition to the e-learning modules available on the Group’s intranet, training sessions are regularly organized to train new users (for example, for OCEAN, about 30 employees per year). Furthermore, communities of trained user experts, spread across all the Group’s geographies, have been created around some of these tools in order to share advice and best practices and to adapt to local best practices: 489 members for the “Ocean” community, 500 members for the “Greenpath” community by the end of 2020.

Use of IT tools to measure and optimize energy needs in real time

Various digital solutions are implemented to achieve this goal, including :

  • eTracking, which measures the global consumption of a treatment installation (wastewater treatment plant or drinking water production unit or pumping stations) as well as some dimensioning elements (a flow rate, an incoming pollution load, for example). eTracking proposes an envelope curve in which the electrical consumption should be situated and generates an alarm in case of drift. This makes it possible to be reactive and to concentrate the efforts of the operating teams on the priorities;
  • Veolink Energy Care monitors the energy performance within a drinking water plant or a wastewater treatment plant. Close to the process steps, it allows to optimize more precisely the electricity consumption at each step of the process and to implement an improvement strategy, within the framework of an ISO 50001 certification for example;
  • Cispeo (an Edge computing solution) and Hubgrade Plant Performance (a Cloud Computing solution) allow to optimize the operation of wastewater treatment plants based on contextual information or data processing, reducing their energy consumption;
  • Flexcity makes it possible to adjust the consumption of treatment facilities by using the inertia of the purification and drinking water production systems. This limits the peak effect for the electricity distributor, and allows the community to benefit from advantageous rates.
In its search for the optimum solution for treating sewage sludge, Veolia studies and evaluates energy recovery options (methanization, incineration or co-incineration with energy recovery, etc.) and seeks to optimize the energy efficiency of its treatment processes.
In addition, wherever technically possible and economically attractive to its customers, Veolia is increasing the production of renewable energy by installing solar panels, as in Angers, Le Mans and Port Barcarès (France).
It installs turbines at the discharge of treated water from wastewater treatment plants to produce electricity, as in Brussels (Belgium) and Zaragoza (Spain).
More and more wastewater treatment plants are examples of energy efficiency. In Germany, Veolia has launched an energy saving and biogas energy production program at all facilities equipped with sludge digesters. Three wastewater treatment plants (Braunschweig, Görlitz and Schönebeck, with a population of around 520,000) are now energy self-sufficient.

Ovilléo, 94% self-sufficient in energy

Ovilléo, the new wastewater plant for the city of Lille (France) which began operation in February 2013, has a capacity of 620,000 population equivalent. It cleans wastewater with the guarantee that discharges comply with the new European standards, which now include nitrogen and phosphorus in addition to carbon compounds. It also treats rainwater, which was not previously the case.

At the same time, Ovilléo uses an innovative thermal hydrolysis process to reduce the amount of sludge produced and increase the production of biogas. The result is a low carbon footprint and coverage of 94% of thermal energy needs of the plant.

Energido, a process for the energy recovery of wastewater from sewage systems

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources using permanent rather than intermittent energy sources (solar, wind, etc.) is possible. The innovation consists in diverting part of the water from the sewage system to a heat exchanger. The calories are then transferred to a heat pump to heat or cool buildings, depending on the season. This process, called Energido and implemented at the Ginestous-Garonne plant in Toulouse (France), heats the air in buildings used for composting part of the sludge and represents a saving of 650 MWh per year. The urban community of Arras (France) has also chosen this process to heat the Aquarena aquatic center in Arras.

Sustainably manage water resources

In operating its plants and those of its customers, Veolia consumes water. This environmental impact exposes the Group to third-party liability risks and can generate a risk for sites in areas of high water stress. 

However, the very nature of Veolia’s business aims to protect resources, as reflected by its motto “Resourcing the world”. Veolia builds long-lasting relationships with its customers based, in particular, on its ability to manage risks delegated by them. The Group proposes specific offerings to its customers to protect natural resources: water treatment, wastewater recovery, protecting water resources, particularly in situations of water stress.

Commitments and challenges

Policy and commitments

As part of its Purpose and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to combating pollution and accelerating ecological transition. This commitment can be broken down into several objectives, including sustainably managing water resources. To illustrate this objective, the Group defined a 2023 target to improve the efficiency of the municipal drinking water distribution networks that it operates.

Philippe Guitard is the sponsor for this objective. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Executive Vice President for the Central & Eastern Europe region.

Challenges

In 2020, Veolia withdrew 9.3 billion m3 of water, primarily for its drinking water production and distribution activity (90% of the total volume withdrawn). Through its contracts with public authorities, Veolia produced 7.7 billion m3 of drinking water in 3,362 production plants. It operated 307,955 km of pipelines, supplying 9.1 billion m3 of water into supply networks.

Changes in water abstraction, drinking water produced and supplied to the networks

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total volume of water abstracted (billions of m3(1) 9.813 10.011 9.829 10.096 9.337
  • o/w surface water from rivers, lakes, natural ponds (billions of m3(1)
7.401 7.173 7.069 7.317 6.619
  • o/w groundwater (billions of m3(1)
1.686 2.024 1.937 1.938 1.827
  • o/w distribution network water (billions of m3(1)
0.726 0.813 0.823 0.841 0.891
  • o/w used quarry water collected in the quarry (billions of m3)
0 0 0 0 0
  • o/w external wasterwater (billions of m3)
0 0 0 0 0
  • o/w harvested rainwater (billions of m3)
0 0 0 0 0
  • o/w sea water, water extracted from the sea or the ocean (billions of m3)
/ / / 0.421 0.403
Volume of drinking water produced for public authorities (billions of m3) 8.538 8.470 8.334 8.409 7.676
Volume of drinking water introduced into supply networks for public authorities (billions of m3) 9.177 9.157 9.028 9.136 8.414
Volume of water produced for industrial clients (millions of m3(1) 175 230 223 222 208
Volume of water abstracted for energy production by the Energy business (billions of m3(1) 44 44 85 71 69

(1) For the Energy business, scope limited to heat production and distribution facilities exceeding 100 GWhTh.

Breakdown of water abstraction by activity in 2020

In 2020, 74% of water abstracted by Veolia was used by end consumers connected to the municipal networks. 16% of abstracted water corresponds to water losses from municipal networks operated by Veolia serving over 50,000 inhabitants.

Commitment, approach and results

Protecting water resources is one of Veolia’s areas of expertise. Committed to managing the water cycle and saving resources, Veolia has developed and offers solutions to its public authority and industrial clients to:

  • diagnose and improve their water footprint;
  • protect existing resources;
  • optimize the long-term management of resources;
  • support end users with responsible consumption;
  • develop alternative resources.

Where relevant to the local context, these measures are offered to the Group’s customers, who then decide whether to apply them on a case-by-case basis.

As part of its contracts to produce drinking or industrial process water, Veolia adheres strictly to the abstraction licenses issued by the relevant authorities to its clients, whether these are municipal authorities or industrial clients. The conditions set out in these licenses are generally determined on the basis of preliminary environmental impact studies to ensure that water is abstracted in a sustainable manner and determine how it is allocated between different usages.

While Veolia does fulfill its responsibilities as an operator, it cannot be a substitute for its clients, who are ultimately responsible for making decisions on measures to preserve resources, particularly in cases where this requires significant investment. In reality, Veolia owns very few facilities itself.

As part of its clear commitment to optimizing how the water cycle is managed and to saving resources, Veolia has developed and now offers its clients – and the general public when needed – various educational and decision-making tools , as well as a wide range of technical solutions .

 

Contribution to international projects

At European level, Veolia contributes to work conducted to change water legislation: new drinking water directive of December 23, 2020, Regulation of May 25, 2020 on the reuse of wastewater for agricultural irrigation and ongoing work (revision of the directives on municipal wastewater, sludge spreading in agriculture, priority substances, etc.) Veolia is a signatory of the Daegu Declaration and participates in OECD working groups on water governance (Business and Industry Advisory Committee, BIAC). The Group also takes part in major international water events (World Water Council, World Water Forum, Word Water Week and each climate COP). In addition, Veolia contributed to the WBCSD “CEO Guide to water building business resilience”, the “Business guide to circular water management: spotlight on reduce, reuse and recycle” and the guide “Wastewater zero: a call to action for business to raise ambition for SDG 6.3”.

Diagnose and improve water footprints

Improving water footprints

The Group has developed a Water impact index (WIIX), which is included in its GreenPath environmental footprint overall assessment tool. This enables businesses and public authorities to determine measures for managing and using water. It can be used with the carbon footprint.

Unveiled at the Milwaukee Water Summit in 2010, the index assesses the effects of human activity on water resources. The Water Impact Index is compatible with ISO 14046 on the water footprint and includes data on the various pressures to which resources are subject, both in terms of quantity and quality. This new tool therefore goes further in assessing the water footprint of human activities.

Le WIIX has been developed on a hundred municipal or industrial worldwide projects.

Diagnoses at sites with significant water stress issues

Veolia has also used this tool to conduct diagnoses on its sites, specifically those with significant water stress issues, since 2016. The WIIX tool is connected to a risk assessment tool, the GEMI® Local Water Tool (LWT).

At the end of 2019, Veolia performed a water diagnosis at 96% of its sites identified in 2016 with significant water stress issues, exceeding the Group objective of 95%. Totaling 25 across all Veolia’s businesses (Water, Waste and Energy), these sites represented nearly 10% of water abstraction by the Group in 2016. The 2020-2023 Environmental Plan set a 95% objective for sites identified with significant water stress issues for the scope of sites operated in 2019. This new scope for sites identified with significant water stress issues represented 19.7% of Veolia water abstraction in 2019.

Deployment of water diagnoses at sites with significant water stress issues

The diagnoses conclusions show that the water stress issue is reasonably well known to the sites and that certain have already implemented solutions or proposed them to their customers. The study of water risks and impacts at each site provides them with more information, helping to open up a dialogue with customers and other stakeholders regarding these challenges.

A new tool for predicting water shortages

Veolia provides local decision makers with tools to ensure that their quantitative management of water resources is effective and well thought-out. For example, the Water Situation Reports developed by Veolia Research & Innovation can be used to predict water shortages by simulating drinking water production strategies that strike the right balance between resources and demand. It is in particular used by the town of Le Touquet to monitor criticality indicators for the hydrological situation of two wellfields; and the town of Arcachon, the Syndicat de l’Eau du Var Est and the Toulon Provence Méditerranée agglomeration.

Protect existing resources

Protecting existing water resources against human contamination encompasses:

  • preventing accidental pollution;
  • identifying chronic sources of damage to resources;
  • establishing protection zones around catchment areas;
  • implementing resource monitoring.

Implementation of protective perimeters around water catchment areas

Protective perimeters are established around catchment areas of water intended for human consumption in order to preserve the resource. Within these protective perimeters, human activities that could directly or indirectly damage water quality are prohibited or tightly controlled. In its wellfield operations, the Group conducts voluntary biodiversity-friendly actions (differentiated management of green areas, inventory of animal and plant life, etc.), much like the actions carried out at the Crepieux-Charmy wellfield in Lyon.

An innovative solution for monitoring the quality of surface water 

Veolia’s SWARM service offering, designed around connected multi-parameter sensors, enables unusual changes in the quality of surface water to be rapidly detected. The buoy measures the main water quality parameters and communicates the data real time for analysis. In addition to the measurement system, the buoy comprises an anchor, a float and an energy recovery module enabling self-sufficiency. The buoy can be installed directly and easily in any water body or course. With the SWARM system, the water operator can constantly monitor changes in key water quality parameters and the state of surface water: conductivity, temperature, speed, depth, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, organic materials, chlorophyll A, phycocyanin and phycoerythrin.

Optimize the long-term management of resources

Veolia provides solutions for:

  • managing abstraction over the long-term;
  • optimizing procedures and process water recycling;
  • reducing water loss through improvements to distribution network efficiency.

In many cities, 20% to 50% of the water produced is lost mainly through leaks in distribution networks. Veolia has made reducing losses from networks one of its priorities.

Certain municipal contracts set a leak reduction objective, particularly targeting network leaks: drinking water network performance improvement objective of 79% to 85% by 2023 for the city of Lille.

Water consumption and efficiency rate of networks serving over 50,000 inhabitants
The increase in the drinking water network efficiency rate, for a pro forma scope, was due to the implementation of leak reduction programs (leak detection, break-up of networks into sectors, improved metering control, etc.). This demonstrates the Group’s ability to improve the efficiency of complex systems.

Water losses per length

In order to better target our leak detection efforts and to advise our clients on the best investment choices for network updates, an additional network performance indicator is monitored: the linear loss index, which relates the volume of water loss to the linear length of the network.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Water losses per length of mains per day (m3/km/day) – proforma 28.82 27.87 26.11 25.85 24.87

The change in this indicator at the company level, at current scope, reflects our efforts to reduce leaks as well as changes in scope as a result of contracts signed and terminated.

In 2017, the scope of new contracts with a very low loss index was reduced by the 4-point group.

Measures to fight against water losses

Leak detection and repair programs are systematically offered to our clients in the fight against water loss. Other tools can be used in combination to improve efficiency:  improved water metering, optimum management of stress on networks of network pressure, and efforts to combat fraud.

Reducing leaks can involve replacing or restoring pipes, which sometimes requires major capital expenditure or funding that is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the contract, under the responsibility of the contracting authority.

New tools for detecting leaks

Veolia Research & Innovation is developing tools to help operators detect leaks in drinking water networks:

  • a patent, in 2015, for making the prelocation of leaks more accurate using data from flow meters and pressure transducers that are already or will be in place;
  • an acoustic system capable of detecting leaks in drinking water networks made up of metal or plastic pipes is currently being tested on networks in France.

The Cartometallo asset management tool for drinking water networks is based on metallographic analyses of cast-iron pipes. The interpretation of these analyses, at network level, allows the identification of causes and risks of damage and the proposition of solutions (such as repair or replacement). 

Lille contract: reducing abstraction by combating leaks

In 2015, Veolia won a major eight-year contract with Lille Métropole through its Water subsidiary Iléo. Under this contract, Veolia is committed to significantly reducing water abstraction, with a savings objective of 3 million m3 by 2023. Two levers will be activated for this purpose: significant reduction (-25%) in leaks and improvement in network efficiency from 79% to 85%. Over an 8-year period, Veolia will upgrade 250,000 of the 31,000 meters supplying 450,000 homes, replace 2,400 connections. This will create a network of 1,100 local connected smart sensors to listen to the pipes and precisely locate any problems in the Métropole’s 4,300 km network. Iléo will install 360 sector meters in each district and remote reading meters in 1,900 public buildings (sport centers, etc.) to identify leak areas more rapidly. 

In 2017, the set target of 80% was exceeded and reached 84,6%, thanks in particular to adapted leakage search techniques over a 3, 839 km network,  i.e. 90% of the total length during the year and thanks also to a fault reporting delay of less than 45 minutes. To go further and achieve a continuous improvement and a constant modernization of its initiatives, ILEO carried out a study via the Veolia VISION software: advanced optimization of leakage search and renewal. It answers the question: in view of our performance targets, what kind of combined actions for renewal and leakage search will the most efficient?

Asset management of networks in France

In France, municipal authorities are required by law to prepare a detailed description of the infrastructure used to transport and distribute drinking water, and to set water loss targets based on water availability. Municipalities that fail to meet these targets must prepare an action plan that includes a multiyear program of upgrades to their network. The French agency for biodiversity has created a special index to assess the level of knowledge of drinking water distribution networks and ensure the quality of asset management by all water services. Within this regulatory framework, Veolia’s approach to managing the drinking water networks it operates in France (i.e. 64,5% of the networks operated by the company) is to optimize investment and operating methods over both the short and long term in order to achieve the desired levels of performance. To do this, the company collects, organizes and manages network information on behalf of municipal authorities that has entrusted Veolia with these missions (network and plant structure, burst pipes and service activities, data on pipe environments).

Decision-making tools

In addition, Veolia advises municipal authorities on defining their action plans and provides support for implementing those plans. To this end, the company has developed sophisticated decision-making tools for use in preparing action plans and cost assessments for the scenarios under consideration. These tools include MOSARE (Module for Statistical Analysis of Water Networks) and Vision, which can be used to develop a long-term network servicing plan by using the stage of degradation of the network to calculate the optimal trade-off between pipe replacement, leak detection and pressure management. For more information, visit

MOSARE: a tool for assessing the risk of burst pipes

The MOSARE decision-making tool, which has been used in contracts with the Greater Paris Water Authority (Sedif) in France, in Shanghai and Shenzhen (China), Bucharest (Romania), Bogota (Colombia) and Aguascalientes (Mexico) (10% of the networks operated by the company), is one of the key components of the overall network management methodology that Veolia offers its clients. Developed using a statistical approach, it includes several models adapted to the amount of data available and is used to assess the risk of pipe rupture so as to target pipe and network equipment replacements more efficiently.

Encouraging responsible consumption by users and digitalisation

Digitalisation

The Group is going digital. Platforms and applications for public authorities (Urban Board) and users (Urban Pulse) (and Urban Board for elected representatives facilitating interactions with users and Urban Pulse, a mobile application for the general public and Urban Hypervision Systems for urban service managers, particularly the water and wastewater service data processing platform called Smart Water Box) provide an overview of water services and a direct and real-time access to data. These “smart” solutions strengthen responsiveness and operating efficiency.

These three tools use the most advanced state-of-the-art digital technologies: sensors, Internet of Things, Big Data, data security and validation, modeling and predictive analysis.

Urban Hypervision, the management system for essential services:

This app provides smart and predictive management of services using a hypervisor system that amasses information in real time, sensors, warning systems, smart operational forecasting and work orders. Operations become more efficient, less costly and more transparent for managers of urban services.

A concrete example is Smart Water Box, the Urban Hypervision app for water services. This platform processes data about drinking water and wastewater services in order to improve performance, service quality, crisis management and technical information. It amasses data from infrastructure and external sources, such as weather forecasts, to automate alarms and thresholds, manage predictive maintenance and work on the network, and inform residents in real time. It can also be used to manage other urban services, such as district heating networks.

Veolia Eau d’île de France designed ServO, an integrated, state-of-the-art management center, for SEDIF (Syndicat des Eaux d’île-de-France). Processing 1.3 billion data, it is used to manage and supervise the largest water distribution service in France: 4.5 million inhabitants in 150 towns in île-de-France. ServO incorporates all the service components: distribute quality water in sufficient quantity, respond to all events affecting production or distribution, provide water consumers with precise information in real time and guarantee the network’s technical performance. It is therefore crucial to ensuring continuous water supply, safety of consumer health, and crisis prevention and management.

An array of tools

Veolia has developed and now offers its local authority clients tools to raise awareness and empower end-users to manage their consumption (such as the installation of individual meters and incentive-based pricing).

Under drinking water distribution contracts, responsibility for maintaining relations with end users and raising their awareness of the need to consume water responsibly is assumed by the municipal authority and as such cannot fall within Veolia’s remit. However, the company can fulfill this role as part of a delegated management arrangement. Under the latter type of arrangement, the measures taken are formalized in a contract with the municipal authority, which remains responsible for making decisions. Veolia offers various ways of raising awareness among users and helping them to save water:

  • it provides information about consumption through Customer Service Centers;
  • it includes information and advice on reducing consumption with invoices sent to end users;
  • it provides consumption information via the Internet, through its end users website and newsletters;
  • it helps users prevent leaks within the home, by providing advice on leak detection and alerting customers when abnormally high consumption is detected;
  • it provides incentives for consumers to gradually replace older appliances with new models that consume less water.

Individual meters

The installation of individual meters is an important factor in raising customers’ awareness about their water consumption. Users in apartment buildings often have little knowledge of their actual water use.

In multi-family apartment buildings that do not have individual meters, for example, billing is based on the main meter at the building entrance, and in most cases, the invoice amount is broken down among individual units based on their floor area.

For consumers to use water more efficiently, they need to know their actual water use, which can be achieved through measures such as installing individual meters.

 

Remote reading

To ensure that it continuously improves its services to both users and the municipal authorities responsible for ensuring that these services are delivered effectively, Veolia is continuing to make progress on smart metering. 

As part of its 2016-2018 environmental plan, extended to 2019, Veolia has set the objective of developing smart meter solutions and now offers remote readings to 3.3 million households in France and 1.8 million household across the world.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2019 objective 2023 objective 
Smart meter solutions (in millions) 4.4 5.1 5.6 5.9 Increase 6

With this technology, consumers can be immediately alerted about a leak and can monitor their consumption either online or via other media (e.g. mobile phone). Moreover, they need no longer be present when their meter is read, making it simpler for them to manage their water service. With real-time monitoring of the distribution network and the volumes produced and consumed, users can manage their water resources more closely and carefully.

M2ocity and Homerider Systems created BIRDZ which has delivered its six millionth connected object: In 2018, these pioneers in smart water meters merged to create Birdz, a NovaVeolia subsidiary serving the Smart City and the urban environment. A systems integrator for its customers, Birdz helps cities and industry reduce their consumption and improve their services by collecting millions of data on water, energy, waste, temperature, air quality, noise and pollution.

HomeFriend, a mobile app designed to inform users about their consumption

HomeFriend is an expert appraisal firm of NovaVeolia specializing in user behavior in the water and energy sector. It launched a new version of its app that is designed to compare water and electricity consumption with that of similar households to measure and save money, centralize water and energy supplier invoices and services and propose easily accessible useful services (eco-advice on smart chat 24/7). In 2018, the tool underwent numerous upgrades, in order to improve customer relations and accelerate digital use in the water, energy and regional service sectors. Its major objectives for 2019 are to continue developing the current solutions and monitor technological advances to propose new services.

 

Incentivized pricing

In addition to these awareness measures, public authorities can also introduce incentivized pricing, depending on local legislation, to help combat waste. The pricing policy is one of the economic tools designed to encourage an improved balance in the use of water resources, especially in areas where water is scarce. Veolia can support municipal authorities in this area and has set itself the objective of encouraging its clients to adopt incentive pricing in order to reduce water consumption.

As part of its 2016-2019 environmental plan, Veolia has set the objective to encourage its municipal clients to adopt an incentivized pricing in order to reduce water consumption.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2019 objective 2023 objective 
 Percentage of customers with progressive rates (in %) 49 52 71 72 Increase 80

Develop alternative resources

The development of alternative resources also helps save resources, such as the reuse of purified water, the retrieval of rainwater, groundwater recharge and sea water desalination.

Volume of water reused from collected and treated wastewater
* The indicator includes the Waste business in addition to Water. 

Durban, reducing water stress by reusing wastewater

Veolia recycles 98% of the water produced by the eThekwini wastewater treatment plant south of Durban. The 47,500 m3 of wastewater treated daily (equivalent to 15 Olympic swimming pools) is used by local industries in their production processes. Recycling water for industrial use helps to reduce water abstraction in the environment and to concentrate fresh water resources on the production of drinking water for 220,000 inhabitants of the Durban agglomeration.

Optimization of water abstraction in the Waste business 

The Veolia Waste business accounted for 0.2% of its water abstraction. For optimization purposes, Veolia created a “Water Efficiency” guide which identifies three types of measure: limitation of losses, optimization of consumption and alternative water resource solutions. For each Waste activity, this guide lists the possible actions, technical details, cost components, implementation difficulties, recommendations, water saving benefits and examples of on-site application. In the Waste business, 3/4 of the water is consumed in the incineration activity, particularly certain incinerators which use a wet flue treatment process; water reuse is the solution primarily adopted for this activity.

Lines of research

Smart Ferti Reuse, a Smart fertigation and treated wastewater reuse project

Fertigation applies a circular economy approach to agriculture, by recovering both water and the nutrients present in water. The Smart Ferti Reuse project aims to develop a comprehensive service to support agriculture and local authorities with the optimized and reasoned management of processed urban wastewater and fertilizers. This project is led by Sede Environnement and Veolia in Germany. It is conducted in partnership with Irstea, INRA, Polymem, Bio-UV, CACG, Ecofilae and Veolia Eau in France (project certified “France Expérimentation”) and with AVB and SEBS in Germany.

IrriAlt’Eau, an innovative project to study the quality of treated wastewater for the micro-irrigation of vines

In the framework of the IrriAlt’Eau project and in collaboration with INRAE, Veolia has been a partner in experiments of micro-irrigation of vines in Languedoc Roussillon, with water filtered and purified by treatment plants. Thanks to a purification system developed by Veolia, the water treated in the Narbonne-Plage wastewater treatment plant receives additional so-called tertiary treatment in order to guarantee the quality required for the irrigation of the vines. From 2013 to 2015, experiments on 1.5 hectares of vines showed that there was no difference in the soil, the water table, the plant and the composition of the harvest and the wine,  between vines irrigated with recycled water and those irrigated with drinking water. 

Between 2016 and 2018, the observatory phase of the project has demonstrated that reusing wastewater for irrigation has several advantages for grape production and quality, thanks in particular to its content of essential nutrients for crops, thus reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.  Plants irrigated with treated water grew faster than those irrigated with drinking water. 

In 2020-21, in view of the success of the first project, a large-scale deployment is planned (launch planned for May 2021). The Irri-alt’eau 2.0 project proposes the irrigation of 81 ha of vines, with water from the Narbonne Plage station, reprocessed by additional tertiary treatment to comply with French regulations and the European regulation of 25 May 2020.  Above all, this project makes it possible to maintain viticultural activity in a region with low conventional water resources, and to secure the  vines productivity.

Performance contracts

Integrating environmental performance indicators

Many of Veolia’s services now come with contractual commitments to long-term performance. For example, its contracts with municipal authorities for drinking water production and distribution may include financial, environmental and social performance indicators, such as improvements in network efficiency through reductions in water losses or progress on protecting water resources.

 

New business model

Veolia is going further in its efforts to create value by introducing a new contractual innovation in the form of performance contracts (or peer performance solutions). Under this new business model, the fees that Veolia charges for delivering a service are determined on the basis of how that service is performing. The value created is shared between the client and Veolia.

These performance contracts are built upon Veolia’s long-standing expertise and experience of implementing solutions around the world, coupled with a desire to drive change. The strength of performance contracts lies in this final element, as they establish a new way of working with clients.

Although the client has operational control, Veolia is involved in the client’s processes and organizational structure, ensuring that an improved service can be delivered over the long term.

This type of contract, under which Veolia’s role is somewhere between a concessionaire and a consultant, was developed by Veolia for seven municipal authorities in the United States and Canada (including New York and Pittsburgh). Veolia has developed in the USA an innovative contract model based on the performance provided to the customer versus the volume of water, called PPS Peer Performance Solution.

Protect natural environments and biodiversity

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia has made commitment no. 3 to Protect and restore biodiversity, and it has set an objective to have carried out a diagnosis and deployed an action plan at 100% of sites identified with significant biodiversity issues by 2020.

Mr. Philippe Guitard, Senior Executive Vice President Central and Eastern Europe, supports this commitment at the Executive Committee.

Challenges

The Veolia biodiversity commitment relies on an analysis of the biodiversity issues for each of the Group’s activities and is materializes through an action plan covering the whole of its international perimeter.

Our interactions with Nature

By their very nature, Veolia activities contribute to protecting natural environments (water, air, soil) and biodiversity. Through its water, waste and energy management businesses, the Group directly interacts with natural environments. The collection and treatment of wastewater and waste reduces the pollution of soil, air, and bodies of water by urban and industrial pollution. The development of centralized and strictly regulated urban heating networks that are continuously monitored, and the use of biomass processes help to reduce the environmental impact in comparison to more polluting systems. 

However, Group activities can have direct and/or indirect environmental impacts which contribute to a loss of biodiversity, due to the consumption of natural resources, residual contamination contained in operating emissions and discharges, greenhouse gas emissions, cut-off effects which sites can create in their surroundings (fence, etc.), the land footprint of sites (destruction or improper management of surroundings), the potential use of exotic invasive species during site development and the creation of surroundings favorable to their development.

Analyzing our dependence on ecosystem services

Veolia has analyzed the dependence of each of its business activities on ecosystem services:

  • the production of drinking water is directly tied to a properly functioning water cycle: precipitation, plus storage capacity in catchment areas, ensure that the resource is available. Leveraging the benefit of ecosystems in regulating the quality of water (autotreatment) helps to maintain good quality water resources used for drinking water production and therefore limit the amount of treatment needed to ensure water is fit for consumption; 
  • wastewater treatment activities are dependent on ecological factors: microbial activity, and the ability of aquatic environments to assimilate residual water content, are critical to wastewater treatment; 
  • for energy, biomass operations require a sustainable supply of wood energy; 
  • waste storage, composting and soil remediation all rely on the structure and nature of the soil, as well as biological processes to break down organic material. 

The Group responds to challenges linked to the protection and restoration of biodiversity through specific offers, notably: decontamination activities or biodiversity protection and restoration solutions.

Analyzing the impact of our activities on ecosystems

Veolia works alongside its clients to reduce their environmental footprint.

The collection and treatment of wastewater and waste reduces the pollution of soil, air, and bodies of water by urban and industrial pollution.

The development of centralized and strictly regulated urban heating networks that are continuously monitored, and the use of biomass processes help to reduce the environmental impact in comparison to more polluting systems.

However, Group activities can have direct or indirect environmental impacts which contribute to a loss of biodiversity, due to :

  • the consumption of natural resources;
  • residual pollution contained in operating emissions and discharges;
  • greenhouse gas emissions;
  • cutoff effects which sites can create in their surroundings (fence, etc.);
  • the land footprint and occupancy of sites (destruction or improper management of surroundings), which may have a negative impact on the environment and biodiversity, due to various reasons:
    • the sites managed account for a large surface area of varied environments;
    • exploitation of these sites means a change of soil usage and the destruction, fragmentation and alteration of habitats;
    • although the integration of structures into their surroundings is a key concern for the company, plants and landfills can involve significant changes to the landscape;
    • changes in land occupancy often mean increased soil degradation and, therefore, a direct impact on biodiversity. Sealed spaces such as buildings, roads and parking lots accounted for 21,5% of the total surface area of our sites in 2018.
  • the potential use of exotic invasive species during site development and the creation of surroundings favorable to their development. Although our sites are increasingly conscious of ecological issues, certain invasive plant species are sometimes introduced for landscaping purposes. The stripping of topsoil during development work can itself result in land that is conducive to the emergence of invasive exotic species.

Analyzing the dependence of our business activities on biodiversity

Veolia has analyzed the dependence of each of its business activities on ecosystem services:

  • the production of drinking water is directly tied to a properly functioning water cycle: precipitation, plus storage capacity in catchment areas, ensure that the resource is available. Leveraging the benefit of ecosystems in regulating the quality of water (autotreatment) helps to maintain good quality water resources used for drinking water production and therefore limit the amount of treatment needed to ensure water is fit for consumption;
  • wastewater treatment activities are dependent on ecological factors: microbial activity, and the ability of aquatic environments to assimilate residual water content, are critical to wastewater treatment;
  • for energy, biomass operations require a sustainable supply of wood energy;
  • waste storage, composting and soil remediation all rely on the structure and nature of the soil, as well as biological processes to break down organic material.
Our biodiversity approach

Management

The biodiversity strategy is monitored by a Biodiversity Committee combining the departments in charge of this issue in the Group’s entities (head office functional departments, Research and Innovation, and Business Units).

Since 2010, the Group’s biodiversity approach, led by the Sustainable Development Department, has been supported by a network of correspondents in the main countries where the Group operates ensures the roll-out of the Group’s strategy through the implementation of action plans, the sharing of best practices and feedback on experience.

In-house expertise

To support the implementation of the biodiversity strategy, beside local partnerships that it has built up, the company is able to rely on in-house expertise within the businesses, its engineering departments and its research and innovation teams. These clusters of expertise help to develop methodologies and tools for assessing and characterizing the ecological status of environments, assessing the impact of the company’s waste and developing innovative, nature-based solutions.

Seureca, DESL, EPAS and 2EI – company engineering departments – provide services including consultancy, design, project management support and ecological engineering. Their expertise is used to map ecological continuity, track standardized bio-indicators (IBGN, IPR, IBD, etc.), draw up inventories of flora and fauna and plan activities to restore ecological continuity and action plans for increasing urban biodiversity.

Action plan

In its now complete 2015-2018 action plan, the Group focused on changing its business and practices in terms of ecological management by initiating a change in culture, both internally and externally. This transition led to the inclusion of biodiversity in its offerings, services and management methods and working closely with its customers, sub-contractors and other partners (associations, scientists, etc.). The production and sharing of tools with stakeholders also contributed to promoting biodiversity internally and within their organizations.

Progress with the commitments given in 2018 under the Act4Nature initiative is described below.

Policy and commitments

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia adopted the following commitment and 2020 objective in 2015 :

Mr.  Philippe Guitard, Senior Executive Vice President Central and Eastern Europe, supports this commitment at the Executive Committee.

The achievement of this objective was hindered by delays mainly in 2020 due to the health crisis. 73% of sites identified as having major biodiversity issues in 2014 were nevertheless assessed and rolled out an action plan in 2020 – none of them were assessed at the start of the approach. 

As part of its Purpose and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to combating pollution and accelerating ecological transition. This commitment can be broken down into several objectives, including protecting natural environments and biodiversity. To illustrate this objective, the Group defined a 2023 target involving the roll-out of action plans designed to improve the footprint for natural environments and biodiversity at sensitive sites.

Pursuant to the French legal system, the Group endeavors to implement the principles of the mitigation hierarchy (or the AvoidMinimize-Compensate approach), the first step of which is to avoid damaging biodiversity, then to reduce the impacts and finally to offset them.

The Group’s commitment to biodiversity is also part of the vision, aims and governance principles of the National Biodiversity Strategy (Stratégie Nationale Biodiversité) launched in France, and which Veolia signed in May 2011. In 2015, the Group committed to a 2015- 2018 action plan covering its world scope. This plan was officially recognized by the French Ministry for Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

Veolia made its commitment to protect and restore biodiversity in 2014, as an extension of the Aichi objectives adopted in Nagoya (new strategic plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity) and based on its interaction with nature. The 2016-2018 action plan implementing this commitment focuses on the following three areas and is set out in 13 “objectives” worksheets:

This commitment can be split into three parts:

  • Aspect 1: Better take into account biodiversity issues locally and contribute to the design of innovative solutions inspired by nature;
  • Aspect 2: Deploy ecological management actions at our sites and for our customers;
  • Aspect 3: Raise awareness, involve more people both internally and externally and promote initiatives put in place in collaboration with local players;

In 2018, Veolia Environnement committed to the Act4Nature initiative, launched by the French association EPE (Entreprises Pour l’Environnement), and supported by other public, private and NGO partners. http://www.act4nature.com/

As part of this, its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer signed collective agreements along with 64 other companies and made individual commitments for Veolia. In accordance with one of the commitments under the Act4Nature initiative (renamed Act4Nature International), Veolia will include its biodiversity commitment in the new Act4Nature France system (previously known as the National Biodiversity Strategy) launched at the end of 2019 by the Ministry for Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

In 2019, as part of its Purposes, Veolia defined a new biodiversity objective for 2023: 75% progress rate of action plan improving the footprint of environments and biodiversity on sensitive sites.

The 3 lines of action of protecting natural environments and biodiversity

Protect natural environments and biodiversity” objective is based on three lines of action.

Preserve regional natural environments and biodiversity by limiting the impacts of our sites and developing their ecological potential

Veolia manages impacts linked to discharges and withdrawals in the natural environment of sites it operates. By improving its environmental performance, directly in line with its operational performance, Veolia reduces its impacts on receiving environments, particularly air and water, and therefore biodiversity . In addition, Veolia manages and develops areas, notably to compensate for the impacts generated by land coverage.

1) As part of its 2020-2023 multifaceted performance, Veolia focuses its action on sites which potentially have the most impact on natural environments and biodiversity. Veolia therefore decided to monitor changes in the progress of actions plans designed to improve the footprint on the natural environments and biodiversity of sensitive sites. These sensitive sites were identified with regard to several criteria: 

  • issues relating to the context of the site’s sensitivity and potential as well as the method of managing its green spaces: the surface area of permeable land and water spaces, assessment of green space management practices using phytosanitary products, the type of natural environment in which the site is located, the presence of protected natural areas near the site, potential presence or threatened or protected species. The Group reconciles information extracted from the IBAT database (Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool developed by Birdlife International, Conservation International, the IUCN and the United Nations Environment Program) and site geo-location data, 
  • issues relating to the site’s activity: air and water discharges, purification efficiency, abstraction of resources, environmental non-compliance or accidents. The involvement of an ecologist is necessary to implement on-site footprint assessments. 

2) Under its 2020-2023 Environmental plan, Veolia commits its sites to implementing more virtuous practices for biodiversity, whatever their issues at stake: 

  • zero use of phytosanitary products (to manage site green spaces) at 75% of sites (1) , 
  • implementation of ecological management at 75% of sites (1) with green spaces exceeding 1 hectare (by applying the Veolia green spaces charter).

(1) Reporting scope: Waste business (all sites); Water business (wastewater treatment plants with a population equivalent capacity of over 100,000 and drinking water plants of over 60,000 m3 /day); Energy business (energy production facilities selling over 100 GWh/year).

 

Improvement in the environmental footprint of our activities and those of our customers

Percentage of sites with significant biodiversity issues that have carried out a diagnosis and deployed an action plan remained stable in 2020 due to the exit from the reporting scope of sites that had completed their diagnostic (lost contracts, disposal, etc.) and the world health crisis which hindered the performance of diagnoses. The new 2023 objective, aimed at improving the natural environment and biodiversity footprint at sensitive sites, is in keeping with the 2020 objective (diagnoses at sites with biodiversity issues). Progress in 2020 towards achieving this new objective was also slowed down due to the health crisis. To support the deployment of the strategy, the sites have been equipped with various tools, including:

  • the ecological management guide, developed in partnership with IUCN France, that enables all sites, whatever their issue at stake, to implement measures to protect biodiversity. It comprises information sheets on the maintenance of green areas, ecological developments for roads and buildings, maintenance of ponds and waterways, and the management of invasive exotic species; 
  • EcoLogiCal, a tool designed in partnership with the Noé association and with the participation of IUCN France and Ecocert Environnement. Through an online self-assessment covering 5 major themes (flora, fauna, water, waste, lighting), it allows you to compare the economic and ecological footprints of the traditional management of green spaces with environmentally-friendly practices. EcoLogiCal is aimed at all site managers. It is free, public and can be accessed online: https://eco-logical.fr;
  • the green spaces charter aims to support the transition of green spaces towards more ecological practices. It commits Veolia sites and service providers to manage green spaces ecologically. It also incorporates mandatory measures to consider the effective transition to ecological management; 
  • the zero phyto sheet contains precise explanations on how to stop using phytosanitary products and developing site esthetics standards by increasingly incorporating nature into green spaces.
Strengthen the integration of the protection of natural environments and biodiversity in our Group standards

Veolia develops its internal standards with a direct or indirect impact on biodiversity: purchasing processes (assessment of suppliers with the greatest impact for the environment, application of the Veolia green spaces charter to subcontractors, etc.), businesses (integration of recommendations promoting biodiversity in its operating standards, etc.), marketing (improvement of offers in line with the protection of ecosystems, etc.). 

Veolia is also furthering its understanding of biodiversity to better integrate it into its services. The Group has therefore analyzed the impacts and dependencies of each of its businesses, and the benefits of services provided by nature. The results of these analyses guide the Group’s research projects and the design of innovative solutions (bio-indicators to measure impacts, footprint, etc.). 

In 2020, Veolia finalized an innovative methodology to measure the footprint of its activities on natural environments and biodiversity. The tool was built in collaboration with ecology and life cycle analysis experts: the French consultant agency Ecosphère, the internal environmental consultant agency 2EI, Veolia Environnement Recherche et Innovation, Veolia Eau and the French Committee of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The “natural environments and biodiversity” footprint measures the biodiversity issues of a site in terms of quantity and quality, in the same way as the carbon footprint. The tool is used to draw up a semi-automated action plan according to a site’s major issues and monitor the site’s progress. 

Raise maximum awareness and engage our stakeholders in our strategy

The Group seeks to continue raising awareness among internal (on-site personnel, support functions) and external (subcontractors, customers, general public, etc.) stakeholders on natural environment and biodiversity protection issues. The ultimate aim is to firmly establish the change of culture needed to transform practices (ecological management, green infrastructures, etc.). 

The Group also involves its stakeholders in its decisions (e.g.: partnerships with national and local associations for the protection of the environment, etc.). Under the 2020-2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia gave the following commitment: 50% of sites (1) having raised awareness internally or externally on the issues of protecting natural environments and biodiversity. 

Since 2008, Veolia has partnered the French Committee of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which provides expertise for the roll-out of its commitment (drafting of its commitment in relation to the French National Strategy for Biodiversity, creation of operational tools, etc.). The Group actively participates in the think tanks of the French association Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EpE) and the IUCN. Veolia chairs the IUCN’s “Business and Biodiversity” working group.

(1) Reporting scope: Waste business (all sites); Water business (wastewater treatment plants with a population equivalent capacity of over 100,000 and drinking water plants of over 60,000 m3 /day); Energy business (energy production facilities selling over 100 GWh/year).

In 2018, the Chairman of the French Natural History Museum (MNHN) and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veolia signed a 5-year framework agreement. Objective: to expand and reinforce the current collaboration between MNHN and the Group, in order to improve the consistency and visibility of actions already in place around four areas: research, expertise, distributing knowledge and training.

 Fully aware that naturalist expertise is needed to set up and monitor actions tailored to regional issues, the Group encourages its sites to forge partnerships with conservation associations.

Awareness-raising actions and local partnerships

 

Reducing pollution

Within the framework of its commitment to sustainably manage natural resources, Veolia watches to limit water, air, soil pollutions, as well as to reduce the local nuisances.

The very nature of Veolia’s business aims to protect resources, as reflected by its motto “Resourcing the world”. Veolia builds long-lasting relationships with its customers based, in particular, on its ability to manage risks delegated by them. The Group proposes specific offerings to its customers to reduce pollution: water treatment, processing waste and “complex contamination”.

As part of its Impact 2023 strategic plan, Veolia is accelerating Veolia the development of the most complex activities where expertise is rare and unique and serves ecological transformation, among which activities that prevent and repair toxic pollution: processing and recovery of hazardous waste, soil remediation and decontamination of industrial effluents. It set the following 2023 target:

  • Achieve a consolidated revenue of the “Liquid and hazardous waste treatment and recovery” segment of over Euros 4 billion (2019 baseline: Euros 2.5 billion)

 

Limit the discharge of pollutants into water

Challenges

Veolia provides sanitation services to nearly 62 million people worldwide and operates 2,737 municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Volume of collected and treated municipal wastewater

The main discharges from facilities operated by the Group concern its Water business.

Breakdown of water discharge by destination

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Ocean discharge (in %) 29.6 29.3 31.1 29.6 29.6
Surface water discharge (in %) 70.4 70.7 68.9 70.4 70.4
Subsurface / well total discharge (in %) 0 0 0 0 0
Off-site water treatment total discharge (in %) 0 0 0 0 0
Beneficial/other use total discharge (in %) 0 0 0 0 0

Commitment, approach and result

Protecting water resources is one of Veolia’s areas of expertise, and it is committed to optimizing management of the water cycle.

Veolia has developed a comprehensive approach to help public authorities efficiently manage wastewater collection and treatment services, according to their size and issues. Optimizing the efficiency of treatment processes is an ongoing concern for Veolia, both in terms of operating facilities under its management and developing new processes.

Abatement rates of wastewater treatment plants operated

The average rates of pollution abatement, expressed in BOD5 and COD, for the wastewater treatment plants operated by the Group are very satisfactory. Under the Under the 2020-2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia set minimum efficiency thresholds of 95% and 90% respectively, well above French regulatory thresholds (*), and largely exceeded them.

* The amended Decree of July 21, 2015 on collective wastewater systems and non-collective facilities, excluding individual wastewater systems receiving a gross load of organic waste of less than or equal to 1.2 kg / day BOD5, sets the threshold at 80% for BOD5 and 75% for COD.

Treatment efficiency of wastewater treatment plants with a population equivalent capacity of at least 100,000

Furthermore, in accordance with the European Water Framework Directive, Veolia implemented systems to monitor the flow of a high number of micro pollutants deemed dangerous to the environment, to assess the impact of wastewater treatment plant discharges on the ecological state of bodies of water. These systems were particularly implemented in France.

A comprehensive range of monitoring services

Veolia offers customers a comprehensive range of monitoring services for water pollutants involving sampling and analysis. It has developed regulatory analysis techniques and biological tools for measuring the impact of these discharges on target organisms. When necessary, the Group works with its customers to define and implement solutions to reduce or eliminate the discharge of hazardous substances into the natural environment and manage the attendant risks. These solutions can either be implemented at source (for example, by connecting plants and monitoring networks) or take the form of remedial measures (by optimizing processes, introducing additional treatments, etc.).

Monitoring wastewater collection systems

Environmental protection also involves monitoring wastewater collection system inflows and maintaining good system water tightness. Various measures can be implemented, such as combating the inflow and infiltration of clear water, the implementation of continuous diagnostic approaches based on permanent monitoring of wastewater flow rates and quality, and even at-source management of effluent collected. As well as improving the performance of wastewater treatment plants, these measures restore hydraulic capacity to a network that, over time, would reach its limits. In doing so, they help to protect the natural environment by reducing discharges during periods of light rain or even dry weather conditions.

Actipol 4GI

ACTIPOL 4Gi is a webmapping platform, including notably a matrix associating economic activities and chemical substances. It can be combined with wastewater treatment network monitoring systems (to detect a change in the quality of effluent or specific substances). The aim is to find the possible sources of pollutant emissions in the wastewater treatment network catchment area and identify the polluters. Thanks to these developments, ACTIPOL 4Gi is included in the Group’s digital offering and is now accessible outside France.

Diagnosis of pollution sources in sanitation networks

VERI is working on the use of passive samplers for upstream diagnosis at wastewater treatment plants to identify the source of micro pollutants in the sanitation network. The aim is to identify the best possible support and material depending on the pollutant to be captured. Work has shown that silicon is the most effective material for capturing organic molecules, while the polyethylene collection device Octopus is the most efficient for capturing metals. The results of this work were published in the scientific journal TSM. Techniques Sciences Méthodes.

R&I progress in 2019: Asset management of sanitation networks

In November 2019, Veolia’s Technical and Performance Department1 and R&I organized a conference day on the asset management of sanitation networks. It brought together nearly 150 employees from around the world. Participants from business units shared their experience in the use of existing digital solutions, the development of future solutions and the offerings proposed by Veolia for the sanitation networks. VERI presented a new software tool, RELIABLE SEWER, designed to assess the state of repair of sanitation networks, predict their deterioration, and determine the best inspection and rehabilitation strategy in terms of investment expenditure and service life. This new tool will be integrated into the asset management software tools already industrialized by Veolia’s Technical and Performance Department1.

(1) Renamed the Business Support and Performance Department with the implementation of the Impact 2023 program.

Limit atmospheric pollution

Challenges

The atmospheric emissions generated by Group activities mainly concern its Energy business (combustion plants for heat or heat and power production) and its Waste business (incineration).

Emissions Results

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
SOx Emissions (in tons)1 2 69,733 71,860 12,920 13,188 13,832
NOx Emissions (in tons)1 2 41,236 41,349 20,302 20,991 22,484
Mercury emissions (in tons) from waste incinerators 0.226 0.227 0.296 0.254 0.247
Dust emissions (in tons) from waste incinerators and thermal facilities selling over 100GW/year 894 746 783 641 776

(1) For combustion facilities, Sulfur Oxide (SOx) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions are calculated in accordance with the European Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) of November 24, 2010 as from fiscal year 2018 after bringing facilities managed by Veolia up to standards. Emissions from previous years were calculated in accordance with the former European Directive of October 23, 2001. These documents set the maximum values for emissions based on fuel type and facility capacity

(2) The calculation methods for SOx and NOx emissions may differ depending on the activity. For the Group’s waste incinerators, particularly in Europe, dust, TOC, HCI, SO2, HF, CO, NOx and flue flow are measured on a continuous basis. Analyzers provide substance concentration measurements every minute or so. For thermal energy plants, emissions are calculated based on energy consumption and regulatory emission limits for large combustion plants (from 50 to 100 MW). These emission limits have been applied to all energy consumption, regardless of the size of the facility. Other methods may be used in response to local requirements, based on emission factors depending on the tonnage burned, with these factors being determined through tests under real operating conditions.

The marked decrease in 2018 of Sulfur Oxide (SOx) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions is related to the change in the threshold limit used to calculate emissions for combustion facilities (see note (1) in the table above). The increase in emissions in 2020 is due to the acquisition of thermal installations in the USA.

Commitment and approach

As part of its commitment to combat pollution, Veolia strives to reduce the atmospheric emissions of the facilities which it operates by implementing the best available techniques (BAT).

Objectives and results

Emissions from heating facilities

Under its 2020-2023 Environmental Plan, Veolia set the objective of reducing atmospheric emissions per unit of energy produced, and defined threshold objectives for 2023.

Emissions of thermal installations selling over 100GWh/year

The steady decline since 2016 in SOx , NOx and dust emissions by these facilities reflects the efforts of the sites and the technical centers of excellence to capture and treat air pollutants emitted by heat production plants. Changes in the energy mix were also favorable to a reduction in emissions. 

The slight increase in NOx emissions in 2019 was due to the sale of district heating activities in the United States, which produced significantly lower emissions than the Group average. 

For thermal plants, Veolia implements BREF (BAT Reference Document) best available techniques. They mainly focus on optimizing combustion while minimizing nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions and flue treatment systems (denitrification, desulphurization and dust removal from combustion gases). The Group is also continuing efforts to reduce fuel consumption and encourage the use of cleaner fuels, specifically biomass and natural gas.

Atmospheric waste incinerators emissions

As part of its 2020-2023 Environmental plan, Veolia defined more demanding objectives for SOx and NOx emissions than the strictest regulatory benchmark – the European Union benchmark – to assess its overall performance worldwide. In 2020, as in previous years, average emission concentrations were below the levels stipulated by the European Directive.

Emissions from hazardous and non-hazardous waste incineration plants in 2020
(1) European Directive 2000/76/EC of December 4, 2000, repealed by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) of November 24, 2010 and enacted into French law by two amended decrees of September 20, 2002 (daily averages).

(2) For NOx, the standard depends on the output rate: 200 mg/Nm3 for plants > 6 metric ton/hour and 400 mg/Nm3 for plants < 6 metric ton/hour.

The Industrial Emissions Directive, and in particular the section on incineration, is especially demanding. It sets very low emission limits in comparison with those for thermal power plants and includes a requirement on the continuous measurement of several substances including CO, TOC, HCl, SO2, NOx and dust. These emissions must be measured throughout the effective operating time of waste incineration plants (start-up and shut-down periods, normal operating conditions, malfunctions, etc.). Ongoing tests on dioxin and furan samples taken over a one-month period of operations are also carried out at plants operated by Veolia in France (i.e. more than half of incinerators), in addition two annual measurements. To guarantee that testing is as effective as possible, Veolia has implemented measures to ensure that its measuring instruments operate redundantly. Its maintenance teams monitor all gas flue treatment equipment closely to guarantee that it is permanently in service, thus ensuring that these extremely low emission levels can be maintained.

Our research and innovation efforts are focused largely on preventing the formation of pollutants, as well as on treating them, monitoring and predicting air quality.

Veolia contributed actively to the review of the Waste Incineration BREF (Best available techniques Reference document), published at the end of 2019. These technical documents are prepared by the European Commission and the incineration industry and are a reference for best available techniques, specifically for improving the environmental impact, including air emissions and specifications on NOx, CO, TOC, HCl, HF, SO2, NOx, PCDD, metals, dust, etc.

Optimise land use

Challenges

The landfill sites and drinking water production sites operated by the Group mainly cover the largest areas. At these sites, soil contamination can lead to groundwater or surface water pollution.

Veolia also offers solutions to remediate contaminated soils and maintain soil quality

Commitment and approach

Site land areas are not fully sealed. Veolia designs and operates these sites to minimize the footprint of its activities by maximizing the percentage of soil favorable to the maintenance and development of biodiversity. 

As part of its biodiversity strategy, the Group drafted an ecological design and management guide for its sites with the support of IUCN France. Site operating rules include conditions governing the use of land that are consistent with the Group’s commitment to ecosystem management. 

Furthermore, Veolia is careful not to cause any chronic or accidental soil pollution at all the sites it operates by: 

  • storing and using materials under good conditions; 
  • properly managing storm water and effluents; 
  • ensuring that resources for preventing accidental spillages remain operational

Redevelopment of landfilling cells

The operation of a landfill site requires landfilling cells to be dug and prepared. When responsible for this task, the Group complies with all obligations regarding surface sealing and the recovery of excavated materials.

Minimum Veolia standards govern the design and operation of landfill sites. These include: hydrogeological and geological soil studies, a watertight system made up of a double barrier (passive, with a low permeability soil or equivalent and active, with the application of a geomembrane tested and certified by an external service provider), systems for collecting and treating leachates and surface water; and monitoring groundwater. 

Over the duration of operations and post-operations (at least 20 years), the monitoring system is based, inter alia, on the analysis of surface water, groundwater and discharges. All Veolia sites self-assess their compliance with these standards. Should they fall short, the sites must either propose an action plan showing how they intend to achieve compliance, demonstrate that equivalent measures are in place, or obtain special dispensation on the basis of additional monitoring measures.

Once used, the cells are covered as quickly as possible, encouraging the development of local ecosystems. The cells are monitored for environmental impacts before being returned to general use. When the entire site is redeveloped, monitoring continues to ensure that the species planted repopulate the area (post-operation phase). These stages are incorporated in the action plans for sites with major biodiversity issues.

The operation of a landfill site requires landfilling cells to be dug and prepared. When responsible for this task, the Group complies with all obligations regarding surface sealing and the recovery of excavated materials. Once used, the cells are covered as quickly as possible. The cells are simultaneously landscaped and closed to ensure the site is reintegrated into its environment and encourage the development of local ecosystems. The cells are monitored for environmental impacts before being returned to general use. Once a site is no longer operational (when all cells have been closed), post-closure monitoring is conducted for a period determined by the administrative authorities to ensure that the site’s environment is controlled and protected from aqueous and gaseous discharges. When the entire site is redeveloped, monitoring continues to ensure that the species planted repopulate the area. These stages are incorporated in the action plans for sites with major biodiversity issues.

Implementation of protective perimeters around water catchment areas 

Catchment areas for water intended for consumption are surrounded by protective perimeters. Human activities that could directly or indirectly damage water quality are prohibited or regulated. In its wellfield operations, the Group conducts voluntary biodiversityfriendly actions: management of green areas, inventory of animal and plant life, etc.

Restoring and maintaining soil quality

Veolia is also committed to restoring and maintaining soil quality through the remediation of contaminated soil and organic recovery of waste and wastewater sludge.

Peat-free is a greener, sustainable and renewable alternative to compost

The composts produced by recovering biodegradable waste and wastewater sludge for agricultural purposes must comply with local regulations and may even be sold. This is the case in the United Kingdom with Peat Free by Pro-Grow, a high-quality, peat-free compost made from organic and green waste that has been certified by the Soil Association and provides an alternative to chemical fertilizers.

QualiagroTM,  a compost quality assessment program

The QualiagroTM research program, which aims to determine the agricultural value of composts formed from urban waste, as well as their environmental impact, on the basis of long-term field trials and laboratory research. The results achieved have direct applications in manufacturing composts and for their directions for use.

Angibauda company specializing in organic and alternative fertilization

Angibaud, a Veolia subsidiary present in around thirty countries has developed a fertilizer range for the organic fertilization, fertigation and foliar nutrition markets, as well as composts. Its goal is to contribute to sustainable farming by proposing alternative fertilization techniques to “all chemical” fertilizers. Two Veolia plants are operated in France to produce the fertilizers: the Bavay plant in the North and the Béziers plant in the South.

Soil AdvisorTMa rationalized fertilization optimization tool

Veolia Research and Innovation has developed a decision-making tool to assist teams in contact with farmers to rationalize fertilization with organic products using an appraisal – simulation – optimization approach. The Century model developed with Colorado State University (CSU) was adapted and calibrated in 2017 for French soil by the Veolia teams in collaboration with CSU using data from field trials. Century enables the carbon and nutrient (N, P and K) dynamics to be coupled, a key factor in the overall optimization of fertilization (organic and mineral). A multi-objective algorithm, developed and tested in 2018, is available under the Soil AdvisorTM trademark.

Deployed in France in conjunction with SEDE, a Veolia subsidiary, the tool can be used to demonstrate how the amount of organic carbon in soil decreases over time when mineral fertilizer is added but can be increased by using compost, while maintaining the cost/profit ratio (based on a field trial in the Calvados region).

Reducing local pollution

The Group seeks to minimize any local pollution in all its activities. Identifying environmental impacts at local level is one of its EMS requirements and enables operational managers to identify such specific issues and take appropriate measures.

 

Limit, capture and treat odors

Challenges

The natural process of organic matter decomposition can generate odorous molecules. This process concerns several Group activities: biological water treatment, composting, collecting household waste, waste storage facilities.

Commitment and approach

Tackling odor emissions is an ongoing concern for Veolia. The Group strives to limit, capture and treat them.

It implements solutions directly and works with its customers where they are responsible for the necessary capital expenditure. To this end, Veolia has developed technology and works with partners to treat and control odors (e.g. biofiltration treatment, scrubbing and electronic measurement systems). It also implements physicalchemical and biological techniques that limit odor problems. In the event of perceived pollution, the Group consults with the local population. For example, the creation of a “nose jury” made up of local residents who have been trained to identify odors and the introduction of a special telephone line both help to assess the odor problem more effectively and enable Veolia to take appropriate steps.

 

Limit wastewater treatment plant odors

Conventional treatment used to reduce wastewater treatment plant odors is based on chemical scrubbing towers that are sometimes several meters high with a large land footprint. Veolia has filed a patent for a technique, AquilairTM+, that reduces the size of these facilities by a factor of three or even four. These 10,000 m3/h capacity turbo-washers were installed by Klearios in Neubourg and Hénin-Carvin (France).

Patented ultra-compact odor treatment reactor.

Conventional treatment used to reduce wastewater treatment plant odors is based on chemical scrubbing towers that are sometimes several meters high and have a large land footprint. Veolia has filed a patent for a technique that reduces the size of these facilities by a factor of three or even four.

 

Advanced services for reducing odors and protecting people and assets

ThioBox et myKlearSens, hydrogen sulfide measurement technologies

Veolia offers diagnostics services,  and designs and implements personalized solutions and web services, such as ThioBox(to reduce the consumption of reagents) and myKlearSens autonomous and communicating sensors, in response to the disruption caused by sulfur in plants, networks or the environment. 

Thiobox is a dosing system which compares real-time reactant measurement data (including temperature, flow, weather) to historical, site-specific data in order to determine the appropriate amount needed. This automated solution designed to optimize reactant consumption is used upstream of industrial processes to limit hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions and encourage the growth and sustainability of bacteria.

myKlearSens is a stand-alone communicating sensor designed to continuously and remotely measure and control, and ultimately limit, H2S emissions.

Klearios, a company specializing in the treatment of air, VOCs* and odors

Klearios is a Veolia subsidiary specializing in the treatment of air and odors: conception, design, sizing and implementation of air, volatile organic compound (VOC) and odor treatment technical solutions.

Examples: odor neutralizers, efforts to prevent hydrogen sulfide formation in wastewater by treating and measuring H2S, optimized injection of various reactants, biofilters, wet washing, absorption through soaked media, stiff textile modular covers, etc.

CLEAR (Cloud Live Emission for Air): air quality monitoring and forecasting service
Air quality is an issue that the Group’s operational staff have to manage, whether at wastewater treatment plants, landfills or composting sites, but also for our industrial customers. In order to detect sources and reduce impacts, CLEAR provides the ability to monitor and predict what is going to happen around an industrial site, whether it concerns odorous compounds such as hydrogen sulfide or gaseous pollutants at certain industries. CLEAR also allows to model the plume according to the weather conditions. This service has been implemented at the Maera wastewater treatment plant in Montpellier (Odocontrol) and is currently being deployed in France and abroad.

 

Limiting odors from landfills and composting

In addition to managing operating areas at landfills as effectively as possible, there is also a constant focus on capturing landfill gas, which can help to reduce associated odor emissions. One operating area covering a limited surface area is opened at a time, and temporary covers and a degassing system may be used when needed. Additional measures, such as maintaining a minimum distance between the operating area and property boundaries, creating natural screens (such as banks or trees), and spraying neutralizing or masking products are proposed if no other solution is available for reducing the impact.

Research and innovation in the field of wastewater treatment processes focuses largely on characterizing and treating odors (ultra-compact process), while our research into waste treatment is focused on anaerobic digestion, composting and waste landfills.

When composting takes place at open sites, the operator can reduce emissions by closely monitoring and managing the fermentation parameters: using the AEROcontrolTM and creating windrows with a BiokapTM biofilter cover.

AEROcontrol™, an innovative controlled aeration system for composting

Controlled aeration of compost windrows considerably improves the fermentation and degradation performance of organic matter and the quality of the compost produced. AEROcontrol™ measures compost temperatures and adapts the amount of air to be blown in to obtain optimal conditions for biological degradation.

This automatic system can be controlled on site or remotely. Coupled with a computerized management system for monitoring compost batches, GESTCOMPⓇ, this system makes it possible to limit the generation of odours. It is notably deployed on sites in Romania, South Korea and Hungary.

BiokapTM: a high-performance odor reduction technology

The Biokap process is used in combination with controlled aerated windrow composting. It involves covering the windrow with a 25 – 60 cm layer of either purely organic matter or a mixture of organic and inorganic materials. This bio filter cover not only improves the composting process (better break-down, reduced decomposition times and maintaining a constant temperature within the windrow), but also helps to reduce greenhouse gases and treat odor pollution. In Australia, Biokap has been deployed at the Sydney waste sorting and treatment facility to treat its odors.

 

 

Limit odors relating to waste collection

Household waste collection vehicles are washed at the start of each shift to reduce odor pollution during rounds. Veolia also offers bin cleaning and disinfection services to limit odors from the containers provided to individual households for storing their waste between collections. These services are provided at the point of use by vehicles that can recycle the water used to wash the containers. They are particularly well-suited to areas with hot climates and have already been rolled out in Singapore, the Middle East and some French towns and cities. 

 

Limit waste collection noise

Challenges 

Noise issue has become a key concern for local elected representatives. The main noise problems primarily concern waste collection. 

Approach 

Veolia is carrying out research and has developed some particularly innovative solutions, such as a pneumatic waste collection system that significantly reduces the volume of trucks in towns and cities.

By avoiding the use of trucks in built-up areas, vacuum collection is one way of helping reduce noise pollution. For example, in Romainville in France, 6,000 residents have had access to this new service since 2011. The various household waste drop-off points are connected by 4.1 km of underground tunnels through which waste is conveyed pneumatically to a collection terminal, cutting the number of kilometers traveled by trucks by three.

This system offers a number of advantages:  

  • makes the urban environment cleaner and improves hygiene;
  • frees up space by eliminating the need for bulky containers and refuse container storage areas;
  • improves collection conditions;
  • the service is available 24/7.

Another contract is operational in France, in the eco-neighbourhood Les Batignolles Paris (2013).

 

Site integration

In addition to the company’s efforts to preserve biodiversity, ensuring that the sites it operates or builds blend into the surrounding landscape is an ongoing concern. This is a key consideration when building any new site, as can be seen in the following recent examples where the architectural approach has factored in this requirement.

The Marquette-lez-Lille wastewater treatment plant in France blends into the surrounding landscape and sits within a seven-hectare park.

The green walls of the Port Leucate wastewater treatment plant (France) help it to blend in more effectively with the surrounding pine forest.

The eco-design of the Hénin-Beaumont wastewater treatment plant (France) incorporates some unique landscaping, with lines of trees gradually revealing the buildings and the remaining areas redeveloped as colorful meadows.

The wastewater treatment plant serving Guéthary, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Acotz is fully integrated into the surrounding landscape. This highly compact site incorporates cutting-edge technologies and its performance far exceeds the required standards.

The remarkable design of the recycling and waste-to-energy facility in Leeds (United Kingdom) helps it to blend into the surrounding landscape, with features such as a green wall, landscaping and plants that complement and enhance the surrounding area.

In 2014, the Estuaire de la Dives joint district authority won the Aquaplus prize for the wastewater treatment plant in Cabourg, which was built by OTV and is operated by Veolia. This prize is awarded to projects in the water sector that implement the principles of sustainable development in an exemplary manner, particularly efforts to blend the site into the surrounding landscape, including the treatment and monitoring of odors (both at the plant and within the network).

The world’s largest sludge treatment and recovery plant in Hong Kong inaugurated by Veolia in 2016, with structures designed from a concept combining the seaside and the neighboring hills. This 7-hectare site comprises a recreational and educational center for the general public and a 9,800 m2 landscaped and ecological garden reflecting the biodiversity of the bay of Hong Kong.

Compacting to reduce the soil footprint

The compact processes developed by VWT for planned wastewater treatment plants (such as Biostyr®, SBR and Actiflo® for biological treatment and settling) significantly reduce the land footprint and size of facilities to be built. This compactness makes it possible to change people’s image of such plants, to locate them in sensitive areas without changing the landscape and even to make them invisible. The space freed up in this way is showcased by the architects and landscape artists involved in designing these projects.  

Corporate social performance

Veolia, firmly anchored and involved in the regions, works with each local player to improve access to all its essential services, living and health conditions, jobs and training, integration, economic development, and the relation between industry and municipal authorities. In the regions where we operate, cohesion and social equity represent success factors for our businesses, the public services we are delegated, or the contracts we are awarded.

Whereas the global economy is displacing entire sections of economic activity from one region to another, local public services cannot be relocated. Water, energy or waste management have also escaped this trend.

Our solutions thus contribute to the appeal and competitiveness of municipalities and their companies as well as to regional vitality.

Corporate social policy and management

Corporate social responsibility is expressed and assessed through three company commitments to sustainable regional development, with accompanying targets for 2020.

Commitment 4 – Build new models for relations and value creation with our stakeholders.

  • 2020 target indicator – To enter into a major partnership based on shared value creation in each business region and each growth segment.

Commitment 5 – Contribute to local development.

  • 2020 target indicator – Maintain the percentage of Veolia’s spending reinvested locally at over 80%.

Commitment 6 – Supply and maintain services crucial to human health and development.

  • 2020 target indicator – To contribute to the United Nations General Assembly sustainable development goals defined in September 2015, just as we contributed to the Millennium goals.

This strategy is now part of Veolia’s Purpose, defined in 2019, and its Impact 2023 strategic program. The associated multifaceted performance approach provides the basis for the management of the Group’s CSR strategy, expressing a new commitment to support the development of the regions in a responsible manner, which is reflected in three new societal objectives:

  • job and wealth creation in the regions ;
  • ethics and compliance ;
  • access to essential services (water and sanitation).

Firmly anchored in local regions, Veolia works with each local player to improve access for all to essential services, living and health conditions, jobs and training, integration, economic development, and relations between industry and municipal authorities.

Steering and deployment

The operational entities present on five continents are the primary players in implementing the Group’s commitments, in cooperation with the functional departments and through the Executive Committee and zone managers.

The Group also relies on other entities which, in addition to the projects carried out directly by business units, assist local regions and players with their transition by supporting initiatives in terms of development assistance, environmental protection and social reinsertion:

  • The Veolia Foundation, whose priority areas are development assistance and humanitarian emergencies, support for transition to work and social cohesion, and environmental and biodiversity protection. The Veolia Foundation’s projects involve the Group’s employees, as sponsors of supported projects (financial sponsorship), or Veoliaforce network volunteers (skills sponsorship through work in the field). In 2019, Veolia Foundation provided financial support to 41 new projects or action plans of €1.312 million. By extending the Foundation’s mandate for a new five-year term (2018-2023), the Group has confirmed its commitment to a policy of skills-based patronage and financial sponsorship;
  • The Veolia Institute a non-profit organization created by Veolia Environnement, which has looked to the future and considered challenges relating to both the environment and society since 2001. A platform for exchanges and debates, its mission is to offer different perspectives for a brighter future. Over the years, the Veolia Institute has established a leading international network, formed of academics and scientific experts, universities and research organizations, public authorities, NGOs, and international organizations. The Veolia Institute is active through its publications and top conferences, its future-oriented discussion groups and its international network. Recognized as a legitimate platform for global issues, the Veolia Institute was admitted as an “NGO Observer” by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Solidarity and Citizenship

Through its local business units, all of Veolia’s zones supplement the role of the dedicated entities, the Foundations, in Veolia’s “Resourcing the world” mission and its commitment towards local communities. The Group’s social responsibility was expressed through the civic solidarity initiatives rolled out in 2020 in the various countries where Veolia operates:

  • donations to associations, NGOs and communities as part of local social or environmental solidarity initiatives (patronage and sponsoring): €19.929 million,
  • social or environmental campaigns by volunteer employees (see the section “Encourage social and professional integration, and solidarity”): 4,068 days (around €890.000 million),
  • overheads (operating and management costs) of entities committed to rolling out the Veolia civic approach (Veolia Foundations in France, Germany and the Czech Republic): €1.977 million,
  • product and service donations, mainly to maintain drinking water access for the most vulnerable populations (see the paragraph “Provide ongoing access to essential services”): €5.087 million.

Build new models for relations with our stakeholders

Veolia has developed its CSR approach by interacting with all regional partners: public authorities, institutions, civil society, citizens/users of our services, industry and the business world, etc. Its solutions, based on constant inventiveness that contributes to value creation partnerships, converge with regulatory, economic, social and environmental issues. Objective? Improve client performances, for the benefit of the regions.

Challenges and approach

Through its sustainable development commitment, Build new models for relations and value creation with our stakeholders, Veolia looks to meet several complementary objectives:

  • Build new shared value creation models with our clients and regional partners;
  • Develop relations with all stakeholders in its ecosystem.

Mr. Olivier Brousse, Director of Strategy and Innovation, sponsors this commitment at the Executive Committee.

Broader dialogue encompassing co-development

While dialogue with our clients, both in the public sector and in industry, is essential to improving our service and responding to their expectations, it is not our only focus. Satisfying the needs of end consumers or users (our “indirect” clients) is essential. Without the support of the wider population for the level of service we offer at the price we ask, we do not have a legitimate or sustainable business.

The (indirect) contribution of suppliers and subcontractors to the company’s corporate social performance is one of the drivers of the Responsible Procurement policy.

With the increased importance of civil society players (NGOs, social entrepreneurs, consumer associations, charities, universities, etc.), the Group has redefined the scope of its businesses and rethought its growth founded on innovative models, developing new business models. The principle? Leverage the company’s know-how through contracts sharing profit and value creation with clients and partners contributing additional expertise.

These co-building mechanisms provide the means to understand issues that Veolia could not have tackled alone. For example, an urban resilience service offering requires concerted global action and collaboration with a broad range of players. This approach underpins the partnership signed with the reinsurance company Swiss Re, which is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the 100 Resilient cities initiative.

A Critical Friends committee

Created in 2013, the Veolia Critical Friends Committee is today made up of around fifteen independent people, experts in human resources, social and environmental issues, from institutions, the academic community and non-profit organizations, company partners and a representative of young climate activists. The Committee is chaired by Jean-Michel Severino, CEO of Investisseurs & Partenaires.
This collective forum of discussion is an opportunity to provide Veolia management with an external viewpoint on strategic topics in relation to its corporate responsibility, in order to foster and support the Group’s initiative to make continuous progress. Members contributed to establishing the Group’s Purpose and expressed opinions on its accomplishment. In 2020, the Committee met twice, covering issues such as the strengthening of Veolia’s social utility during the pandemic, the Group’s new strategic project in line with its Purpose and the Company’s transformation, or the creation of a world champion of ecological transformation.
Committees in China and Japan draw from this model to discuss Veolia’s strategic direction with experts in these countries.

Reference tools

Veolia draws on two reference documents in order to promote an active policy of dialogue with stakeholders in all regions in which we operate.

  • The Manager’s Code of Conduct is a guide for all Veolia managers. It is implemented within Veolia by each subsidiary and in all countries where the Group operates, in accordance with national and international laws, regulations and practices. This Code of Conduct is based on five fundamental values that have been designated as the cornerstones of our corporate culture: responsibility, solidarity, respect, innovation and customer focus. These values define the company’s personality and guide our behaviour and decision-making. The Code of Conduct explains, through each of these values, the collective commitment of the company and the concrete way in which managers should behave on a daily basis with their teams and stakeholders :

  • stakeholder mapping (covering political institutions, financial institutions, professional associations, associations of local authorities, development and charitable NGOs, foundations and universities). For each of these, we have defined objectives, the partnerships we would like to build and points of entry into the company. A Stakeholder Committee was set up to prioritize and coordinate collaborations at head office level.
  • A methodology guide to dialogue with stakeholders. It is available to a network of sustainable development officers (around 25 employees across the Group’s zones and entities) and operating managers, enabling them to implement this dialogue policy and harmonize specific local circumstances with head office guidelines.. Solely for internal use, this methodology guide shares best practices and was published for the first time in October 2014. It comprises four phases:
  1. Mapping (identification of our stakeholders and definition of our action plan)
  2. Information & dialogue (stakeholder relations management)
  3. Commitment (contribute and innovate with our stakeholders)
  4. Measuring and communication (measure and communicate on the impact of our strategies).
  • It is accompanied by a drive to share best practices and the pitfalls encountered (e.g. the stakeholder mapping in New Delhi for the Nangloi contract). This methodology guide is referred to in the EpE guide “Environment and Health: stakeholder dialogue” published in 2016, page 66.

Stakeholder engagement guide image

Local stakeholder engagement guide

Guaranteeing an optimal dialogue

In terms of our contracts, the company’s stakeholders come from multiple backgrounds:

  • local authorities and elected representatives: represent not only our main contractors and institutional clients, but are also the elected representatives of the people in the communities we serve;
  • citizens: they are the consumers of the services we provide and often live near the facilities we operate;
  • economic players: they are the clients, suppliers or industrial or tertiary partners in the regions where Veolia operates.

The relationships between these stakeholders are complex. Consequently, the Group implements specific actions to guarantee optimal, regular and transparent dialogue.

Because the support of consumers and the various players for the services provided and the cost of these services is essential, there is a crucial need to build new partnership and contract models with local players, based on mutual benefits (economic, labor-related, corporate social, and environmental). This requires dialogue, the basis of efficiency and legitimacy.

Establishing dialogue with local stakeholders involves, in particular:

  • implementing a local management structure to respond to the information and service requests of all inhabitants;
  • providing regular information to local stakeholders concerned and/or affected by access to services and changes thereto;
  • conducting client satisfaction surveys to assess service progress and the benefits enjoyed by users and to better understand their expectations and reasons for dissatisfaction. The results of these surveys are generally available on the websites of the service companies concerned;
  • setting-up an external communication system to promote new solutions to public authority clients (innovation booklet, innovation meetings, participation in sustainable city events, dedicated website);
  • taking into account the informal sector.

The public-private partnership business model for providing public services promotes an ongoing dialogue with public authorities and government agencies. Accordingly, discussion bodies are defined for the governance of ongoing contracts and the frequency and format of interaction is contractually documented.

Dialogue with elected representatives and local civil servants is an ongoing process, not only to ensure compliance with contractual terms, but also to adjust agreements to the authority’s changing needs. The authorities specify their requirements in contracts that bind us, and our ability to respond to these requests is one way that our performance is measured. The service provider’s obligations to provide transparent information (regular reports, performance indicators, etc.) are also specified contractually.

Take account of global expectations

Veolia has regular exchanges with its institutional stakeholders (associations, international organizations, universities, trade unions, etc.) through various discussion forums (working groups, conferences and international events) and has formed partnerships with several of them. Veolia actively contributes to discussions, consultations and projects on developments in environmental services management initiated by international, European and French authorities, professional associations, think tanks and NGOs. The Group shares its expertise by responding to stakeholders’ requirements, initiatives or issues that have a direct or indirect impact on its businesses.

Civil society and academic representatives

The Veolia Institute: looking to the future

The Veolia Institute looks to the future and considers challenges relating to both the environment and society. It develops its activities through ongoing dialogue in scientific and intellectual circles and with practitioners that lead their field in the areas concerned. Through conferences, a review (Institute Review – FACTS reports) and forward-looking working groups, the Veolia Institute brings together and circulates the experience and expertise of different players (researchers, academic experts, public powers, companies, NGOs, international organizations, etc.) to gain different viewpoints on its working themes: 

  • in the first half of 2020, the Veolia Institute published a new issue of its journal on indoor air quality. Its aim is to shed light on a topic that is less visible than atmospheric pollution but nevertheless has major impacts for public health. The issue explores solutions designed to measure, improve and preserve indoor air quality using the latest scientific and technical innovations and identifies the levers for raising public awareness and rolling out the public policies needed to implement these solutions. The journal combines academic contributions (University of Seoul), the view of international and government players (Airparif, OMS, Climate and Clean Air Coalition) as well as case studies from major groups (Veolia) and innovative start-ups (AirVisual); 
  • in the second half of 2020, in a context marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute looked at two topics: the future of essential services in Africa, particularly access to water, wastewater services, waste management and energy; and the transition of industrial firms to the circular economy in line with recovery plans. Meetings were organized with academic experts to shed light on these topics for Group managers.

To see all the publications :

The conference debates

To promote its publications when they are released and moving forward, and to continue to support and enrich the discussions, the Veolia Institute organizes conference debates with review contributors and other experts. The reviews published this year each led to two conference debates. The first was held to launch the publication at Veolia’s headquarters (Aubervilliers). The second was organized in partnership with the Groupe SOS social innovation platform “Mouvement UP”, and helped the Institute to promote its work with a younger and broader audience.

2020 conference-debate: “Indoor air quality: tackling the challenges of the invisible”

On Friday, March 6th, 2020, the Veolia Institute organized a conference-debate entitled “Indoor air quality: tackling the challenges of the invisible” at the occasion of the publication of its new review. The speakers were :

  • Corinne Mandin, Head of the Indoor Air Quality Observatory (OQAI) within the Health and Comfort Department of the Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB)
  • Seraphine Haeussling, Coordinator of the Household Energy Initiative, Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)
  • Benjamin Ficquet, Director Property & Operation, Icade
  • Frédéric Bouvier, Director of the Air Expertise Cluster, Veolia

With the introduction of Nicolas Renard, Director of Foresight, Veolia Institute, and the conclusion of Sabine Fauquez-Avon, President of OFIS Veolia.

Moderation: Cédric Baecher, Co-founder of the Nomadéis firm.

The forward-Looking Committee of the Institute

Thanks to the international reputation of its members and their expertise, the Forward-Looking Committee guides the activities and development of the Veolia Institute during its annual meeting. In 2020, the Committee dedicated a study day to the lessons learnt from the health crisis, particularly with regard to environmental health, and the conditions for a successful “green” recovery. In 2019, the Committee looked further into urban farming, the reality of initiatives led by associations, companies and public authorities, as well as their challenges and development prospects. Whilst the economic model still needs to be developed, the Committee confirmed the strong potential of urban farming as a source of social cohesion and positive external factors for the city and its people.

Remarkable partnerships

Besides other examples highlight partnerships between Veolia and the academic world (e.g. Antropia and ESSEC’s Institute for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship), civil society and the private sector (e.g. the “Entreprise et pauvreté” action tank, joined by Veolia in 2014 and partnerships with Ashoka and Ticket for Change involving entrepreneurial and social business projects). By promoting social entrepreneurship, these collaborations also contribute to regional economic development through dialogue.

The QualiAgro research program on sustainable farming

At the end of the conference celebrating 20 years of the QualiAgro research program, Veolia, INRA and Irstea signed a framework agreement in November  2018 to continue to collaborate on sustainable farming for five years. This program aims to develop solutions to use organic urban waste (biowaste, green waste and wastewater sludge) as farming fertilizer. The agreement should help the program move onto a large-scale experiment stage.

Partnership with the Essec Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Chair.

Founded in 2005, Essec’s Institute for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (IIES) is the first institute for social entrepreneurship launched by a management school in France. Now known as the “Essec Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Chair”, it supports the emergence and development of sustainable social enterprises with a significant social impact through research-action programs. As a forum for innovative ideas, it helps compare actions on the ground with theoretical concepts.

The partnership established with the Essec Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Chair, and, more specifically with its Essec Antropia incubator, aims to develop social entrepreneur incubation processes in association with Veolia’s businesses at regional level. This collaboration, based on pooling Antropia’s know-how in social and solidarity economics on the one hand and Veolia’s regional coverage on the other, should help social entrepreneurs make their business more successful, efficient and sustainable. Together, Antropia Essec and Veolia Eau Ile de France have accompanied four social entrepreneurs since 2015. Veolia Eau Ile de France is co-developing new solutions with two of them: Logiscité (awareness raising – insertion) and Koom (facilitating solidarity challenges).

Since 2017, the Essec Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Chair assists Veolia with measuring the social impact of its open innovation program, “Pop Up by Veolia”, defining program steering and appraisal indicators together: job creation, resource savings, number of beneficiaries impacted, etc.

Participation in the Enterprise and Poverty action tank

Created in 2010 at the initiative of the chair in Social Business, Enterprise and Poverty at the HEC business school in Paris as a testing ground for social experimentation, the Enterprise and Poverty Action Tank now brings together enterprises, associations and the academic world around a common aim: helping to reduce poverty and exclusion in France, by promoting corporate development of economically sustainable projects likely to be rolled out on a grand scale. Veolia, which joined the tank action at the beginning of 2014, has notably participated in the work devoted to the rehabilitation of degraded condominiums, or to the effectiveness of the solidarity mechanisms for fragile customers of Water France.

Contribution to the SnO (Society & Organizations) Center, HEC Paris

Created in 2016, under the patronage of Professor M. Yunus, the HEC SnOa center was created to work on issues covering company organization and societal involvement/interfacing. This research and teaching center is directly associated with the Business and Poverty action tank. The Center’s three pillars (teaching, research and pilot projects steered by the action tank) constitute the Movement for Social * Business Impact.

Ticket for Change

Created in 2014, Ticket for Change promotes entrepreneurial vocations that serve society (access to healthcare, education, housing, environmental protection, etc.) and develops sustainable economic projects with these entrepreneurs for change. The partnership with Veolia concerns the mobilisation of Veolia employees in social innovation projects and the sourcing of social start-ups linked to the Group’s businesses.

Social business and Grameen (Bangladesh)

Grameen Veolia Water, a joint venture between the healthcare subsidiary of microcredit provider Grameen Bank, founded by Mohammad Yunus, and Veolia, uses an innovative economic model – social business.

The Ashoka network

Partners since 2014, Veolia and Ashoka (the leading global network of social entrepreneurs, with 3,000 members in 80 countries) implement measures to help develop social entrepreneurship at regional level. This year, the partnership focused specifically on strengthening the capacity of regional social entrepreneur incubators. Ashoka proposes additional marketing and leadership training modules through its network of legal professionals.

This partnership is in integral part of Veolia’s global approach, acting as a social entrepreneurship incubator, dubbed “Pop-Up by Veolia”.

La REcyclerie (France)

Veolia has been Paris-based REcyclerie’s main partner since it opened in 2014. A former train station transformed into an ecologically responsible testing ground, REcyclerie raises awareness of the challenges surrounding urban agriculture and the circular economy. It introduces alternative urban lifestyles to people from all walks of life. A veritable Do-Tank, with a 1,000 m2 urban farm and a small domestic appliance repair workshop, it offers daily workshops, conferences and collaborative projects, and is a true test-bed for civic mobilization for eco- and environmental responsibility initiatives. In 2017, the REcyclerie and Veolia embarked the public on its “ECOptimists campaign” program. A number of regular meetings were proposed from February to December: major debates, workshops, festive events, artistic vision, 2C conferences for students. Veolia also organized circular economy conferences: the city, a hotbed for the circular economy; The circular economy, inspired by nature and at its service; Ocean pollution: how the circular economy can contribute to preservation; Biomass, an energy for the future; Waste, our new resources for tomorrow.

Local partnerships with universities, educational programs or local environmental protection associations operation initiatives covering environmental issues are launched locally by regions and countries. Examples include, in France, with Fondation Rennes 1 and Espace des Sciences Rennes (supporting initiatives to protect biodiversity and transfer knowledge); in China, with the Environment School (Tsinghua University in Beijing), the Chinese Society for Environmental Science and various associations and in Hong Kong, with the support of a youth development program – Tomorrow’s Environmental Leaders –  led by The Nature Conservancy; in the Netherlands, with Nudge (social company implementing sustainable changes in the climate, energy and environment sectors); in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with Secret city life (an urban biodiversity project launched in 2017).These partnerships are sometimes formed through organizations created specifically by Veolia to support projects: Veolia Environmental Trust in the United Kingdom, Veolia’s Mulwaree Trust in Australia, Veolia Foundation Poland in Poland.

[1] Nature Works Hong Kong (NWHK) Environmental Innovation and Leadership program

International organizations

As a partner to international organizations, Veolia continues to cooperate with the main UN agencies, bilateral organizations and international donor agencies to give effect to the commitments made when it joined the United Nations Global Compact in June 2003, and to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals. The Group is one of the businesses that have obtained the “Advanced” level differentiation for its Global Compact Communication on Progress.

The Global Compact

The Group is one of the 560 world businesses that has achieved the “Advanced” differentiation level for its Communication on Progress as part of its adherence to the UN Global Compact, whose principles it helps to disseminate. To strengthen this leadership and promote this commitment with companies, Veolia took on the chairmanship of the Advanced Club, an exchange and collective learning platform launched by the French Global Compact network. Veolia takes its commitment further than the 10 principles of the Global Compact by making an active contribution to the focus group CEO Water Mandate.

Since 2017, Veolia has participated in the High Level Political Forum organized by the United Nations, which aims to take stock of implementation of the 2030 Agenda at a global level.

The UN and the Conference of Parties on climate change (COP)

Since 2013, Veolia mobilizes its efforts and contributes as a company to conferences of the parties on climate change (COP), in blue or green areas.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)

CCAClogoVeolia has joined the CCAC entrepreneurial partnership program and works alongside UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments), C40 Cities and ICLEI.

In 2020, Veolia took part in a webinar organized by ICC, in partnership with the experts of the IPCC, “Climate Science and Institutional Policy: An Introduction to the IPCC and its Reports for Business Leaders”, to learn about how businesses are using the latest climate science and integrating it into their strategies. The purpose of this series of webinars is to help the writers in charge of drafting the new IPCC report to deliver information that could be used by companies in transforming their business models.

Veolia is a member of the Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) coalition. 

Launched during the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August 2019, the Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) initiative is a coalition of 40 major international companies coordinated by the OECD and led by Danone. B4IG members undertake to combat inequality and promote inclusive growth, i.e. economic growth spread fairly across society and providing opportunities for all. As a member, Veolia was invited to the Paris Peace Forum to present its social open innovation program, Pop Up, in the presence of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and Antoine Frérot.

The World Bank

Veolia’s financial involvement alongside development players, which is reflected in the securing of its assets and the clear integration of societal objectives in its contracts, demonstrates the Group’s commitment in emerging countries. The Group is also involved with the World Bank in experiments where skills and dialogue have helped win contracts. In India (Demo-zone of Karnataka), Veolia proved that it was possible and affordable to provide a continuous water supply through a pipe renovation program. In addition to the technical and operational solutions, Veolia’s employee skills, the strict innovative public-private contractual model (for control of the financial risk), participation and community dialogue (social mediation cell for cooperation with local or government stakeholders) and communication/awareness-raising amongst inhabitants allowed the company to meet expectations and extend the contract twice. This test-bed has also paved the way for other contracts in India, such as the contract with the city of Nangloi of one million inhabitants. Lastly, in Morocco, Veolia was part of the World Bank’s Output Based Aid project.

Participation in multi-stakeholder platforms

In its commitment to multi-stakeholder platforms, such as competitiveness clusters, associations and local and international scientific institutes, the Group seeks to achieve synergies with its regional ecosystem. Veolia is a player in partnership ventures such as the WBCSD, Comité 21, EPE (French Association of Companies for the Environment), ORSE (French Observatory of Corporate Social Responsibility), Vivapolis – Institute for sustainable cities, the French Partnership for Water (PFE), and competitiveness clusters (Efficacity, Montpellier Water cluster, Brittany-Atlantic Maritime cluster in Brest and the Mediterranean Maritime cluster in Toulon).

Comité 21

Veolia is an active member of Comité 21, France’s leading network of sustainable development stakeholders, bringing together representatives of companies, professional bodies, regional authorities, public services, associations, foundations and teaching and research institutions. Veolia contributed on several occasions to initiatives to help companies incorporate this new framework (contribution to the report on the appropriation of SDG by French non-State players, participation in the SDG Tour de France, etc.).

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

The WBCSD is an international organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. A member for several years, Veolia contributes to diferent projects such as water or Biodiversity or “Social capital” focus. Veolia also contributed to a number of publications on the circular economy aimed at encouraging companies to adopt a less wasteful and more responsible business model for managing natural resources. In 2020, Veolia worked on the program Factor10. Factor10 is a premier, global platform for businesses committed to the circular economy. Factor10 convenes more than 30 companies from around the world to co-develop solutions to their greatest priorities in the circular economy. Through workstreams on Metrics, Policy, Bioeconomy and Buildings, Factor10 tackles both systemic and value-chain specific barriers towards a circular transition. It produces metrics, tools, advocacy and catalytic insights through cross-industry and value-chain collaboration.

Sweden: World Water Week in Stockholm. 

The World Water Week in Stockholm brings together governments, business and civil society each year to collectively build more inclusive societies. The 2019 edition was on the theme of “Water for society – Including all”: a lack of drinking water, suitable toilet facilities, pollution, drought and extreme weather events, etc. Veolia took part in debates and presented several solutions to allow access to water and sanitation for all.

Vivapolis – Institute for Sustainable Cities

Since December 2015, the sustainable city has a new advocate, the French Institute for Sustainable Cities, an integrated network of French players, bringing together the State, local authorities, business, research bodies and civic associations, for the purpose of reinforcing and promoting French know-how in sustainable urban development. The network has four objectives: supporting urban innovation, creating and coordinating the French benchmark portal on sustainable cities, disseminating research and training on the integrated approach to sustainable cities, and promoting French expertise at the international level, thus extending the work of the Vivapolis brand created in 2013. Veolia is an active member of this new platform for coordination, information sharing and discussing city issues.

French Alliance for Cities and Territorial Development (PFVT)

Veolia is a founder member of the PFVT, which is sponsored by two French government ministries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy, and backed by the French Development Agency (AFD). This platform group brings together key French players in urban development to increase the international influence of their areas of expertise through studies, publications and events, in which the Group plays an active role. Veolia represents the private sector.

The French Water Partnership (PFE)

Veolia is an active member of the PFE, a French forum that aims to put water on the international political agenda. Along with key public sector and community players in international cooperation in the water industry, the Group contributes to forward-looking discussions to promote French innovations and know-how in this area.

Water Competitiveness Cluster

Veolia is a founding member and chair of the Pôle de compétitivité eau de Montpellier (Montpellier Water Competitiveness Cluster), a network of companies, training organizations and research institutions committed to innovative projects in the water sector. The water cluster currently includes 145 members, whose projects are designed to address one of the four following strategic areas: identification and mobilization of water resources, collective management of water resources and usage, reuse of water from all sources, and institutional and corporate social initiatives. Veolia’s research department is the main RD&I strength in the cluster. Veolia features as either a sponsor or an active partner with SME/VSEs in almost a third of the projects accredited.

The France Water Team network, the export brand of water sector companies, is the result of the partnership between the Cluster, the Swelia associations, WSM (Water Sensors and Membranes), Éa éco-entreprises and the Dream and Hydreos competitiveness clusters. The network has nearly 300 members, including companies and research organizations.  Since 2010, the Water Cluster has accredited some thirty cooperative R&D projects, for a total budget of nearly €76.5 million. It has also been involved in the creation and running of the HydroGaïa International Water Exhibition, a major international event.

Mer Bretagne and Mer Méditerranée Competitiveness Clusters

Veolia is also a long-established partner of these two clusters, launched in 2005. With over 350 members each, they aim to sustainably develop the maritime and coastal economy and respond to key issues in marine development, such as managing the land-sea boundary, the finite nature of resources and trade globalization. As a key player in the governance of the clusters and as their Vice-President, Veolia is involved in the development of two areas of strategic action, Environment & Coastal Development and Ports & Infrastructure, and contributes to leading the network of key players in coastal territories.

Conservatoire du littoral, Rivages de France (the French Coastal Conservation Agency)

Partners since 2005, Conservatoire du littoral and Veolia have pooled their expertise over the last three years to promote coastal wetlands, their functions and the services they provide to society. Coastal wetlands are intermediate areas at the crossroads between land and sea that contribute to regulating the water cycle and, in particular, play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change such as floods, rising water levels and coastal erosion. Through this partnership, Veolia pursues its commitment to regional development and promotion, particularly in coastal areas, which need to reconcile economic and tourist appeal with resource conservation and environmental risk management.

Dialogue with international, European and national authorities

Veolia actively contributes to discussions, consultations and projects on changes in the management of environmental services initiated by international, European and French authorities, professional associations, think tanks and NGOs.

Pursuant to applicable regulations, these actions are implemented in keeping with its adherence to the Global Compact and within the general framework of the Group’s ethics program (and its two appendices, the Guide to Managing and Minimizing Criminal Risk Exposure in Group Operations and the Competition Law Compliance Guide), which are complemented by the Manager’s Code of Conduct and the Internal Code of Conduct for Group employees carrying out interest representation. Since 2014, the Group also has a Guide to conduct for employees performing interest representative activities.

The Public Affairs Department, which reports to the Director of Strategy and Innovation, coordinates the representation of the Group’s interests. It has public affairs advisers in all the geographical areas where the Group operates. The main thrust of the Public Affairs Department’s activities, decided where necessary by the Executive Committee, are outlined in a half-yearly report to the Group’s Board of Directors.

Group commitments

Internal code of ethics:

  • The company’s Ethics guide, specifies that in its relationship with the public authorities, “Veolia contributes, in a transparent manner, to the development of laws and public policies on issues related to its business.” Among the rules of conduct applicable to every employee in their work, it reiterates the need for compliance with legislation and regulations, combating corruption of public and private sector officials and preventing situations of conflicts of interest. Examples of situations requiring particular attention are described to illustrate the last of these points and employees are advised to talk to their line manager in case of doubt. The Ethics Guide also stipulates the rules applicable to invitations and gifts received or offered, which should only be on an exceptional basis, symbolic, non-pecuniary and of low value.
  • The Manager’s Code of Conduct also calls on managers to take ownership of their role and behavior as responsible managers ready to listen to stakeholders and clients. Managers must also “regularly remind […] of internal procedures, applicable regulations…” and respond “rapidly, visibly and in an appropriate way if the rules are not observed.”
  • The Internal Code of Conduct for Veolia’s employees carrying out interest representation activities in dealings with legislative, executive and regulatory public authorities at a national and local level, European Union institutions and international organizations has been distributed to relevant employees and can be accessed on the Group’s intranet site.

Veolia Environnement is listed on several transparency registers, including: 

  • the transparency register, the European Commission and European Parliament register of lobbyists (since 2009); 
  • the lobbying disclosure register in the United States; 
  • the public digital directory managed by the High Authority for public transparency (HATVP) in France. In accordance with the law, the Group declares annually the interest representation actions it has carried out and the resources allocated. The Group is also registered in the Senate register in France, which records lobbyists on its own list.

Similarly, lobbying employees (or employees likely to lobby) have been made aware of the two objectives of respecting ethics rules and the duty to declare, in coordination with the Group Compliance Department. 

Veolia Environnement is also represented at the French Public Affairs Professional Association (APAP). This association contributes to the development of ethics in relations with public authorities as well as to the discussions led notably by the HATVP and parliamentary assemblies on developing a framework for relations with public decision-makers. 

In June 2019, Veolia Environnement issued an internal standard on the appropriate conduct of employees who are members of professional associations or participate therein. This procedure aims to ensure that lobbying is performed to the highest prevailing standards. 

Through these rules and initiatives, the Group is formally committed to adhering and ensuring adherence to the Codes of conduct applied by these various institutions.

To our knowledge, no political contribution and no contribution to a local, regional or national political party / campaign / organization / candidate has been made in 2020.

Veolia’s contribution to the work of public authorities

The Group participates in dialogue with public authorities and informs them, directly and via  professional federations of which it is a member, on the impact and consequences of regulations and public policies related to its activities. When Veolia participates in a formal consultation process, for example by responding to the consultation prior to the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive, it always chooses to make public the written contributions it sends to the authorities. Some contributions are also made in the context of hearings. 

Therefore, in 2020, Veolia allocated a total amount of over 5 million euros to its global institutional affairs activities among which the following main contributions:
– around 400,000 euros on the subject of the Green Deal, where Veolia notably engaged in advocacy activities to a more ambitious CO2 reduction target for 2030 and a commitment to climate neutrality. Our Group also stood in favor of an early review of the EU’s different legal instruments covering energy and climate legislation. Veolia also contributed to policy discussion on a carbon border adjustment mechanism.
– around 350,000 euros to ensure the role of private waste management is adequately acknowledged in the context of the implementation of the February 2020 anti-waste and circular economy law,
– as a member of the alliance, Veolia contributed 670,000 euros to the Alliance To End Plastic Waste, which works on innovative and impactful solutions to end plastic waste, deployed at-scale whilst partnering with communities around the world.

For example, here is the list of the work of the European Union (I) and French institutions (II) to which Veolia has provided support.

Monitoring of the European Green Deal

Announced at the end of 2019 when the new European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen took office, the European Green Deal aims to make the ecological transition of the EU a genuine societal project. The Veolia Group, whose purpose is to act and commit to ecological transformation, wanted to get involved and participate in the dialogue with  European institutions in its areas of expertise.

A new action plan for the circular economy

  • On 11 March 2020, the European Commission adopted a new action plan for the circular economy. The new action plan, which includes measures to be implemented throughout the life cycle of products and waste, aims to make the European economy more sustainable, strengthen its competitiveness while protecting the environment and give new rights to consumers. Building on the work done since 2015, the new plan focuses on the design and role of recycling from a circular economy perspective, to ensure that the resources used remain in the EU economy for as long as possible. This action plan is very positive for Veolia as it announces a series of concrete measures in the following areas: electronic equipment, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, construction and buildings.
  • Some announcements  correspond to long-standing policy requests from the waste management sector, in particular the focus on creating outlets for recycled materials and the implementation of instruments to make the sector more competitive. From a regulatory point of view, many areas that are crucial for the Group’s activities are also highlighted in order to be completed or revised: industrial emissions, cross-border transfers of waste or even hazardous substances. Energy recovery and the paper and cardboard markets are not, however, addressed in this plan.

Water policy

  • In May 2020, the European institutions agreed on a regulation relating to the reuse of wastewater for irrigation, an approach strongly supported by Veolia. 
  • In December 2020, the European institutions agreed on a revision of the directive on drinking water. During the negotiations, the Veolia Group advocated for the establishment of monitoring standards for perfluorinated substances and chlorination by-products. Veolia also supported the implementation of new measures to fight against leaks. 
  • The European Commission is currently carrying out preparatory work for the revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. The Commission has pre-identified nearly twenty themes to be investigated: sanitation management in rainy weather, small communities and decentralized sanitation, homogenization of the concept of “sensitive areas” requiring additional nitrogen and phosphorus treatment, treatment of chemical pollutants of environmental concern (first and foremost pharmaceutical residues), extended producer responsibility, energy savings, sludge management, connected industries, among others. Veolia shares this diagnosis and has also drawn the attention of the European executive to the issue of access to decent toilets for non-connected populations. 
  • In the second half of 2020, the European Commission started preparatory work ahead of a possible   review of the legislative tool on sludge management. In the public consultation launched to gather the opinions of stakeholders, Veolia welcomed the update of the current framework. This exercise will allow the parametric values to be updated considering more recent findings and practices. In its contribution, Veolia also recommended that the Commission proposes criteria for removal from  waste status, as well as  a category of sludge compatible with organic farming, so that the EU target of 25% of Organic farms can be reached with intra-European sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Fight against pollution

  • On 12 May 2021, the European Commission adopted its Zero Pollution Action Plan. Entitled “Towards zero pollution in air, water and soil”, it sets out an integrated vision for 2050, with the aim of reducing pollution to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, with a particular focus on green digital solutions.
  • In particular, revisions of EU legislation are planned. In addition, the plan sets targets for improving air quality to reduce premature deaths from air pollution by 55%, as well as water quality by reducing plastic waste in the sea by 50% and microplastics released into the environment by 30% by 2030. The EU action plan also aims to improve soil quality by reducing nutrient losses and the use of chemical pesticides by 50% and to reduce EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity by 25%. Similarly, it aims to significantly reduce waste production and cut residual municipal waste by 50%.
  • Veolia welcomed the effects of the Air Quality Directive on reducing air pollution, and the success of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive as one of the best environmental protection laws in the EU. 
  • Veolia also supports the introduction of a framework directive on soil protection. This should set horizontal soil quality standards and monitoring requirements, including reporting on soil carbon storage. The strategy for healthy soils would also be an opportunity to control urban sprawl and combat artificialization. Veolia also insisted on the mechanisms needed for the identification of contaminated sites, their rehabilitation and/or use.

An agricultural model compatible with the Green Deal ambition

  • On 20 May 2020, the European Commission published the “Farm to Table” strategy as part of the Green Deal – the EU’s programme to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This comprehensive strategy announces future legislative initiatives to make the European food system more sustainable. It addresses both the supply and demand sides of the equation by aiming to make food production more environmentally friendly and by encouraging healthier and more informed food consumption. The Commission wants the EU to set the global standard for sustainable food chains and will propose legislation to this effect by the end of 2023. The strategy envisages ambitious targets: a 50% reduction in the use of chemical pesticides by 2030; a 50% reduction in nutrient losses to avoid soil deterioration; a 20% reduction in the use of chemical fertilisers by 2030; a 50% reduction in sales of antibiotics for farm animals by 2030; and 25% of European farmland in organic farming by 2030. 
  • Veolia advocates the reuse of sewage sludge as a circular economy solution and an alternative to chemical fertilizers. Veolia also promotes the development of urban agriculture and the production of insect-based proteins for animal feed.  Veolia has supported the regulation on the reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation from start to finish, and this text is now to be used in every city where water scarcity constrains the surrounding agricultural activity. Veolia also supports the introduction of economic incentives (such as tax breaks or subsidies) for local authorities and farmers to use these recycled inputs.

Sustainable finance

  • Launched in 2018 by the European Commission and accelerated under the Green Deal, the project of a European taxonomy aims to build a typology, with criteria, of investments considered sustainable. 
  • To work on defining the thresholds of this taxonomy, the Commission set up a technical group of 35 experts, covering 70 sectors of economic activity and representing 93% of the greenhouse gases emitted in the EU. In its report, submitted in March 2020, the group of experts recommended a threshold of 100g of CO2 per kWh, so that only activities emitting less than this threshold could be qualified as “sustainable”.  Opting for this threshold means excluding coal (emissions of around 1,000g of C02/kWh) and gas (more than 500g of CO2/KWh when indirect emissions are taken into account). In parallel, the European Union adopted a regulation in June 2020 to set out the main operating principles of the taxonomy. In order to give clarity to market players, the regulation provides a harmonised definition of the notion of sustainability as well as a standardisation of the labelling criteria for financial products. According to this regulation, an economic activity can be qualified as sustainable provided that it contributes “substantially” to at least one of the following six objectives, without prejudicing any of the others. The objectives are:
    • climate change mitigation
    • Adaptation to climate change
    • sustainable use and protection of aquatic and marine resources
    • transition to a circular economy, including waste prevention and increased use of secondary raw materials
    • prevention and reduction of pollution
    • protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • The June 2020 regulation is intended to be supplemented by delegated acts, the purpose of which is to list the activities that contribute to each of the six objectives set out in the European regulation. For the record, delegated acts are adopted according to a special procedure in which the Parliament and the Council have a limited period of time in which to formulate any objections following the publication of the proposal for an act by the Commission.
  • A first delegated act was published on April 21, 2021. This covers the first two of the six objectives mentioned above. The following activities, which are important for the Group, are considered sustainable:
    • Thermal energy storage
    • Activities related to heating and cooling networks
    • Activities related to the production of heat and cold from waste heat
    • Energy performance services for buildings
    • Production of electricity and heat from bioenergy. However, the delegated act does not consider as “sustainable” electricity generation activities based on a mix of bioenergy and fossil fuels
    • Separate collection of waste and its transport, provided that the waste is not mixed downstream of the collection
    • Methanisation of bio-waste and composting of waste provided that it is preceded by separate collection
  • The European Commission has announced that gas (as well as nuclear energy) will be the subject of a separate text which could be adopted as early as summer 2021. According to the Commission, doing so will allow for a transparent debate on the contribution of natural gas and nuclear to decarbonisation objectives, while at the same time providing clarity to investors in a timely manner on how gas and nuclear investments should be treated from an environmental perspective. The role of gas as a transitional activity facilitating the exit from coal is a particular focus for the Group in the coming months. 
  • Other delegated acts will subsequently define the activities considered as sustainable within the meaning of the other four objectives of the taxonomy. The delegated act concerning the fourth criterion (transition to a circular economy) will determine in particular whether waste incineration, an important activity for Veolia, can be qualified as sustainable.

A regulatory framework for energy and climate contributing to the Green Deal objectives
In spring 2021, the EU decided to raise its CO2 reduction target for 2030 to -55% below 1990 levels (from -40%). This new ambition requires a complete overhaul of the European energy and climate framework in line with this new objective. In particular, the following texts will be revised:

  • Revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), including the maritime, aviation and CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) sectors
    The current reform aims to: strengthen the CO2 price signal (currently at EUR 50 per tonne), prevent carbon leakage, strengthen the CO2 emissions target for the sectors covered by the EU ETS (currently -43% for 2030 compared to 2005, it will probably be increased to 65%); extend the system to new sectors (buildings and transport); better calibration of the funds provided for by the revision of the directive (the modernisation and innovation funds).
    In responding to the Commission’s consultation, Veolia supported the increased ambition of the system and the extension to the buildings sector (in order to create a “level playing field” in the heating market and thus make heat networks more competitive). We also advocated the introduction of a carbon price floor and an increase in the budget for the modernisation fund (to be able to finance transition projects in Central Europe, including the modernisation of heat networks).
  • Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR)
    The Effort Sharing Regulation translates the commitment to reduce CO2 emissions in non-ETS sectors into binding annual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for each Member State for the given period, based on the principles of equity, cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity.
    The current reform aims to redefine the scope of the ESR (some sectors risk being taken out of the regulation, e.g. the building and waste sector), and increase the target to be achieved at EU level.
    In our response to the consultation, Veolia supported the increased ambition for CO2 reduction in the sectors covered by the ESR as well as keeping the building and waste sector within the scope of the regulation.
  • Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) – Revision of the Energy Taxation Directive
    A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is linked to the awareness of the problem of carbon leakage. Carbon leakage occurs when production is shifted from the EU to other countries with lower emission reduction ambitions, or when EU products are replaced by more carbon-intensive imports. If this risk materialises, there will be no global emissions reductions, thereby undermining the efforts of the EU and its industries to meet the global climate goals of the Paris Agreement. In this context, a border carbon adjustment mechanism would ensure that the price of imports more accurately reflects their carbon content. The measure should be designed to comply with World Trade Organisation rules and other international obligations of the EU. The adoption of a carbon adjustment mechanism should symmetrically lead to the end of free allowances being allocated to sectors facing the risk of carbon leakage under the ETS.
    Veolia is closely following the discussions on the implementation of this mechanism. The final form has not yet been decided (referred to as a “mirror EU ETS”) but this depends on the results of the impact assessment currently being conducted by the Commission services.
  • Modification of the Renewable Energy Directive to implement the ambition of the new 2030 climate target (REDIII)
    This involves aligning RES targets with the new CO2 reduction target (from the current 32% to 40% by 2030 at EU level), introducing sectoral targets (transport, heat, decarbonised gas production), and strengthening the rules on biomass sustainability.
    Position de Veolia:

    • We support increased and binding renewable energy targets for 2030, also applying to the heat sector and district heating in particular, provided that they are accompanied by a favourable policy framework;  
    • support for a target for district heating require the same level of effort being applied to the entire heat market; 
    • The current approach to networks should be maintained, i.e. the binding target for the share of RES in the energy mix (an increase of 1.3% per year) should apply to the sector as a whole and not to individual systems; 
    • The implementation of the stringent sustainability criteria for biomass already defined in EU law will ensure that biomass used for efficient district heating production meets a high level of environmental protection. These criteria must be maintained in order to provide a stable framework and the necessary legal certainty for the development of new projects.
  • Amendment of the Energy Efficiency Directive to implement the ambition of the new 2030 climate target (EED)
    Key objectives of the current revision of the EED: Strengthen the provisions of the EED to support a more ambitious contribution of energy efficiency (the current target is 32.5% for 2030, it could be raised to 36-37% for final energy consumption and 39-41% for primary energy consumption) to the increased target of reducing GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

    Veolia’s position:

    • Increase the EE objective at European level, impose binding objectives at Member State level; 
    • Any future target should be set for both primary and final energy;
    • Reinforce the emphasis on the Energy Efficiency First principle. This principle should be applied to all national energy policies along the energy value chain; 
    • Strengthen the link between the identified potential and new policy measures to realise new projects under Article 14 (support for high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient heat and cooling networks); 
    • The new definition of an efficient heat and cooling network should be forward looking so that existing systems that still rely on fossil fuels have time to adapt and contribute to the Green Deal objectives. The requirements set out in the new definition; 
    • The development of national plans for the decarbonisation of heating and cooling systems should be promoted to take into account efficiency, building renovation and the integration of RES and waste heat in an integrated way.
  • Revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
    As announced in the European Green Deal, the Commission adopted on 14 October 2020 a strategic communication entitled “Renovation Wave for Europe – greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives”. It contains an action plan with specific regulatory, financing and enabling measures for the coming years and pursues the objective of at least doubling the annual rate of energy renovation of buildings by 2030 and promoting deep renovations. As announced in the communication, this objective requires a revision of the 2010/31/EU directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD).
    For Veolia, the main points of the revision are :

    • Maintaining the approach to the calculation of energy performance in primary energy;
    • Maintaining equal treatment between RES produced on the site (in the building) and “nearby” (by heating networks); 
    • The implementation of “minimum energy performance standards” for buildings; 
    • Synchronisation of article 2a of the EPBD (on the implementation of long-term renovation plans) with article 14 of the EED (on the assessment of the potential for efficient networks and efficient cogeneration) in order to implement a territorial approach to energy renovation; 
    • Setting standards for indoor air quality (the minimum to be respected in buildings open to the public); 
    • Facilitating the decarbonisation of the heating supply to buildings.

Contribution to the work carried out by the French authorities

Health crisis of Covid 19 and recovery

The period of health crisis led to an adaptation of the legislative and parliamentary calendar by imposing the  consideration  and adoption of emergency texts to enable the various economic sectors to deal with the health crisis. As an operator of essential services in the fields of water, waste and energy services, Veolia Group had many direct exchanges with national and local public authorities at each stage of the health crisis.

Veolia also transmitted its recommendations for the recovery of the business through the Strategic Sector Committees “Comités Stratégique de Filière“ (CSF) of the water and waste sectors :

  • The Water CSF (chaired by Mr Antoine Frérot) made the public authorities aware of the interruption in plant and pipeline maintenance work caused by the health crisis. The Water CSF therefore called for a rapid restart of construction sites and maintenance work on sewerage networks, in full compliance with health protocols. The Water CSF also drew the attention of the authorities to the need for a revival of local public procurement to meet, in particular, the ageing of network infrastructures and the new challenges of treating sewage sludge, improving the performance of sanitation and stormwater management systems, the challenges of treating micropollutants, and new network interconnections to offset chronic water supply deficits.
  • The Waste processing and recovery CSF (of which Ms Anne Le Guennec, Veolia, is vice-president) has also proposed stimulus measures for the sector.  While the waste sector is calling for a strengthening of the ADEME waste fund (The french Agency for the Environment and Energy Management), the central demand of waste professionals is to increase the profitability of investments. Such an approach could take the form of a mechanism of over-amortization. For the Waste CSF, the recovery dynamic of waste activities will be correlated to that of the various industrial sectors. For the sector, developing France’s capacity to produce recycled materials that directly meet industrial needs is a major challenge, which must be addressed in conjunction with the issue of eco-design. A second area concerns the recovery of bio-waste. On this point, the CSF recommends maintaining the possibility of mixing organic materials and ensuring long-term visibility on the purchase price of gas from methanisation.  Another essential area concerns the development of the solid recovered fuel (SRF) sector. The energy recovery of SRF allows for the production of heat and/or electricity, as a substitute for fossil resources. However, the current context of low fossil fuel prices limits the price competitiveness of SRF. This is why the Waste CSF has called on ADEME to increase the rate of aid per project and to systematise the eligibility of SRF projects for Energy Savings Certificates (ESC).

Information mission of the parliamentary office for the evaluation of scientific and technological choices (OPECST) on plastic pollution

The OPECST conducted an information mission on plastic pollution and its impacts from April 2019 to December 2020. The co-rapporteurs were Angèle Préville (Lot, SOC) for the Senate and Philippe Bolo (Maine et Loire, Modem) for the National Assembly. They heard a delegation of Veolia representatives (Recycling Business Unit, and Public Affairs Department) and visited two Veolia sites in February – Triade in Angers and Arc en Ciel in Nantes. In this context, Veolia was able to present its plastics strategy to the rapporteurs and make recommendations to encourage a “demand shock” for raw materials from recycling (RPM).

Senate Committee of Inquiry into the health and environmental problems associated with soil pollution

The committee of enquiry was set up in February 2020 and completed its work in September of the same year. It was chaired by Laurent Lafon (Val de Marne, UC) and its rapporteur was Gisèle Jourda (Aude, SOC). The committee paid particular attention to the problems encountered on land that had been used for industrial or mining activities, and to public and industrial policies for rehabilitating this land. In May 2020, the committee of enquiry heard representatives of Veolia. Veolia was thus able to share its experience in soil remediation and the protection of groundwater quality with the members of the commission. Faced with the costs of site cleanup, Veolia also shared its recommendations for promoting the reuse of contaminated industrial sites, inspired in particular by the German chemparks model. Under chemparks, ownership of the site reverts to land institutions responsible for making the site safe, which they finance by leasing it. This model makes it possible to guarantee both the non-distribution of pollution and the maintenance of the industrial vocation of the sites concerned.

Future of the sludge sector

Article 86 of the law on the fight against waste and the circular economy (AGEC) provides an overhaul of the regulatory framework relating to  the import and use of sewage sludge by 1 July 2021. An order specified by a decree must come to specify the safety thresholds that sewage sludge intended for land application must meet.

These new standards could lead to a ban on mixing biowaste with sewage sludge, posing a serious threat to the future of composting sewage sludge. Veolia has mobilised to defend this process, emphasising that this recovery technique already complies with strict protocols in terms of health (hygienisation of the compost allowing the destruction of biological pathogens) and local conditions (absence of odour nuisance). Veolia is of course in favour of ambitious regulations favouring an upmarket return of sludge to the soil process. However, such an adaptation requires that regulatory changes be made over a long period of time and that the necessary funding be provided to support the players in the sector.

Take account of local expectations

Establishing dialogue with local stakeholders involves, in particular :

  • implementing a local management structure to respond to the information and service requests of all inhabitants;
  • providing regular information to local stakeholders concerned and/or affected by access to services and changes thereto;
  • conducting client satisfaction surveys to assess service progress and the benefits enjoyed by users and to better understand their expectations and reasons for dissatisfaction;
  • setting-up an external communication system to promote new solutions to public authority clients (innovation booklet, innovation meetings, participation in sustainable city events, dedicated website);
  • taking into account the informal sector.
Manage consumer/user relations

Veolia proposes to manage for and with public authority clients, relations between them and the populations they serve, i.e. consumer services delivered by Veolia.

As part of its purpose (“raison d’être”) and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to guaranteeing results over the long term through innovative services.

This commitment to commercial performance is broken down into several objectives, including client and consumer satisfaction.

To illustrate its commitment, the Group has defined a 2023 target of having a customer satisfaction rate via the Net Promoter Score methodology of over 30, with 75% of revenue covered.

The sponsor of this target is Estelle Brachlianoff, member of the executive committee and Chief Operating Officer.

As stated in its Ethics guide, in its relationships with customers, Veolia focuses above all on complying with its legal and contractual obligations. Beyond its regulatory obligations, the Group is fully committed to inventing and implementing solutions that meet the needs and expectations of its customers, both public and private, and of the beneficiaries of the services it is entrusted to provide. Together with its customers and relevant organizations, Veolia also strives to develop ways to improve access to essential services for all. Preserving and protecting asset integrity guarantees the quality of the Group’s services and performance.

Customer satisfaction is extremely important to Veolia and it implements solutions enabling it to guarantee a high level of service and develop a close relationship. These solutions call on a range of multichannel customer relationship management tools, including:

  • customer service centers, where Veolia can respond to a range of consumer inquiries;
  • local and mobile branches;
  • web portals;
  • mobile applications that customers can download onto a smartphone and use to carry out key transactions relating to their water service;
  • a range of payment and social support solutions.

The Consumer Service center of excellence created in 2015, the Customer service for water distribution community enables best practices to be harmonized and shared between Veolia’s international business units.

Veolia regularly conducts customer/consumer satisfaction surveys to assess service progress and the benefits enjoyed by users and to better understand their reasons for dissatisfaction and their expectations.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Target 2023
Global satisfaction customer rate for drinking water distribution 87.6% 88.2% 86.8% 86.2% 86.1% > 86%
Coverage (in % of activity turnover) 81% 81% 89% 89% 89.1%

In addition to these surveys, Veolia tests satisfaction levels “on the fly”, for example following a consumer call or after a branch visit by a consumer. 

In its activities, the company disseminates its high standards and best practices throughout its operations, and makes service commitments that reflect its expertise in production, network management and customer service. The global Consumer Service Communities enables best practices to be harmonized and shared between Veolia’s international business units. For each of its contracts, Veolia establishes service regulations with its clients that are adapted to local issues and consumer expectations.

For example, for the Grand Lyon contract: user charter + water service regulations.

The Group indeed develops mediation initiatives :

Colombia: the Veolia En tu barrio program. 

The national dialogue, mediation and local information program En tu barrio was developed in 40 Colombian cities where Veolia provides water, sanitation or waste management services. Mobile customer service points help respond to expectations and needs as close as possible to local people. Education and fun events in local districts are organized to raise residents’ awareness of their rights and duties in terms of public services, but also sustainable development issues. At the end of 2019, nearly 30,000 service users benefited from these local activities.

Veolia incorporated its Téléo + service in its contract with Sedif (Syndicat des eaux d’ile de France) and the Lyon agglomeration. Through the use of smart meters, this service allows users to monitor their daily consumption and be alerted in the event of excessive use (leaks, etc.).

The Sedif, the largest public water service in France, and Veolia Eau d’île-de-France, its representative, also developed a digital system to provide users with real-time information in the event of water outages due to leaks in the drinking water network.

In North America, most public service contracts include a client service component, and call centers for consumers/users play an essential role in this. As such, in Pittsburgh, Veolia helped the local authority to improve its relationship with users. The Peer Performance Solutions, which see public and private sectors working together, reduce clients’ bills and optimize water management and production services.

In Colombia and Ecuador, Veolia has set up dedicated departments to handle relations with consumers and stakeholders, particularly in underprivileged neighborhoods. Integrated within the local subsidiaries’ sales departments and benefiting from specially adapted human resources and equipment, they play a pivotal role in informing and listening to local residents when a new project is launched (connection, site launch, new billing model, wastewater system extension, etc.), identifying issues and providing feedback so that the sales departments can adapt their services. Awareness-raising initiatives were conducted with users to demonstrate the hygiene and health benefits of connecting to newly constructed wastewater treatment networks (Guayaquil for example). This task is conducted together with specific representatives in each neighborhood, elected representatives and other public sector and NGO partners. Veolia considers this approach to be of strategic importance, since it helps strengthen its foothold in local communities.

The “Socias Gestoras” program was launched in Aguascalientes, Mexico; this initiative provides single mothers with paid employment visiting households in their neighborhoods to raise awareness of the importance of paying water bills. In just one year, 70 single mothers were hired and nearly €1 million in unpaid bills was recovered.

The Group develops mediation initiatives with associations (specifically in France with PIMMS and VoisinMalin and in Latin America with services dedicated to relations with consumers and stakeholders, particularly in underprivileged neighborhoods) or social support partnerships for disadvantaged groups.

Dialogue with local communities

Veolia implements initiatives to foster dialogue with local communities and residents, including targeted information and awareness campaigns and notably neighborhood meetings, meetings with local officials and associations, tours of facilities and open days to keep the general public informed.

Veolia is committed to these communities through regional socioeconomic diagnoses, the implementation of community links and the provision of methodological tools to organize dialogue with stakeholders at a regional level.

  • In India, Veolia India deploys community outreach teams in its contracts known as Social Welfare Team. These teams are made up of around thirty people, mostly social workers, who form a link between local people and the technical and customer services of local Group entities.
  • In Bangladesh, Veolia and Grameen Bank managed by Muhammad Yunus set up a social business project in conjunction with the local population and authorities, providing 6,000 inhabitants of the Goalmari and Padua districts with access to drinking water. Veolia deployed unprecedented social and financial engineering resources to implement this initiative. The “Grameen Ladies” provide mediation services with local people.
  • In Ecuador, the Interagua Community Leadership School is a social management program designed to train community leaders in the city’s underprivileged districts to develop a sustainable relationship between the community and Veolia, and adopt and develop sustainable practices in their villages.
  • Furthermore, Veolia Poland partners the UNEP/GRID-Varsaw center (in partnership with UN Environment) which furthers the environmental education of children and young people and encourages local communities to make changes in their cities, particularly regarding green infrastructures, environmental events, energy efficiency and the circular economy.

Niger: L’Oasis, a unique place for dialogue and female entrepreneurship. 

Faced with environmental challenges and the huge challenge of tackling poverty – an issue which primarily affects women in Niger – Veolia and Empow’Her, an international organization supporting female entrepreneurship, co-created L’Oasis in Niamey. This unique organization supports the economic integration of women, and raises awareness of sustainable development challenges. Training, leadership reinforcement and network development programs are aimed at female entrepreneurs. Meeting and discussion spaces support dialogue between the local population, non-profits, institutions and businesses.

South Africa: The Baobab, a third place dedicated to the circular economy 

Like L’Oasis in Niamey, the Baobab in Durban, South Africa, is inspired by La Recyclerie in Paris. This place is designed to be a place where people can meet and exchange ideas about the circular economy and sustainable development. In particular, it offers training programs for people living in the shantytowns and aims, among other things, to train 300 unemployed women and young people in three years in the recycling trade. This project, initiated by Veolia and supported by the Foundation, will be managed by The Maker Space Foundation, a local partner.

  • In Australia, through the Veolia Mulwaree Trust, Veolia supports a large number of small rural and regional communities near the Woodlawn eco-neighborhood. The Trust works alongside community organizations to support improvements in infrastructure and facilities through community-led projects. The Trust also aims to support individuals from these communities in their higher education and creative artistic pursuits. Over the past 15 years, VMT has distributed a total of $11.9 million across more than 1,300 projects and grants.
  • Colombia: Veolia En tu barrio/Veolia Contigo programs 

    The national dialogue, mediation and local information program, En tu barrio, was developed in 40 Colombian cities where Veolia provides water, sanitation or waste management services. Mobile customer service points help respond to expectations and needs as close as possible to local people. Education and fun events in local districts are organized to raise residents’ awareness of their rights and duties in terms of public services, but also sustainable development issues. 

    As an alternative to the conditions created by the pandemic and during the period of preventive isolation due to Covid-19, the “Veolia Contigo” program proposes, in compliance with social distancing requirements, to create spaces for relationships in the communities where the Group operates, through informative and recreational activities. Ongoing, direct contact has been maintained with more than 28,000 community leaders. Customers have been given information on services and followup on the steps taken by the government to reconnect the water service. Eight programs have been developed through live streaming (Facebook Live), with the participation of more than 100,000 customers of the Tunja unit, in which all the technical, commercial and social aspects of the operation have been presented, creating interactivity between the company and logged-in users.

Volunteering initiatives led by Veolia employees in close collaboration with local organizations and populations, and supporting social or environmental causes, are an important means to implement a dialogue approach adapted to specific local contexts. In 2020, while the pandemic curtailed these initiatives, over 3,700 days of volunteering were reported by Veolia employees, compared to nearly 10,000 days in 2019.

Thanks to Foundation activities, which are performed as close as possible to local populations and in partnership with local organizations, Veolia supports different social and professional integration initiatives as well as development assistance projects.

Educating and raising awareness of sustainable development

Various sustainable development education programs and awareness campaigns through open days at facilities are conducted in our operating countries. These help explain sustainable development challenges, supporting dialogue with local communities.

In 2020 in the United Kingdom, the “London Wonder days” were organized virtually to adapt to the constraints of the pandemic. Interactive tours of the waste management, plastic recycling or cogeneration units were offered.

In the Sultanate of Oman, the Green Schools Initiative promotes environmental awareness and resource conservation in the Sultanate’s schools. Students are supported by volunteers from Environmental Society of Oman and Veolia Oman to be innovative and address an environmental challenge in their school and community, such as waste, water or energy management. Over 120 schools participated in this challenge in 2020.

In Colombia, despite the difficulties caused by social distancing regulations due to the pandemic, Veolia carried out 363 environmental education activities, which included external environmental campaigns and mainly virtual training programs in all the cities where the Group operates water or waste management services. Virtual educational workshops for local communities were organized for global events such as Water Day, Environment Day and Recycling Day. These short sessions or the sending of environmental content reached more than 37,000 people in 2020.

In Hong Kong, Veolia has built and managed one of the largest and most advanced sludge treatment facilities in the world. Known as T-PARK, the installation, which is 100% water and power selfsufficient, combines cutting-edge technologies and environmental living. With a gallery for visitors, a conference room, an observation platform and large green spaces, the installation adds an awareness and public education aspect to sustainable development. In 2019, the factory welcomed more than 65,000 people.

The annual open day organized by Veolia North America at the Jones Island wastewater recycling plant, a district in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, welcomed 1,721 visitors, making it one of the biggest events of this type in the site’s history. Volunteers from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and 82 Veolia employees offered guided tours of the plant facilities and exhibitions on the impact of plastic waste or the role of microorganisms in wastewater treatment.

In Latin and Central America (Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru), Veolia is a partner of the Organization of Ibero-American States for the environmental education program “Aldrededor de Iberoamérica”. Each year, over 20,000 children from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru took part in this program on the theme of plastic recycling and reuse. Previous themes covered renewable energies, circular economy, Millennium Development Goals, sustainable cities, the environment and sustainable development. Since its launch, the program has reached more than 150,000 children in seven Latin American countries.

Morocco: The “Clean beaches” operation. 

By taking part in the “clean beaches” operation each year, organized by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, Veolia confirms its determined action to protect beaches in Morocco. In partnership with local organizations, educational programs raise children’s awareness of ecosystem protection and respecting the environment.

These sustainable development awareness-raising initiatives were significantly curtailed by the Covid-19 crisis. Overall, Veolia’s educational programs and open days nonetheless helped raise the awareness of sustainable development and environmental issues of over 130,000 people in 2020, including over 100,000 children, compared to over 550,000 people and nearly 122,000 children in 2019.

Taking account of the informal sector

Depending on the activities managed by the Group, the informal sector can be complementary to or in competition with Veolia, particularly in recycling. In certain cases, it represents a crucial factor in the economics of Veolia’s contracts and as such, it must be taken into consideration. Through its global projects and its contact with local partners, Veolia improves its understanding and overall expertise regarding how best to work with the informal sector and how to adapt to local specificities.

In Veolia Indonesia PET recycling plant in Pasuruan has committed to reaching a fully sustainable feedstock supply for the plant by 2026. The project aims to structure the value chain with diferent objectives : develop capacity building and training to wastepickers, social benefits (improved working conditions and health), and the improvement of facilities and infrastructure…
In Indonesia, PET is mainly collected through the informal collection sector. The feedstock for Veolia is mainly sourced through informal waste collection centers, which involves concerns in terms ofsustainability such as working conditions, access to social benefits and so on. A joint project started in February 2019 among Veolia, Danone-AQUA, Danone Ecosystem Fund, and an NGO partner, YPCII, to improve existing PET collection centers to make the collection more efficient, and sustainable. This is achieved by a series of activities at the collection centers, such as training sessions, facility improvements, PPE and equipment donations. The target of this project is to develop ten Sustainable Collection Centers with traceability in the supply chain to collect 5,400 tons per year of post consumer PET bottles. This program also helps to strengthen the relationship with the suppliers and make themmore reliable suppliers for Veolia.

 In Ghana, and more generally in sub-Saharan Africa, the combination of population growth and economic growth has led to a considerable increase in the volume of waste. Plastic is one of the major problems, especially single-use waste such as PET bottles. Given the lack of collection and recycling infrastructure, Veolia has teamed up with the company RePATRN to develop solutions to this major environmental problem by using the informal sector. The challenge is to show that an economic model is viable by collecting more than 900 metric tons of PET per month while ensuring high quality standards and traceability throughout the supply chain to enable an eco-responsible recovery chain. With this in mind, Veolia is building inclusive models so that the fifty or so informal collectors who are currently suppliers can develop a sustainable business, working in safety with satisfactory social conditions. To this end, Veolia and RePATRN are deploying a digital solution to manage transactions, better connect the ecosystem of informal collectors and offer them programs adapted to their needs. The volumes currently collected make it possible to envisage a project to build a PET recycling plant in the near future.

Pilot project “Recuperador Amigo” in Manizales, Colombia, cooperation model with informal collectors.

This program, implemented in 2016 in Manizales, Colombia, is an example of value sharing, in which recyclers from the city, partners of EMAS Manizales By Veolia, ensure access to recoverable waste and rely on the Group for their personal development and their enhancement as a fundamental player in the recovery chain.

Veolia therefore conducts training initiatives with the community that increase the volume of usable household waste, facilitates the understanding and relations between recyclers and citizens and also supports the development of recyclers’ skills to improve its performance in the sector.

The objective of the “Recuperador Amigo” program led by Veolia Colombia is to connect informal collectors in an organized recycling program, as suppliers of reusable materials, establishing work schemes for the recollection, commercialization and treatment of wastes that are produced in homes and industry.

Through this social inclusion strategy, Veolia Colombia is developing the recovery of reusable waste by including this vulnerable population, with multiple deficiencies in health, education and poor quality of life in an adapted service delivery:

  • access to reusable waste with recovery through short circuits : in 2019 there are currently 62 waste collectors beneficiaries of the program, who serves 23 neighborhoods and 25 industrial or commercial customers. The program contribute to increase the recycle waste tonnage by 129% in 2017, and 61% in 2018, and thus the revenue generated by our waste recycling activity.
  • a alliance of multi-actors, government, civil society and business, for the social development and livability of the city :the municipal government of Manizales, through the Environment Secretary, with whom since 2016 an agreement is established that provides economic resources for the attention of the group of waste collectors, and through the Education Secretary, with whom Veolia runs an educational strategy in the public and private educational institutions of the city of Manizales, involving the waste collectors. 6 communal boards have supported the waste collectors in each of the neighborhoods in which they perform door-to-door collection. 7 medium generators that permanently deliver the usable waste to the program’s waste collectors. The Catholic University of Manizales, through the Environmental and Industrial Engineering program, develop a project to optimize the routes of the waste collectors, in order to improve and make their journeys more efficient.
  • strengthening a vulnerable interest group, such as waste collectors, to ensure the economic recognition of their work, as well as social acceptance and improvement of their living conditions.

This partnership contribute to improve the waste collection and the effectiveness of our activity. Currently, the program is beginning in all our waste operations in Colombia : 436 waste collectors participate as suppliers of reusable waste in the municipal units of Manizales, Pasto, Cartagena and Valle.

In Djibouti, Veolia works with (technical and operational support via Seureca, the Group’s consulting engineering division, in partnership with Naldeo, over a three-year period [2014-2017]), which is very active in the capital city.

In Colombia, a social integration initiative for rag collectors has been set up at the Presidente landfill site in Cali, in partnership with local bodies. Following the implementation of an action plan to formalize the activity, 100 rag collectors, who have received adapted training and obtained access to medical services, have set up two recycling cooperatives, which now operate independently.

Securing waste sorting by informal recyclers – Ipero, Brazil.

In Ipero, Brazil, Veolia partners Danone Communities to develop the “Novo Cyclo” project. The project launched in 2017 consists in building a new sorting site and cooperative at a Veolia landfill to boost sorting capacity, improve the living conditions of waste collectors, and professionalize the activity. The site has now been built and is in operation. The new waste sorting center inaugurated by Veolia and Danone involves 1,421 collectors and technicians, and processes 28,000 tons of recyclable material per year.

In 2018 Veolia also participated in Montevideo on the circular economy and the integration of the informal sector into waste management, and is working on a global plastic management plan (collection and recycling) in Accra, Ghana.

In developing countries, where waste management is widely managed by the informal sector, digital technology offers opportunities to improve existing practices by structuring operating ties between different sector players (producers, collectors and customers) using digital platforms developed by local start-ups.

AfricWaste in Ivory Coast, a local partner for a plastic circular economy.

Created by Veolia under a partnership with the group BTP PFO Africa, and tested in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), AfricWaste initiative looks to rely on the informal economy, a key link in the recycling chain in Ivory Coast, to set up a structured channel for collecting and recovering plastic waste, starting with PET bottles.

During a first pilot phase deployed in Abidjan from October 2017 to March 2018, the AfricWaste project was tested at the Akouédo landfill: a collection and storage point allows informal collectors to sell PET plastic bottles recovered from individuals and storekeepers. Following conclusive initial results, a second pilot phase was conducted between March and September 2018 in the Treichville neighborhood to the south of the capital. A smartphone app was launched there: the user states the amount of waste they wish to have removed and its location; the waste can thus be retrieved by the nearest collector, who is then remunerated via phone payment.

The ultimate goal is to entrust the collection and sorting platforms to local companies involved in the social and solidarity economy. These companies will supply the waste collected to Veolia, up to 15 tons of collected PET per month, which will oversee its processing and recycling.

The “Sustainable plastics” project: digital technologies and efficient informal collection networks.

2EI Veolia has developed the “Sustainable plastics” project which seeks to improve our ability to act on recyclable waste collection in any location and boost current informal collection networks by rolling out digital technologies. This project therefore helps to satisfy our industrial customers’ secondary raw materials needs, with technical, environmental and ethical guarantees, in emerging countries.

Created with Kabadiwalla Connect (KC), an Indian startup which has developed a number of apps (B2C, B2B), the digital solution creates a virtual infrastructure identifying, at a local level, all key stakeholders in the recycling supply chain. These apps connect stakeholders with waste holders and waste transformers. Tested in India, Veolia is currently defining a collaboration model to replicate the solution.

Open social innovation – Pop’Up program in India.

In keeping with the “Pop Up by Veolia” open social innovation program supported by Veolia, the Group has set up a social business project in India withPop Up India”, in partnership with Ennovent, a local and experienced social incubator.

As one of the program’s two winning organizations (out of 40 applications) that are currently in an incubation phase, Hasiru Dala Innovations Private Limited is a social enterprise focused on creating better livelihoods for waste-pickers through inclusive businesses in and around Bangalore. Veolia has partnered with Hasiru Dala to create training modules, based on an interactive approach with videos and exercises, that aim at improving safety standards and working conditions of waste-pickers.

Reduce the sanitary and environmental impacts of informal WEEE dismantling in Manila (Philippines)

Veolia Foundation / Médecins Du Monde (MDM)

2012-2016 Protecting D3E recyclers in Manila, Philippines

Since July 2012, the Veolia Foundation has supported the NGO Médecins du Monde in its program to improve the working conditions and health of informal waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recyclers. This involves providing both financial support and skills, and offering the services of volunteers who are experts in WEEE recycling. They train recyclers in the dangers of toxic products and work with them to find solutions to minimize health risks and adjust recycling practices. Following a phase involving an assessment, raising awareness of best practices and wearing protective equipment, the Foundation helped to fund dismantling platforms and specialized equipment.

  • 766 dismantlers identified, of whom 57% belong to an organization.
  • 2,200 people impacted by the project (dismantlers and their families).
  • 3,584 pairs of gloves handed out.
  • 5 training models created and 508 training sessions provided.
  • 50 health workers trained.

2017 Assess environmental and health issues in a Manila slum

Médecins du monde (MDM) identified a district in which to assess environment and health issues. Three Veoliaforce volunteers went in the field to put their expertise in water, air, and waste and wastewater management to use. The water used in homes was analyzed. The air was tested in homes and in the street. Finally, the mission focused on potential improvements in both the waste collection system and the sewerage system. The results of the assessment has enabled MDM to set up a new project aiming to study the impact of the poor environment of this slum in the heart of a developing megapole on the health of its inhabitants.

2018… Environmental health as a human health condition

Médecins du monde (MDM) and the Veolia Foundation have embarked on a new program to improve the health of communities by working on their direct environment. The approach is holistic: the goal is to better understand the link between daily practices and the impacts on people’s health.

In district 775 of the Manila slum, measures were taken in order to prevent household fires and the harmful presence of contaminated stagnant water, which attracts mosquitoes, rats and other animals that are carriers of contagious diseases. Identified by the community as a major health issue, waste management is central to this project. As from 2019, drawing on Veolia Foundation’s expertise, MDM will endeavor to design solutions to be rolled out. In the next two to three years, jobs could be created for these activities. Improve one’s environment for better health… The project demands time and commitment.

Build new shared value creation models

Together with its client and partners, the Group creates new business models based on sharing value created (financial or social), innovation and complimentary expertise. In order to qualify a partnership as a “major partnership based on shared value creation”, the following criteria must be met :

  • a formalized collaboration in an established contract framework, with one or several stakeholders (signing of a “Memorandum of Understanding”, a contract, creation of a joint venture, etc.);
  • a commitment over time: the desire to collaborate long-term;
  • the co-creation of innovative solutions which allow Veolia to supplement its expertise alongside its traditional business activities;
  • shared value (economic, social, environmental) created between partners;
  • a significant scope: global (covering several zones), regional or country-based partnership with the potential to be replicated elsewhere.

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia has set the objective to have formed at least one partnership of this type in each of its activity zones by 2020, to cover the 7 priority growth segments (petrol & gas, mines & metals, food production, dismantling, circular economy, complex contamination and innovative models for cities).

In 2020, the objective is reached, with 11 activity zones and 7 growth segments covered.

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2020 objective
Coverage rate of Veolia activity zones and growth segments trough major partnerships based on shared value creation 8/11 activity zones
6/7 growth segment
10/11 activity zones
6/7 growth segments
11/11 activity zones
6/7 growth segment
11/11 activity zones
6/7 growth segment
11/11 activity zones
7/7 growth segment
Have established a major partnerships based on shared value creation in every zone and every growth segment
Innovative contractual models

Veolia has signed several contracts with fund providers based on the AssetCo – OpCo model: partnerships with Takeei for the operation of biomass plants in Japan, with Neste and Borealis in Finland for energy production and with EPM in Latin America for energy efficiency projects, and through the Kwinana energy recovery project in Australia.

Veolia Australia & New Zealand has been selected to operate and maintain the first Energy Recovery facility in the country: the Kwinana Project. First ever project to of its kind in Australia, the new state-of-the-art plant will start to generate approximately 40 MW of clean energy, i.e enough to power 50,000 households. This new plant will provide a more sustainable solution for the effective management of waste, and will bolster local energy supply to drive energy security and affordability.

Neste, Veolia and Borealis have agreed to create a joint venture company to build a new combined heat and power plant (“power plant”) and produce and supply steam and other utilities to Neste’s refinery and Borealis’ petrochemical plant in Porvoo, Finland. The company, Kilpilahti Power Plant Limited (“KPP”), will be owned 40% each by Neste and Veolia and 20% by Borealis. Neste will contribute its required equity share in KPP by transferring the current power plant to the joint venture company. The arrangement is subject to the finalization of the financing agreements, which is expected to take place during the 2016 first quarter.

Innovative models founded on complementary expertise

In 2019, Yara (a specialist in crop nutrition) and Veolia signed an agreement to develop the circular economy within the food production and farming chains in Europe. This partnership is based on access to growing volumes of recovered nutrients and Veolia’s expertise managing organic materials, on the one hand, and Yara’s expertise in mineral fertilizer production and crop nutrition on the other hand.

The first international partnership on resilience was signed in 2016 with Swiss Re, under the umbrella of the Rockefeller Foundation, to help cities to recover their vital infrastructures more quickly after damage is caused by natural disasters. Acting together with 100 Resilient Cities, the partnership implemented its approach for the first time in New Orleans.

Veolia joined the Livelihoods 3F funds for family, responsible, fair and sustainable farming. By developing circular economy solutions, the Group will help improve the resilience of small farmers to climate change, specifically mitigating the risks of water shortages.

 

In Aguascalientes, Mexico, Veolia takes part in a collective project which aims to limit the risk of water shortages linked to the growing local requirements of the city, industry and farming.

Veolia is a partner of the STOP (Stop Ocean Plastics) project launched by Borealis and Systemiq. The project aims to make progress with waste management and stop plastic disposal in the oceans in SouthEast Asia, by helping governments and cities to create effective household waste and industrial waste management and recycling systems. The first partnership started in April 2018 in Muncar, a coastal fishing community in Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia.

At the intersection of its existing business lines – Water, Waste and Energy – Veolia has developed its knowledge in farming to respond to the growing needs to feed humans and propose new services to its customers in the future. The Group is also working on producing insect-based animal protein, urban farming and aquaponic farming :

  • Veolia is a partner of Entofood, a Malaysian start-up which uses biowaste to cultivate insects, which are then used to feed livestock. As part of this collaboration, the first industrial site to transform organic waste into high added-value products such as protein is currently being built in Malaysia.
  • In the south of France, Sede Environnement, a Veolia subsidiary specializing in biowaste, is a partner of the French start-up Mutatec. It aims to industrialize the insect reproduction process and convert the organic waste from these insects into organic protein and matter, as well as other high added-value products such as chitin or oils.

 

Alliance to End Plastic Waste 

The Group is a partner of the new alliance created in January 2019 “Alliance to End Plastic Waste” (AEPW). Currently with nearly thirty international companies covering the entire value chain, the Alliance has agreed to invest over US$1 billion, with the objective of reaching US$1.5 billion in five years. It will develop and implement solutions to reduce and manage plastic waste and to promote their recycling as part of a circular economy.

Shared value creation models with our industrial clients

The partnership signed with Danone in 2015 continued in 2019. This unique global alliance relates to managing natural resources, industrial efficiency and reducing the environmental footprint. Danone’s environmental objective covers management of water resources and sustainable organization of plastic and milk cycles at all its global industrial sites. Danone’s climate policy is long-term carbon neutrality. The alliance is based on a collaborative approach where shared value creation is created from the pooling of the two companies’ skills. This agreement allows Veolia to offer its expertise at all Danone sites, and more generally in the cycles’ circular economy, in order to have a much greater effect than they could have achieved individually.

Veolia continued its three-year partnership contract with Unilever, signed in 2018, which aims to develop a plastic circular economy in different regions, starting with India and Indonesia. Veolia will work with Unilever to implement used packaging collection solutions, increasing recycling capacity and developing new economic processes and models.

A partnership contract with Tetra Pak which aims to allow recycling of all used food cartons collected in the European Union by 2025 was signed in 2018. This involves developing a PolyAl recycling.

In 2019, Veolia signed three main partnerships based on this same shared created value model :

Nestlé and Veolia became partners to combat plastic waste and develop plastic waste collection, sorting and recycling programs, particularly for flexible plastic waste.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) joined forces with Veolia for a plastic circular economy. For RB, it is another step in its commitment to 100% recyclable plastic packaging comprising at least 25% recycled raw materials by 2025.

At the end of the year, EDF and Veolia announced the creation of a joint venture, Graphitech, to tackle the challenges of dismantling graphite nuclear reactors, which are complex to dismantle. Graphitech will combine EDF’s expertise in the nuclear industry and dismantling engineering skills with Veolia’s nuclear robotics skills.

Innovative social models

To meet growing public authority demand for innovation, Veolia has developed a social open-innovation platform, “Pop Up by Veolia”, to encourage co-creation by the Group and social entrepreneurs. These incubation programs were deployed in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Mexico. In partnership with Ennovent, the Group launched “Pop-Up India” in 2018, an incubator to respond to the challenges linked to access to essential services, solid waste management and compost recovery in India. These incubation programs were deployed in 15 regions in France, India and Mexico.

In 2018, Veolia joined the Toilet Board Coalition, the first global platform dedicated to boosting the sanitation economy, alongside the founding companies – Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, Lixil, Firmenich and Tata. This public-private partnership brings together multinational companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and social landlords around a common objective: “Sanitation for all”.

A project with Elise continues to create socially-inclusive jobs for individuals with disabilities and/or professional reinsertion difficulties, offering companies more extensive handling of their office waste.

In Australia and New Zealand, the North West Waste Alliance joint venture created in 2016 is a partnership between Veolia and Our Country, a 100% Aboriginal Australian company, in the field of waste recycling and energy efficiency. The partnership prioritizes local employment and the use of local subcontractors. It is based on the willingness to combine aboriginal and Western knowledge to create shared value.

Contribute to the development and attractiveness of regions

Veolia contributes to regional appeal and dynamism. Its solutions meet the needs of local authorities and industrial companies and deal with every aspect of tomorrow’s sustainable regions: smart, resilient and socially integrated living spaces where people enjoy life.

Challenges and commitments

Through its management, its local sites, its human resources policies, its sustainable purchasing policies, initiatives by the Veolia Foundation, its economic partnerships and innovation and entrepreneurship support systems, the Group plays a leading role in local employment and development.

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia has made commitment 5 to Contribute to local development and appeal. It has set a 2020 objective of continuing to reinvest a high proportion of expenditure in the regions (above 80%).

Mr. Claude Laruelle, Chief Financial Officer, sponsors thiscommitment at the Executive Committee.

 

As part of its Purpose and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to supporting the development of the regions in a responsible manner. 

This commitment can be broken down into several objectives, including that of creating jobs and wealth in the regions. 

To illustrate its commitment, the Group has set a target for 2023 of assessing its socio-economic impact in terms of employment and wealth each year.

The sponsor of this objective is Olivier Brousse, member of the Executive Committee and Director of Strategy and Innovation.

Veolia therefore pursues the following goals:

  • contribute to the economic and social vitality of the regions where the Group operates;
  • contribute to regional resilience and help them rise to the challenges they face;
  • develop smart solutions using digital technologies;
  • contribute to social solidarity and the fight against exclusion, notably through its Foundation;
  • establish responsible relationships with our suppliers.

Contribute to local vitality

The Group contributes to local development through the performance of delegated public services and the significant local investments that it makes for the repair, maintenance and development of infrastructures and access to services. Veolia also supports innovation and entrepreneurship as close as possible to local social issues.

Reinvesting locally

The majority of the Group’s spending is carried out in the regions where Veolia operates. This creation of wealth, including direct or indirect jobs linked to its activities, cannot be offshored and therefore contribute to local development, economies and human potential. In 2020, as part of its commitment to sustainable development, Contribute to local development and appeal , Veolia locally reinvested 87.3% of its spending in local regions in major countries, in line with its 2020 objective to keep it above 80%.

Percentage of expenditure reinvested locally in countries in 2020 :

The Veolia Mulwaree Trust in Australia.

In partnership with the Goulburn Mulwaree Council (New South Wales local government), Veolia founded the Veolia Mulwaree Trust in 2005 to manage and distribute funds to not-for-profit community groups and organizations for the benefit of the former Mulwaree Shire Council area and its immediate surroundings. Through the Veolia Mulwaree Trust, Veolia supports local schools, sporting facilities, parks and playgrounds, emergency services, charities and community service organizations. The Veolia Mulwaree Trust also supports a range of academic and creative arts scholarships annually. Over the past 15 years, VMT has distributed a total of $11.9 million across more than 1,300 projects and grants. In 2020, a total of $693,649 have been distributed in 77 grants, donations and scholarships.

The Veolia Environmental Trust in the UK.

Under the Landfill Communities Fund, Veolia UK transfers a portion of its taxes payable on landfills to not-for-profit organizations which spearhead projects for communities and the environment. Since its creation in 1997, the Veolia Environmental Trust has transferred over £86 million for 2,400 projects. In 2020 The Trust awarded £5.3million to 97 not-for-profit organisations in England. The partnerships created over the past 23 years have and continue to enable the improvement and creation of public amenities, and protection of natural habitats and biodiversity.

Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship

Veolia’s involvement in regional economic development is reflected in different open innovation systems. They encourage the emergency of technical, social and environmental solutions with local entrepreneurs and constitute opportunities for joint development. 

Technological Open Innovation 

– Since 2017, the VIA by Veolia program is an Open Innovation service offered to the Group’s operational departments (Business Support and Performance Department, Information Systems and Technologies Department, etc.) and Business Units that are seeking innovative solutions. The service includes:

  • seeking innovations in response to an identified need if no internal solutions can be found (compliance, performance, offer development, etc.);
  • selecting the most appropriate technologies with Group experts;
  • classifying (testing) the selected technology before setting up a sales commitment.

In three years, teams sourced 176 innovative technologies and in 2020 their operations led to the testing of 19 of these technologies.
The Open Innovation team also supported the U-START acceleration program led by Veolia in Germany and the Veolia’s brand new Spark Accelerator program in the Middle East.

The VIA by Veolia team collaborated with the Business Unit Waste Solutions (Recyclage et Valorisation des Déchets) in France to identify, test and classify solutions able to measure the fill rates of voluntary waste drop-off points, then to send the data to Veolia to optimize waste collection. These studies have helped identify a solution which is currently being deployed in the region, with 600 sensors in use and 1,200 to come.

Launched by Veolia in Germany, the acceleration program U-START encourages cooperation with innovative start-ups in the fields of the circular economy, climate protection and responsible resource management. In order to help start-ups to develop their solutions and accelerate their sale, Veolia provides entrepreneurs with the possibility to enter into a co-innovation partnership through different technical and commercial development opportunities: prototyping, tests and proof of concept for Veolia facilities, cocreation projects, access to distribution channels, etc. 

Since its creation in 2016, U-START has led 15 cooperation projects with start-ups through nine calls for solutions.

In 2020, U-START enabled three start-ups to pursue their projects in cooperation with Veolia teams:

  • SunCrafter, which specializes in the reuse of photovoltaic panels after they have been dismantled. Veolia’s involvement made it possible to verify the relevance of their offering in a market that is expected to grow exponentially.
  • ChargeX has developed an innovative system for recharging electric vehicle batteries. The cooperation with Veolia will allow the start-up to deploy this solution to Veolia’s municipal and industrial customers under a “White Label” contract.
  • Vaira is developing a digital platform to assist the management of connection sites for electricity, gas or water networks. This solution has been adapted to the needs of Veolia’s teams and will be tested in 2021 on one of our sites.

Social Open Innovation

Launched in 2014, the Social Open Innovation program Pop Up by Veolia helps support the emergence and growth of entrepreneurs with high potential social impact on local areas and to co-create innovative solutions.

Globally, Veolia has formed partnerships to reinforce and measure the impact of this Social Open Innovation program. This is the case with Ashoka, the leading global social entrepreneurship network operating in 80 countries, with the ESSEC Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Chair and Ticket for Change.

Locally, Veolia works with social entrepreneurship incubators to detect, select and support social start-ups with a high potential impact. These partner incubators play several key roles : their local position allows themed calls for projects to be successfully circulated in the region, and their support program allows the genuine organization of entrepreneurial projects thanks to coaching, training and networking. Supported entrepreneurs benefit from the support and expertise of Veolia employees to jointly create innovative projects and solutions with different local players (public authorities, citizens, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs).

The “Pop Up” program was deployed in 2020 in 14 regions in France, India and Mexico. By the end of 2020, 220 social companies have been supported, and there were 25 collaborations.

Eau du Grand Lyon has been working with the social integration company La Conciergerie Solidaire since 2017 to provide dayto-day services to employees and to organize events to raise awareness about the social and solidarity economy.

Following a selection via the India Pop Up, Veolia entered into a partnership with the NGO FORCE (Forum for Organized Resource Conservation and Enhancement) and Nangloi Water Services. Through various initiatives, campaigns and community awareness programs, the objective is to promote the legal connection to drinking water, providing a healthy supply of water for all. Thanks to this project, the NGO was able to help 10,661 households in 2019.

Digital Open Innovation

Veolia relies on innovation and digital technology to boost the Group’s business lines, to reinforce the performance of services in cities and to offer new solutions to citizens that are connected and provide efficient resource management. By investing in a digital business ecosystem and by developing open innovation, Veolia supports the transformation of urban services and co-created the smart city, an inclusive and pleasant place to live.

Smart water meters deployed by the company Birdz, a Nova Veolia subsidiary, in over 3,000 cities can immediately inform consumers if there is a leak or risk of freezing. The emergence of new technologies in the urban space is therefore a chance for cities to offer practical services adapted to the needs of each individual.

The “Oasis” in Niamey, Niger, a structure that supports the economic integration of women through entrepreneurship.

Faced with environmental challenges and the huge challenge of tackling poverty – an issue which primarily affects women in Niger – Veolia and Empow’Her, an international organization supporting female entrepreneurship, co-created and launched L’Oasis in Niamey in January 2018. This organization supports the economic integration of women through entrepreneurship, and raises awareness of sustainable development challenges. It is a unique location, supported by the Veolia Foundation and its subsidiary, Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger, dedicated to the social economy and responsible economy. L’Oasis was inspired by La Recyclerie, an innovative location in Paris which is dedicated to eco-responsibility. Veolia has been a partner since its launch in 2014. Convinced that entrepreneurship is a powerful driver for female emancipation and their involvement in community development, training, leadership and network development programs have been put in place for female entrepreneurs. In 2018, L’Oasis trained 686 women, organized 98 awareness events and nearly 2,500 people took part in the proposed activities.

Communiqué de presse 19 janvier 2018

Communiqué de presse 19 janvier 2018

The “STARTER, Believe and Do Business!” program in the Czech Republic.

Under the “STARTER, Believe and Do Business!” program in the Czech Republic, Veolia supports start-ups in the Moravian-Silesian and Olomouc regions. Grants are awarded to non-traditional craft projects that bring social benefits to inhabitants. In 2018, more than €170,000 were redistributed to support 100 new jobs. Over the last nineteen years “STARTER, Believe and Do Business!” has helped create 2,200 new jobs, including 330 sheltered positions, by awarding €4.2 million.

Socio-economic impact measurement

Veolia socioeconomic footprint

To understand and explain its impact, Veolia has measured in 2020 its socioeconomic footprint worldwide in collaboration with the consultancy Utopies. The model, which includes databases from tens of national and international statistical sources, helps reproduce the actual economy in the most realistic manner possible. This study on 2019 helped quantify the impacts of Veolia activities beyond their direct impacts (employment and added value of the Group). The indirect impacts linked to the supply chain, and impacts caused by household consumption and public spending are also measured. The financial flows of 51 countries where Veolia operates, representing over 98% of the Group’s revenue, were analyzed. 

– The results of the worldwide study demonstrated that Veolia activities worldwide :

  • supported over 1,105,388 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs;
  • generated more than €51 billion in added value;
  • have a job multiplier coefficient of 6.6: for every one direct Veolia job, 5.6 additional jobs are supported in the economy;
  • have an added value multiplier coefficient of 3.3: for each euro of added value created by Veolia, an additional €2.3 of added value is generated in the economy.

–> See the complete study of Veolia World’s socio-economic footprint

– In 2018, the analysis of socioeconomic footprint was conducted in France :

Veolia’s activities in France support over 165,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, that is 0.6% of the population in employment in 2017. These activities generated GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of €9.6 billion in France, some 0.4% of 2017 national GDP.

Le Social return on investment (SROI)

Veolia’s business activities have a social and community impact and help create value in the regions where Veolia operates, in terms of services (drinking water, sanitation, heating, waste collection, etc.), hygiene and health, resource conservation, recycling, employment and pathways to employment, solidarity initiatives, taxes, environmental education, and so on.

Measuring this added value is not always straightforward and the methods for doing so vary greatly (resources, time, and skills). Since 2014, we have measured the social impact (the social value created) of some of our contracts by applying the innovative methodology of SROI (social return on investment).

2016 Best initiatives in Asia

SROI – the examples of Ile-de-France (France) and Nangloi (India)

Both of these cases relate to drinking water distribution contracts; however, their cultural, economic, and technical contexts are very different. This initiative, undertaken in 2015, allowed us to analyze the effects of changes made and identify their impact, then suggest scenarios relating to the monetization of this impact.

SROI – the example of Southwark (United Kingdom)

In the UK, Veolia used the SROI approach to assess the value of the services provided and the work conducted with the community in the London Borough of Southwark. The first of the kind, the Southwark SROI study showed that for every £1 spent by Veolia within the scope of this contract, we produced £2.09 of social value.

This work and the internally developed Veolia tool represent a major breakthrough in our knowledge of the value that we bring to communities.

Resilience of the areas

Veolia supports regional resilience by helping, particularly through operating sites and in collaboration with public authorities, to tackle their physical, climate, economic and social challenges. 

As part of its “Resourcing the world” mission, the Group offers smarter planning, development and management of infrastructures and public services in our cities, such as water supply, sanitation, and energy and waste management and recovery. Training and sharing best practices transform these challenges into opportunities for the most resilient cities. 

A strategic partner of 100 Resilient Cities since its creation, Veolia has contributed its expertise to this Rockefeller Foundation initiative that aims to help 100 international cities to become more resilient to social, economic and physical challenges. 

In 2015, New Orleans was the first city in the network to reveal its strategy for resilience, on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Accordingly, Veolia and Swiss Re have developed a pilot project on certain municipal infrastructures, particularly strategic wastewater and drainage treatment systems, as well as their energy supply.

Veolia contributes to the fight against climate change, which is a major resilience challenge at international level. As early as 2014, Veolia helped prepare and stage the COP21, the 21st international conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which took place in Paris in December 2015, as well as the COP22, the COP23 and the COP24.

Following its publication on the theme of “resilient cities”, the Veolia Institute organized a conference to discuss new challenges which regions are facing.

ENPC-Veolia conference “Accelerate city readiness for a changing climate”

Ecole des Ponts ParisTech engineering school and Veolia organized the 2019 conference day of the Chair “Hydrology for Resilient Cities”. During this day session, introduced by Mr. Antoine Frérot and Ms. Sophie Mougard, Director of Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, achievements and best practices for improving the resilience of cities in the face of extreme wet weather events were discussed.

Supporting proactive cities

Following the effervescence generated by the success of the New Orleans project, numerous cities have taken a keen interest in Veolia’s urban resilience solutions and asked it to lead, for example, a resilience strategic plan (risk analysis, identification of regional shocks and stresses, recommendations, etc.).

  • Veolia assisted the city of Byblos (Lebanon) update its reliance strategy (sustainable city 3D simulator, KEY2©Sustainable City, developed by a consortium of French companies led by Veolia and used in Santiago du Chili from 2011-2016).
  • In 2017 and 2018, Veolia supported players in the Milwaukee region to define and implement a resilience strategy.
  • Veolia has also held workshops in Cali, Colombia following the 2017 flooding, and in Montevideo, Uruguay regarding waste management.
  • Veolia employees have also taken part in workshops in 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa, regarding water stress issues, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the social economy.

Milwaukee Region: Support when defining the resilience strategy 

To help it respond to its demographic, economic and climate change challenges, Veolia assisted the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, one of Veolia North America’s biggest customers, with defining its resilience strategy in the Milwaukee region. This plan, published in August 2019, is based on an analysis of risks and regional challenges ranked during workshops involving 28 municipalities, as well as a panel of stakeholders interested in the approach and regional figures. This strategic framework provides operational recommendations covering the environment, economy and infrastructure, in order to make the region stronger and more resilient.

Veolia supports cities around the world determined to identify their vulnerabilities, through a proactive resilience approach that transforms risks to opportunities. Veolia proposes solutions to reduce the vulnerability of regions and thereby reduce the total cost of infrastructure and improve its resilience (e.g. flood prevention in Copenhagen). Veolia proposes solutions to reduce the vulnerability of regions and thereby reduce the total cost of infrastructure and improve its resilience (e.g. flood prevention in Copenhagen).

Urban climate change reduction solutions

Combating urban heat islands (UHI) in the summer

Veolia is developing analysis tools and innovative solutions to mitigate urban heat islands, particularly the use of non-drinking water (water used for public roads and public spaces). Launched in 2011, an R&D program tested public road spraying over three successive summers in a district of Lyon (France). The dampening of the road reduced its temperature by 3 to 5°C and that for the pedestrian by around 0.5°C. In Nice, other solutions were simulated: cooling using wet porous flagstones (water retention flagstones), soil dampening, vegetation, shade, improved air circulation, etc. In 2018, the first urban cooling demonstrator based on evaporative paving stones was delivered to the Toulouse Montaudran Aerospace  Zone (a first in Europe). In 2019, a pilot was set up in Milan, Italy.

“Green steam” energy in Boston

Veolia operates Boston’s urban energy network and supports the city’s “Carbon Free Boston” strategy. Using a high-yield cogeneration technique, the cogeneration plant recycles thermal energy that was previously lost.

Grand Bellevue Inclusion & Digital in Nantes

The “Grand Bellevue Inclusion & Digital” project in Nantes is one of 15 approved urban renovation proposals. Veolia was part of the grouping that presented the project. With a €50 million budget, the project proposes to test new urban services using service demonstrators. The services will be co-produced by neighborhood residents, universities and partners from the voluntary sector.

 

Smart solutions

Using digital technology, smart solutions seek to improve the information provided to citizens and their comfort, and to optimize the environmental and economic performance of the services delivered by Veolia. They include solutions such as Urban Board, Urban Namics and Urban Pulse proposed to public authorities and management tools and platforms developed locally for our clients. These solutions are developed internally or in partnership with digital players (start-ups and major companies such as IBM and Huawei).

Operating in the heart of regions, Veolia has naturally become a manager of various urban flows – energy in its various forms, drinking water and wastewater, liquid and solid waste – and of the information associated with these flows. In fact, Veolia has now positioned itself, with the Urban X product range, as a natural stakeholder in solutions for the smart city and the sustainable city of tomorrow.

Waternamics

Designed in partnership with IBM, this replicable industrial solution is central to water and wastewater service digitalization. It collates, contextualizes and cross-checks the data from an increasing number of operating information systems and captors. It therefore ensures enhanced data analysis to improve responsiveness in light of real-time events, boost service performance, manage crises more efficiently and support exchanges of more accurate information on the service with local authorities or citizens. Set-up simultaneously in Lyon (France) and Tidworth (UK) in February 2015, Waternamics, which is deployed in over 10 Veolia Eau contracts in France, is proposed in response to calls for tenders for the digital transformation of services abroad.

Plans have been made to extend this digital solution to other Group businesses, particularly heating networks, with an initial roll-out in Warsaw, Poland under the Heatnamics project in conjunction with the  Veri Heat Tech Center.

In terms of waste, we have initiated the Wastenamics project to enhance performance.

More generally, the hypervision systems segment for urban infrastructures has given rise to the Urban Namics product range.

The Wastenamics project has been launched for waste management. Wastenamics aims to improve operating performance, notably by using connected objects (e.g. by helping to plan collection rounds using sensors).

HeatNamics

Extension of WaterNamics to the heating network business, with an initial roll-out in Warsaw, Poland, at the largest heating network in the European Union. Additional expert modules covering predictive maintenance and asset management for heating networks will by added in 2018 to the range of HeatNamics solutions.

Urban Pulse

A mobile application which offers residents all the information they need on their city in real time (with regard to outings, stores, services, transportation and friends). Urban Pulse, which strengthens Veolia’s direct relationship with end users, offers towns and cities an innovative, intelligent solution to better connect residents to their region. Urban Pulse, which continues to be rolled out in French and international towns and cities, with new services being added to make it the benchmark application for facilitating urban life.

Urban Board

Dashboard intended for municipal teams that puts into perspective the operational indicators of services and their perception by residents. A web application accessible by computer or tablet, Urban board provides local government decision-makers with a synthetic and dynamic view of their regional operations.

Hubgrade

Hubgrade, the Smart Monitoring Centers for Veolia’s business lines – Water, Energy and Waste – enables teams to monitor and exploit data in real time to optimize resource management for municipal, commercial and industrial clients. Hubgrade covers three primary areas to guarantee top-notch expertise: organization, digital systems and smart services. In 2019, Veolia has over 27 operational Hubgrade centers in the tertiary and commercial sectors: in France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, China and Australia. By setting up these centers, Veolia can transfer data recorded by millions of sensors relating to its activities to optimize resource flows in cities, buildings and industrial sites. Hubgrade allows Veolia to measure progress, accelerate its customers’ performance research and limit pressure on resources.

Innovative solutions with the IRIS consortium

Veolia joined the IRIS (Integrated and Replicable Solutions for Co-Creation in Sustainable Cities) consortium whose proposal was selected by the H2020 European program. IRIS brings together 43 public and private partners around three demonstrators located in leader cities (Utrecht, Nice, Goteborg), follower cities and cross-cutting partners. With the Nice demonstrator, Veolia proposed:

  • optimization of heat distribution in three Côte d’Azur Habitat buildings, using a Siemens solution led by Veolia Energie France,
  • control of utility consumption (AMCI) in three Côte d’Azur Habitat buildings, led by HomeFriend
  • management of pollution peaks using Hager and Urban Pulse air quality sensors, led by ESWAN.

This 5-year project will enable the testing of innovative solutions in the pre-industrial phase with high replication potential.

Support for individual consumption control

Veolia developed the AMCI solution to help users control their individual water and energy consumption and particularly users living in social housing. This citizen commitment solution in the fight against poverty is founded on three pillars that are key to its effectiveness: connected meters and sensors located throughout the housing and using the latest technology to establish a link between user consumption and behavior; a portal and applications enabling personalized energy saving strategies to be developed in a fun way and by sharing best practice within a community; and human support through local associations or reference residents. Following successful testing with real estate rental company Dynacité in the département of Ain, Veolia has developed a complete and innovative behavioral support service to help occupants of apartment buildings control their water, electricity and heating consumption, that is currently being introduced by the appraisal expert HomeFriend at 4 new pilot sites (Côte d’Azur Habitat in Nice, NéoToa in Rennes, Nantes Métropole Habitat and Opac d’Amiens). Initial results are extremely encouraging for landlords, as they see the service as a way to improve their tenants’ solvency (the solution seeks to reduce annual water and energy bills by 10%), improve communication and make savings, for example by reducing the time spent on claims management and carrying out work in the housing. In addition, Veolia will be able to offer other digital inclusion services through the communication portal for landlords and tenants.

Encourage social and professional integration, and solidarity

Through its management, human resources and procurement policies, and the solidarity actions carried out by the Foundation and the Business Units in the countries, the Group is a major player in the field of social inclusion and employment in the regions where it operates.

Veolia, a responsible creator of local jobs

The Company currently has 171,450 employees and acts as a responsible employer and a creator of business growth and social solidarity (employment, training and the local economy) in the regions where it operates, through: 

  • making work-study contracts a priority in external recruitment. The Group is convinced that work-study schemes are an excellent way of acquiring skills, in particular under apprenticeship and professionalization contracts (3,270 trainees in 2020); 
  • its insertion actions through economic activity, in coordination with the Veolia Foundation and in partnership with insertion organizations (see below); 
  • creating pathways between the Veolia Campus network, the Group and professionals and partners involved in training, orientation and employment to prepare young people and those most alienated from the workplace for the Group’s businesses: ‘Second Chance Schools’, Employment Support Centers (EPIDE), local community support networks in France, the “Elles Bougent” and “Sport dans la ville” associations, etc.; 
  • a diversity policy and actions: fighting discrimination, supporting the employment of individuals with disabilities ; 
  • a policy of openness towards training sectors (schools, universities): hiring of student interns (2,045 in 2020), Trophées de la Performance (performance awards), summer schools, student forums and fairs ; 
  • Community initiatives adapted to a specific local context are rolledout in the different geographies:
    • the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2019-2022 in Australia aimed at Aboriginal Australians;
    • the Amendis collaboration, Veolia Morocco, with the Enfants du Paradis association to support young people with disabilities;
    • the creation of training modules to improve safety standards and working conditions for people working in the waste management sector in India;
    • in Niger, SEEN (Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger) has partnered with the Nigerien Agency for the Promotion of Employment. It supports an integration program for young graduates which aims to make young people more employable and help them enter the workforce. Through this program, 13 young people were offered paid internships in 2020, seven of whom were subsequently recruited…

In France, Veolia and Elise (a network of sheltered-employment companies promoting integration where over 80% of the workforce are people with disabilities), partners since 2012 in the collection and recycling of office paper, have strengthened their collaboration. Their scope is now extended to include all office waste. A scope extension that will have created 575 jobs between 2012 and 2020.

Veolia Environmental Trust int the United Kingdom, Veolia Mulwaree Trust in Australia, Veolia Foundation Czech Republic in Czech Republic ou Veolia Foundation Slovakia in Slovakia fund local projects or programs (support for job creation, environmental protection and social and solidarity projects) which, in addition to the financial sponsoring, often involve Veolia employees.

Australia: The Reconciliation Action Plan 

Veolia reaffirms its historic commitment to defending the rights of Aboriginal Australian and the Torres Strait Islander peoples, and launched the third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2019- 2022

This commitment started in 1997 with the partnership to employ Aboriginal people signed with Indigenous Business Australia. In 2013, the joint venture The North West Alliance was created with the Aboriginal Australian company Our Country. This alliance has become the biggest provider of waste management services in the Pilbara region. This was followed by the 2014-2016 and 2017-2019 RAP, strategic frameworks to combat inequality and to develop long-term ties with the communities and local organizations. 

The priority areas for action of this new 2019-2022 plan will be education, employment, community partnerships and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Addressing Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment In South Africa 

Operating in South Africa, Veolia is active in promoting the effective participation of previously disadvantaged individuals and communities in the South African economy.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, Veolia also boasts a larger regional footprint with offices in Durban and Paarl as well as international offices and operations in Botswana and Namibia. As part of the global Veolia Environment group, the Southern Africa region of Veolia is poised to draw on the group’s success and expertise as well as their extensive research and development capabilities.

Veolia Services Southern Africa is proudly BEE compliant, with Level 4 recognised B-BBEE status. (https://www.veolia.co.za/about-us). Our Southern African operations consist of eight legal entities.

The Company adheres to the requirements of the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998. Furthermore in 2017, on July 26th, Veolia Water Technologies South Africa officially unveiled its strategic partnership with Ceracure (Pty) Ltd. This landmark shareholding agreement strengthens the Company’s compliance with last Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment regulations as a high level contributor, and demonstrates its continued commitment to local empowerment and transformation.
Done in 2019 by a SANAS accredited auditor, Veolia Water Technologies South Africa’s Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Certification is level 4 :

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies South Africa - B-BBEE Certificate

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies South Africa – B-BBEE Certificate

The Veolia Foundation’s solidarity initiatives

The support for the transition to work and social cohesion is one of the Veolia Foundation’s priority areas of action, along with development assistance and humanitarian emergencies and environmental and biodiversity protection. In particular, it supports initiatives and structures that encourage the return to work of people outside mainstream society (work sites, associations and companies that foster professional reinsertion through economic activity, training, social assistance, entrepreneurial solidarity and microcredit, etc.). Beyond just financial support, the Foundation aims to create pathways between supported projects and initiatives and the Veolia Business Units to encourage integration and a long-term return to work.

Multi-year partnerships

Through its multi-year partnerships, the Veolia Foundation supports associations involved with the social and professional reinsertion of the most disadvantaged populations.

The major partnerships are :

  • The Institut Télémaque, an association that works for equal opportunities in education by supporting young people from modest backgrounds from secondary school onwards via a tutoring system;
  • Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y) which sets up training centers in India for extremely vulnerable young people;
  • Solinum, an association dedicated to innovation in social action, in particular through the development of a GPS of essential services for the homeless.

Lulu dans ma rue: local caretaking and maintenance services : The local caretaking service, Lulu dans ma rue, puts those seeking occasional services (minor DIY, deliveries, materials handling, pet sitting, IT assistance, babysitting, etc.) in contact with the relevant service providers. Supported since 2014 by the Veolia Foundation (experimentation phase, opening the first service in Paris in 2015, then development), the association now operates via 11 meeting points (five kiosks and four in-store stands. The economic activity is now well-established. It generates an income for the ‘Lulus’, and it improves the employability of people who were previously outside the job market). Lulu dans ma rue has 320 active ‘Lulus’ working with 17,000 customers. The kiosk has also been recognized as a significant driver of activity in the local area. There have been many requests to open kiosks in other cities in France (Brest, Bordeaux, Toulon, Lille, Grenoble, etc.).

Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y): training centers in India for extremely vulnerable young people.
After the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, Life Project 4 Youth has opened eight Life Projects Centers in India. These entrepreneurship training centers allow extremely vulnerable young people to integrate socially and professionally by creating a micro-business. After supporting the renovation of the Pahar Ganj center in New D
elhi in 2016, the Veolia Foundation has renewed its support in 2018, with Veolia operational teams in India also playing a key role in projects.

Espaces: an association promoting integration for people in difficulty by developing jobs in urban ecology. In the CultiCime project, the Veolia Foundation and the Espaces association deploy Topager market gardening techniques and work together to build a profitable and replicable urban agriculture business model and create back-to-work jobs. Their testing ground: the rooftop of a shopping mall in Aubervilliers (93), transformed into a cultivated area;

Acta Vista (www.actavista.fr): located in Marseille, France, the Acta Vista association, a subsidiary of the SOS group (a leading European social company) promotes the protection and restoration of exceptional sites to encourage professional reintegration. Supported by the Veolia Foundation since 2008, Acta Vista holds professional training and integration workshops on heritage restoration jobs. The people who they support learn a trade in prestigious buildings, with the aim to get back into work long-term. Currently, Acta Vista employs and trains over 350 people a year through an integration contract, with a third under 26, 92% of employees qualified at the end of the course and over 60% finding a job.

Projects to support the transition to work and social cohesion

Beyond these historic partnerships, each year the Veolia Foundation supports various associations and companies working to help the most underprivileged transition to work and to improve neighborhood social cohesion.

In 2020, the Foundation supported 14 projects providing support for the transition to work and social cohesion, such as Aux captifs la libération, L’Ecole des cuistots migrateurs, Couleurs d’Avenir, l’Association Aurore, and the CUCM Nord region.

Zero Long-Term Unemployment Region – Bouffémont Attainville Moisselles

“Zero Long-Term Unemployment Regions” is an innovative scheme to put an end to long-term unemployment. Trialed in January 2017 under a law passed unanimously by the French Parliament in February 2016, it is being piloted in ten regions of 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants thanks to the involvement of several NGOs, including ATD Fourth World, Emmaus France, Secours Catholique, le Pacte Civique and the Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité. The objective is clear: to show that no one is unemployable. In the Bouffémont-Attainville-Moisselles region to the north of Paris in the Val d’Oise, the program will help more than 350 long-term unemployed people.

Extramuros: Upcycling to get back into work

Created in 2007 with the support of Veolia and its Foundation, the company Extramuros is located in Gennevilliers, in a facility next to a Group waste sorting center. Extramuros designs, manufactures and distributes furniture and accessories to companies who are concerned about sustainable purchasing . Alongside qualified insertion professionals, the company recruits, trains and supports people excluded from the job market to help them to independently get their career back on track long-term. This project has achieved success again, after it was selected on November 14, 2018 to produce furniture for the Kinnarps catalog, a European leader in office furniture.

In 2018, the Veolia Foundation has continued its support of the Philharmonie de Paris (Cité de la musique) pledged over three years (€50,000 per year): The DEMOS program launched in 2010 seeks to generalize access to music by creating orchestras made up of 7 to 14 year olds from neighborhoods governed by City Policy, or in rural areas that are distant from workshop venues. Once a month, children from the same area rehearse in a full orchestra. The aim is twofold: to generate an emotion specific to the symphonic work, and on an educational level, to give meaning to the work that has been achieved in small groups. Those rehearsals are a preamble to a public display of what has been learned, delivered in the shape of a performance given inside the prestige setting of the Philharmonie de Paris.

Since 2005, the Veolia Foundation has supported the French Unis-Cité association which offers young people aged between 18 and 25 conducting their voluntary civic service the opportunity to work on projects concerning the fight against exclusion, the restoration of social bonds and environmental protection. The Médiaterre program seeks to provide low-income families with support in changing their behavior by teaching them eco-friendly gestures to reduce their waste, control their water consumption and reduce their bills.

Emmaüs Défi: the Bois des ReCréateurs* workshop enables employees recruited under a professional reinsertion program to familiarize themselves with DIY and joinery activities, in order to discover craft skills and access related training programs and find a proper place in the company.

To encourage student initiatives that serve the community, the Veolia Foundation, in liaison with the Campus/Relations with schools and universities division, has awarded since 2008 the Student Solidarity Award which rewards innovative outreach initiatives led by student associations in France and other parts of the world.

Commit to voluntary actions for local communities

Numerous volunteer campaigns for solidarity initiatives have been undertaken by Veolia employees worldwide. These initiatives focus on the social and environmental issues that are central to the Group’s commitments.

In 2020, while the pandemic curtailed these initiatives, over 3,700 days of volunteering were reported by Veolia employees :

  • In the United Kingdom, Veolia gives each employee one day a year, i.e. 112,000 paid hours, that they can devote to volunteering in support of initiatives that bring positive and lasting change to the community. For example, employees spent 80 hours collecting garbage in the Staffordshire countryside, at Cannock Chase and Penkridge Canal, during the “Great British September Cleanup”, separating recyclable and non-recyclable materials. 
  • In the Czech Republic, Veolia’s STARTER program supports the creation of new long-term jobs in two major regions with the highest unemployment rates. The Veolia Endowment Fund supports projects in the Moravia-Silesia and Olomouc regions, particularly craftindustry projects that bring social benefits to the population. Since 2000, nearly 2,470 jobs have been created, including 380 for people with disabilities. 
  • In Queenstown, New Zealand, 22 Veolia employees joined forces with the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust and devoted one day to reforestation work with native trees and plant species. 
  • In Bulgaria, Veolia is a partner of the NGO HESED (the Health & Social Development Foundation). A cooperation protocol was signed in 2017 for a period of three years with the aim of implementing actions and activities contributing to the social, educational, domestic and cultural development of Roma communities living in the Sofia region. For the third consecutive year, Veolia, through its group of employee volunteers, is working with a total of more than 100 children, aged 3 to 5, in the HESED foundation’s educational centers.
  • Veolia’s Participate Program is a community involvement program for Veolia employees in Australia and New Zealand. Active participation in actions and initiatives aimed at sustainable development and communities is thus encouraged. Each employee has the opportunity to devote one day to these actions and to propose initiatives.
  • Similarly, the Veolia UK Zone offers each employee one day per year that they can volunteer to support their involvement in sustainable, community-focused activities and initiatives that bring about positive and lasting change in our industry and the wider community…

In total, 9,520 man-days were reported in 2019:

  • In Bulgaria, Veolia Sofiyska voda is a partner of the Health and Social Development Foundation, which provides environmental education programs for children of Roma minorities. Volunteers from Veolia Sofiyska voda also took part in the Junior Achievement initiative, a leading organization known for providing innovative and modern education from early childhood to university to generate ideas for the project “Towards innovation and entrepreneurship through raw materials and natural resources”. The event is part of a joint project of Junior Achievement Europe and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology “Raw Materials”. Experts from the company were volunteer to spend a few weekend afternoons with the students, teaching them about circular economy (recycling and using waste as raw materials). In 2019, 100 volunteers were involved.
  • Veolia’s Participate Program is a community involvement program for Veolia employees in Australia and New Zealand. Active participation in actions and initiatives aimed at sustainable development and communities is thus encouraged. Each employee has the opportunity to devote one day to these actions and to propose initiatives.
  • Similarly, the Veolia UK Zone offers each employee one day per year that they can volunteer to support their involvement in sustainable, community-focused activities and initiatives that bring about positive and lasting change in our industry and the wider community.
  • In Colombia, 24 employees in the Tunja region supported the activities of the Entrepreneurship Training Centre, which aims to train people in vulnerable situations and develop their skills to obtain employment. During 2019, more than 300 people were trained.
    More than 10 employees participated in the celebration of Children’s Day and the planting of trees with 100 children from the schools of Matanegra and San José del Gacal located in the municipality of Ventaquemada (Boyacá).
    The employees have participated in cleaning and maintenance actions in the Santander de Sincelejo Park, one of the most important public and tourist spaces in the city, an activity they carry out twice a week.
    Veolia Montería employees carried out the clean-up and supported the plastic collection days on the slopes of the Sinú River. They also participated in the tree planting day in the Ciénaga de Betancí.
    At the inauguration of the Tunja Veolia Cup, 20 employees were present for the logistical support of the event to benefit 600 children with the sporting activity.
  • In France, Eau du Grand Lyon and the Centre Est region volunteered 115 days during La Semaine Solidaire in 2019.
  • In China 938 man-days were devoted to organizing tree-planting activities (Changzhou), participating in voluntary reforestation activities and helping the elderly (Lanzhou, Pudong), Volunteer work in environmental activities on the occasion of World Environment Day organized by the District Committee (Shenzhen) or World Water Day (Urumqi), participation in the National Paralympic Games to ensure the supply of drinking water for sports events (Tianjin Jinbin).
  • In Japan 857 people carried out voluntary environmental and social actions such as cleaning up public spaces or participating in local events: events to support the social reintegration of offenders, cleaning up the surroundings of sites, banks, public parks, forest, beaches, protection and conservation of water sources, Japanese beech woods, banks, flowers and plants in the park.
  • Employees in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and elsewhere participated in clean-up activities…

Managing sustainable procurement

The responsible procurement policy transmits Veolia’s commitments by integrating social and environmental issues in the Group’s processes and in supplier relations management.

Challenges and approach

Our procurement profile

In 2020, total expenditure amounted to €9.979 billion. Veolia’s purchases are highly diversified and mainly fall into the following three areas: 

  • energy and raw materials, locally sourced from domestic players or subsidiaries of international suppliers; 
  • industrial and service subcontracting concerns maintenance, servicing and works for equipment and installations, logistics and waste processing. It is carried out by local and small-scale players (small and medium-sized enterprises, intermediate-sized enterprises, etc.); 
  • industrial equipment and materials and mobile equipment, at the core of the business operations, carried out for the Group’s major customers, represent a significant portion of energy consumption. These purchases are therefore fully costed over the life cycle.

Breakdown of total 2020 external spending(1)

(1) The total spending corresponds to the sum of external spending. Excludes Energy entities in France, Kurion (except Asteralis), the new Waste activities in the Nordic countries, Niger, as well as the France Water capsules, the SEM entities, the international entities of Veolia Industries Global Solutions and SADE, and the joint ventures.

Our responsible procurement policy

The responsible procurement policy seeks to improve the Group’s economic performance, anticipate risks and initiate approaches with suppliers that are responsible and innovative.

The policy has three principles:

  • securing commitment from Group suppliers and assessing their CSR performance;
  • incorporating sustainable development issues into the purchasing process;
  • contributing to the development of the local economy.

* In 2016 and 2017, a strategic supplier is a supplier rated A, with spending in excess of €3 million per year (greater than €2 million in 2016), and/or for which a contract or action plan exists for a Business Unit and/or when the latter has already been assessed. Since 2018, a strategic supplier directly contributes to the Group’s strategy and has a critical role in Veolia industrial processes (industrial equipment, production energies, chemical products, rolling stock and major telecoms & IT operators). It represents a recurring expense at Group or Business Unit level.

Engaging our suppliers

Engaging our suppliers

In relation to regulatory changes and new Group policies, Veolia has reinforced its purchasing compliance program and its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. 

In 2019, Veolia launched a buyer certification program on purchasing compliance, through e-learning developed jointly with the Veolia Campus. This program ended in November 2019. It helped train and certify 370 buyers and 48 Compliance officers. 

Our Supplier charter, updated in March 2019 and available at veolia. com, is always sent during consultations and signed by third parties. It helps engage and make suppliers accountable regarding Veolia purchasing principles and processes, including their supply chain.

In order to prevent risks linked to compliance with ethical rules, employment law and the environment (human rights, child labor, corruption, etc.), specific sustainable development and anti-corruption clauses are included in new contracts or renewed contracts/amendments with suppliers and subcontractors. 

At the end of 2020, 76% of the Group supplier contract database included a sustainable development clause. This clause commits the supplier to: 

  • complying with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; 
  • complying with ethical, social and labor law requirements, particularly all applicable mandatory labor law regulations and International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions: concealed employment, child labor, forced labor, etc.; 
  • complying with the Group’s health and safety prevention policy;
  • complying with regulations concerning the protection of the environment and the implementation of necessary measures to reduce its impact on the environment; 
  • making sure that its own suppliers and sub-contractors comply with the same obligations; 
  • making available and communicating its commitment policy to Veolia.

Evaluating our suppliers 

In 2020, a new Compliance / CSR questionnaire was made mandatory in the bidding phase for suppliers in global risk purchasing categories 3 to 5, according to the risk mapping by purchasing category. This questionnaire contains questions about the supplier’s business and financial information, its certifications, ethics and compliance, and social, environmental and societal aspects. 

In addition, Veolia uses an assessment system to measure the CSR performance of its suppliers. This involves a documentary audit and the consideration of controversies by an independent service provider covering twenty-one criteria across environmental, social (human rights, etc.), ethical (corruption, etc.) and sustainable purchasing issues. These assessments are performed during calls for tenders and through annual campaigns. 

For scores below 25 or no evaluation, a malus is applied in the supplier selection grid and a site visit report is mandatory. For scores above or equal to 45, a bonus must be applied. For suppliers whose score is below 45, the buyer must request a reassessment with a corrective action plan to be implemented by the supplier with the aim of obtaining a score of 45 or above the following year. In the event of an assessment or reassessment with a score below 25 for three consecutive years, the buyer must de-list the supplier until a scorecard of 25 or above is obtained.

The CSR performance of suppliers is taken into account when assessing bids during calls for tenders, with a weighting of 5% to 20%. 

The assessment campaign was considerably improved in 2020, with roll-out in all geographies. Assessments now cover 70% of strategic Group suppliers, but also 435 non-strategic suppliers and 259 level 2 and 3 suppliers. 47% of these suppliers declare they have at least one operating site that is ISO 14001 certified. 

In the second quarter of 2019, the Group implemented an internal site visit report solution to supplement its monitoring system, organized around the main topics  relating to health and safety, the environment and social matters.

Incorporating sustainable development issues into the procurement process

This involves integrating and adopting a risk approach throughout the procurement process.

Taking action from the start of a call for tenders

Compliance with fundamental supplier relationship principles is a selection and assessment criteria and the specific clause is therefore covered by the e-sourcing process at the start of a call (need to put para together)for tenders. By accepting this document, suppliers undertake to comply with the Group’s fundamental principles, together with applicable laws, the purchasing procedures and the Group’s commitments, and, in a process of continued improvement, with Veolia’s corporate social responsibility requirements (application of recommendations issued following assessments, roll-out of corrective action plans if necessary, involvement of their own suppliers and subcontractors in this approach);

In the call for tenders, supplier risks are identified using a risk mapping by purchasing category integrating the following criteria: expense amount, impact on energy consumption, business strategy, as well as CSR criteria consistent with the Risk, Insurance and Internal Control Coordination Department’s risk mapping. Used in operations to manage supplier relations, this mapping allows buyers to identify suppliers in the categories most at risk and launch the necessary risk management actions at the beginning of call for tenders.

Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership

For Veolia, considering the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is one of the best practices for responsible purchasing, as it provides a long-term vision of the economic, environmental and/or social aspects of a purchase, the product being positioned in its environment, through its functionalities and life cycle. The TCO thus integrates supplier innovation and identifies optimization levers.

Prescription solution for the replacement of pumps

To assist operating staff as well as possible and manage the renewal of its pumps, Veolia, in partnership with Greenflex, has developed a prescription solution for this equipment using a TCO approach.

This new solution, deployed in France and for new entities, will cover several equipment categories (pumps, compressors, suppressors, centrifugal systems, etc.) and therefore enable:

  • implementation and energy consumption costs to be simulated for the different pump models;
  • purchasing gains to be generated by calculating the new TCO of the replaced model;
  • energy consumptions savings to be realized (-3,870 MWh for the France scope) and CO2 saved to be calculated in 2021;
  • needs to be refocused on referenced suppliers according to the prescribers’ requirements.

On average and depending on the framework agreements negotiated for Veolia, replaced equipment enables the Group to obtain between 50% and 70% of the total cost of a pump.

Based on these results, this solution will be progressively roll-out internationally.

These results and the compatibility of an improved environmental footprint with the economic gains achieved, confirm the relevance of total cost analysis.

Environmental performance of purchases

Environmental performance is systematically taken into account when selecting suppliers and is reflected by numerous efficiency program strategies. 

For the Purchasing departments, these major issues have the following points in common: 

  • reduction in CO2 emissions; 
  • lower energy consumption; 
  • introduction of new alternative energies; 
  • systematic inclusion of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership); 
  • roll-out of asset management solutions; 
  • integration of new circular economy models. 

These new projects allow the optimal integration of supplier innovations and therefore new optimization levers to be activated. 

VEGA Move, the Group’s mobility program 

For several years, the Group has set an ambitious CO2 emissions reduction policy for its vehicle fleet of 20% clean vehicles by 2025. The main actions to green the fleet involve a ban on diesel for service vehicles and company cars and the introduction of hybrid or electric models in each vehicle category. 

The Group’s mobility program also includes new offers around carpooling and car sharing (Klaxit), an electric bike offer for employees (Zenride), eco-driving applications and the launch of new offers for electric vehicle charging stations. This program also encompasses the modernization and optimization of the truck fleet. In 2020, 8.3% of new chassis are clean trucks (compressed natural gas, hydrotreated vegetable oil). 

Solar panel offer

In 2020, the Group signed a partnership for the roll-out of solar panels at Veolia sites in France. This offer comprises several phases (study, installation, operation) and involves panels manufactured in France. It targets all types of site managed by Veolia (wastewater treatment facilities, pumping stations, sorting centers, incinerators, technical landfill sites, administrative buildings, etc.). 

Savings linked to Energy Savings Certificates (ESC)

Within the France scope, the Veolia Purchasing Department actively promotes energy efficiency with energy consumers, both for its own use and that of local authorities, professionals or households: 

  • raising operator awareness to anticipate equipment renewal; 
  • sustainably reducing energy consumption and increasing efficiency; 
  • making savings in energy purchases and equipment purchases; 
  • systematizing ESC collection and recovery. 

For this purpose, in February 2017, Veolia signed an agreement with Greenflex, an energy performance consultancy firm and subsidiary of the TOTAL group (regulated operator).

Some figures: 

  • during the year, the energy certificate program once again reflected the policy to replace energy-intensive equipment and enabled cumulative savings of 1,581 GWhc;
  • amount of energy saved: 1,304 GWh (updated aggregate); 
  • €1.4 million in ESC bonuses in 2019; 
  • 81 cases eligible for the energy savings certificates system in 2019.

Acting at every stage of the procurement process

The stages of the procurement process downstream of requirements specification (from qualification to monitoring to contract management) are also subject to CSR initiatives vis-à-vis our suppliers.

Contributing to the development of the local economy

Encouraging use of the sheltered and supported employment sector

As part of the France Water business partnership with the GESAT network (1) (disability strategies), the Group Purchasing Departments have adopted since 2013 an approach that promotes purchasing from the protected workers sector (signed supported employment (ESAT)/ protected workshop (EA) contracts, use of a search engine by category and region, awareness campaigns with purchase requesters, etc.). In 2020, purchase expenditure, excluding VAT, in the protected workers sector totaled €8.7 million for the France scope. This expenditure is down year-on-year due to the non-negligible impact of Covid on purchases.

Since 2019, the Purchasing Department contributes to calculating the Group’s socio-economic footprint, enabling a better understanding of Veolia’s impact on its supply chain. For 2019 Purchases, nearly 286,000 indirect jobs were supported in the supply chain and GDP of €13.3 billion was generated. For the same purchasing base, an average of 82.4% of purchases were local.

(1) GESAT: Association created in 1982 to promote the protected and adapted employment sector and support economic players in their relations with
this sector.

Provide ongoing access to essential services

In 2020, the Group provides drinking water to 95 million people, wastewater treatment services to nearly 62 million people, waste collection services to 40 million people, and supplies heating to close to 7.4 million people worldwide.

Proactive in every region where it operates, the Group has developed various solutions adapted to local contexts to ensure access for all to quality services (Access expertise). By working with local authorities to develop new means of access and payment, Veolia advocates policies for people experiencing difficulties or excluded from the system and/or the most disadvantaged districts.

Challenges and commitments

Alongside its contracting authorities or partners and its industrial clients, Veolia is committed to ensuring ongoing access to the essential services of water, waste management and energy.

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia adopted the following commitment and 2020 objective in 2015.

As part of its Purpose and its Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia is committed to supporting the development of the regions in a responsible manner.

This commitment can be broken down into several objectives, including that of providing and maintaining access to water and sanitation services for communities that are vulnerable or not living close to these services. To illustrate its commitment, the Group has set a target for 2023 of increasing by 12% the number of people benefiting from these inclusive schemes.

The sponsor of this objective is Olivier Brousse, member of the Executive Committee and Director of Strategy and Innovation.

(3) The typology of inclusive schemes includes: 

  • schemes related to the price of water: social tariffs, etc. 
  • bill payment assistance schemes to respond to consumers’ financial difficulties: payment plans, debt remission, water vouchers, etc. 
  • technical solutions to promote access to water: social connection programmes, infrastructure, etc. 

The indicator is calculated on the basis of consumer reporting (number of subscribers), to which a conversion coefficient is applied to determine the number of people benefiting (number of people per household – source UNDESA).

A major contribution to Sustainable Development Goals

Veolia plays an active role in implementing objectives defined by the international community. While its contribution now includes other business areas and expertise, access to and maintenance of essential services remains a major factor in the Group’s strategy.

Since 2000 and the definition of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Group has provided 10.7 million people with access to drinking water and 4.5 million with access to sanitation services in emerging and developing countries, specifically through its social outreach programs in Africa and Latin America.

Since the implementation of the SDGs in 2015, the Group has provided 5.6 million people with access to drinking water, and 2 million people with access to sanitation services. In 2020, 575,000 people gained access to drinking water, and 72,000 to sanitation(1).

(1) Providing new access to drinking water and sanitation systems includes distribution and new production/treatment units, without final distribution, in 12 countries with limited access, where Veolia works to provide access to these services. For distribution, data is obtained from the number of connections by Veolia, multiplied by the average number of people per household as estimated by INED (French National Institute of Demographic Studies). For production plants, the number of people with access to drinking water is estimated from the volumes produced, the average water network yield observed by Veolia in 2019 and the average consumption ratio observed locally. For treatment plants, the number of people is estimated from plant treatment capacities and the average wastewater production ratio per person observed locally. The number of inhabitants supplied with wastewater treatment services is calculated according to the same principle, using the capacity of wastewater treatment plants in terms of population equivalents when wastewater is collected by a third party.

To encourage the implementation of the SDGs, Veolia is also involved in innovative partnerships to respond more effectively to problems with accessing essential services. The Group is forming new alliances, which rely on complementary expertise and help to deal with problems which it could not have tackled alone.

The Toilet Board Coalition 

Since 2018, Veolia has been a member of the Toilet Board Coalition, a multi-stakeholder platform which aims to provide as many people as possible with access to sanitation services (SDG 6). This platform links up multinationals, entrepreneurs, public institutions and NGOs to identify initiatives and solutions to accelerate the sanitation economy and significantly impact this market and society. The collaboration between Veolia and the Toilet Board Coalition focuses on the deployment of decentralized solutions complementary to existing systems, to develop access to toilets, and improve the performance of centralized systems. Business partnerships are being studied in Africa.

Veolia and Suez selected to design and operate the drinking water treatment plant in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka

Press release 16 May, 2017

Press release 16 May, 2017

New offers contributing to the SDGs

In 2017 VEOLIA and ODIAL SOLUTIONS launched a comprehensive drinking water and electricity supply offer for people in urban and rural Africa. The comprehensive VEOLIA / ODIAL SOLUTIONS project is designed to compensate for this territorial divide by promoting water and electricity projects covering both urban and rural areas. The combination makes it possible to equalize prices between areas. Although the model requires a small financial effort to be made by the urban areas, it makes the cost of a litre of water and a kilowatt-hour far more accessible for people in rural areas. VEOLIA and ODIAL SOLUTIONS’ joint program marks the total commitment of the two groups to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the leaders of all the United Nations member states in September 2015. More specifically, it meets the clean water and sanitation goal (SDG 6), the affordable and clean energy goal (SDG 7) and the partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). In 2016 VEOLIA and ODIAL SOLUTIONS completed a joint project in Niger for 128 small-scale drinking water networks equipped with solar pumps.

Develop systems for access to services adapted to the local context

Some groups of people have difficulty accessing or maintaining the services provided by Veolia, which are crucial for health and development. This can be for financial reasons (high initial connection costs, cost of work required for connection or difficulties in paying the subscription), or administrative, linguistic or physical reasons (remoteness, elderly persons, etc.).

As a result, Veolia works with delegating authorities, partners and industrial clients to provide long-term access to essential services and to develop locally adapted solutions.

Access to crucial services

Giving everyone access to high-quality services through the ACCES approach 

The Group has developed a set of solutions tailored to the local context, ensuring everyone has access to high-quality services. ACCES expertise (technical, financial, institutional, or societal engineering) is a good example of Veolia’s strategy and commitment. It is broken down into three areas: 

  • technical engineering: providing as many people as possible with access to the same resource and infrastructure, and proposing new distribution methods; 
  • financial and institutional engineering: implementing socially acceptable price policies, increasing individual subsidized connections, developing new social Research and Innovation models, seeking innovative funding and approaching backers; 
  • social and customer relations engineering: developing local customer services and mediation solutions, promoting suitable service use to optimize benefits, evaluating the impacts on quality of life, developing partnerships and co-creating new solutions.

These solutions, initially developed for water access in Africa, have now been rolled out to all countries and services. Veolia is particularly in favor of targeted policies for more disadvantaged populations and/or districts. 

In developing and emerging countries, years of working with local public authorities have proven that Veolia is reliable, effective and creative and can help them develop and implement ambitious policies to effectively achieve the MDGs and SDGs. The Group has worked with numerous municipalities in these countries under contracts with specific goals and incentives to extend access to and maintain services. 

With “Eau pour tous”, public authorities support all service users 

In developed countries, the Group is also mindful of access to services for the poorest populations, as well as for people in situations of financial uncertainty and the homeless. In France, its solidarity program enables public authorities to open up local community initiatives to all service users. It is designed to complement social or fair pricing and combines three types of assistance: 

  • emergency solutions to maintain access to water services by offering different forms of financial assistance appropriate to the individual’s situation, such as payment schedules, debt writeoff and water vouchers; 
  • support services to help people manage their consumption and budget in the long term; 
  • prevention solutions to alert users to unusual over-consumption. 

The Group’s approach is based on shared responsibility between different service stakeholders: the public authority, the service operator and the user. It allows each person to exercise their rights and do their duty: 

  • the users’ right to assistance and equal treatment, and their duty to control their consumption; 
  • the operator’s duty to provide information and commit to offering effective solutions; 
  • the public authority’s duty to tackle exclusion. 

Through its “Eau pour tous” program, Veolia Water France contributed €3.2 million of emergency aid in 2019 through the housing solidarity funds and the grant of water vouchers. These initiatives directly concerned over 20,000 beneficiaries via debt waivers and the payment of funds.

  • In China in 2020, more than 11,000 low-income or extremely poor households in the cities of Lanzhou, Changzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming and Haikou benefited from low-cost or free drinking water services. 
  • In Colombia, the “La Pollita II Raised Reservoir” project was designed by Veolia Sabana and the Municipal Authority and financed with resources from the national government’s General Revenues System, which allocates revenues from the exploitation of nonrenewable natural resources to projects with a major social impact. The reservoir can hold 8 million liters of drinking water and supplies 90% of Sincelejo’s urban area 24 hours a day. This reservoir is the second largest raised reservoir in Colombia and ensures excellent service continuity. It also guarantees quality of service during peak consumption times.
  • In India, through local public policies, over 2,300,000 people in the country benefit from support schemes for access to and maintenance of drinking water services. In Nagpur, under the national slum development program, specific actions for slum dwellers are carried out in favor of sanitary hygiene, education, skills development training and other awareness programs such as the preservation of natural resources. In Nangloi, the Social Welfare Team, a community liaison team, informs residents directly about drinking water connection conditions (first cubic meters free of charge) and raises awareness about resource preservation. 
  • In Morocco, since 1999, REDAL has been implementing a social welfare policy aimed at accelerating and extending access to services by the population across the entire scope of the Rabat-Salé region’s delegated management contract. The welfare connections are intended for households meeting specific social welfare criteria, offering a lump-sum payment and flexible payment terms over several years. They are initially defined and managed through agreements with the delegating authority. At the end of 2020, over 110,000 welfare connections had been provided for drinking water and sanitation. 
  • Also in Morocco, with the launch of the National Human Development Initiative (INDH) in 2005, and the signing of a framework agreement in 2006 in the presence of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, describing the principles of the program to provide universal access to water and wastewater services, Veolia Amendis is developing its welfare connections programs. By the end of 2020, over 120,000 households had been equipped in Tangier and Tetouan within the scope of the delegated management contract. The improved coverage rate is largely due to the proactive policy pursued by Amendis and its delegating authority to provide welfare connections through partnership agreements with the various municipalities, provincial councils and prefecture.

The French Inclusive Business Group 

Veolia is a member of the French Inclusive Business Group, launched in December 2018 to develop access to essential products and services, as well as training and employment. As part of this, Veolia committed to accelerating the deployment of Water Checks in partnership with public authorities.

Maintaining and organizing services

Throughout the world, services delivered daily by Veolia meet the essential needs of populations. More than ever, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the fundamental nature of these businesses. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, while many countries rolledout exceptional measures to slow its spread, Veolia activated its continuity plan for each country and business. Objective: guarantee both the continuation and quality of services and employee safety. 

  • To ensure employee safety, and in particular the safety of older employees, and minimize their exposure to Covid-19, Veolia conducted a vast campaign in Nagpur, India, to promote the use of digital tools to pay water bills and communicate widely on services. 
  • In Tangier and Tetouan in Morocco, Veolia implemented measures to help consumers deal with difficulties relating to Covid-19. Vulnerable customers paying social tariffs were, for example, automatically provided an additional payment period and digital tools were made available to facilitate access to key services.
  • In the Montevideo II district of Villa del Rosario in Colombia, Veolia supported a local citizen education and prevention group to supply drinking water to dozens of families in Covid-19 quarantine. 
  • In Armenia, some consumers who live below the poverty line and who have technical or financial difficulties in accessing and maintaining water or sanitation services, receive discounts on the price of the service. This unusual year due to the pandemic has affected not only business activities but also the financial situation of the population. In recognition of the role of doctors and medical centers in combating the pandemic, Veolia Djur decided to offer special terms and conditions to nine medical centers providing treatment to those with the illness. These medical centers were not required to pay for the water they consumed in March and April 2020. 
  • In Bucharest, Romania, Veolia has set up schemes to address consumers’ financial difficulties in obtaining a new connection or paying their water bills. Through two welfare funds set up in collaboration with the Municipality of Bucharest, disadvantaged people get help for the laying or repair of connections, or with paying their bills (water vouchers or discounts on bills).

Participate in the development of decentralised water access solutions.

In February 2021, Veolia signed a strategic partnership with the NGO 1001fontaines, Accenture and Danone Communities. The objective of this collaboration is to accelerate the development of decentralised water access solutions and contribute to the achievement of the MDG 6 on access to drinking water. Indeed, it is estimated that around 2 billion people still do not have access to drinking water, including a significant proportion in rural areas in developing countries.
The challenge of this four-way partnership is to support 1001fontaines in structuring a sustainable and viable economic model that will enable it to replicate its action in new geographical areas and to contribute to providing equitable, high-quality and sustainable access to water. Veolia is providing technical support by mobilising its social engineering expertise, its “Research and Development“ teams specialising in water treatment, and the Veolia Foundation for its knowledge of decentralised water treatment in an emergency context.
The partnership has already shown concrete results in 2021 with the conceptualization of a new model of water treatment solution called “kiosk 2.0“ which will be essential in reaching 1001fontaines’ goals in Cambodia and worldwide, namely to reach 8 million beneficiaries by 2030. Veolia has also supported 1001fontaines on other structural projects for the NGO, in particular the creation of a consortium of development players to develop a low-carbon water treatment sector as part of the France Relance plan..

Smart meters to better manage a budget and improve access by the most disadvantaged groups 

The issue of the cost of access to water is a daily challenge for the most vulnerable populations. Veolia has got together with the startup City Taps, which has developed a unique pre-payment solution including a smart meter. Customers can pay for water in advance using their mobile phone, for a set amount or depending on what they can afford: 1 m3, 2 m3, 10 m3 or more. This solution allows the household to better manage its budget, and thanks to the mobile solution it can be deployed easily and widely in African countries. The service was tested first in Niamey, Niger with Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger customers using 200 meters. The objective by 2020 is to extend the project and allow around 100,000 people in Niamey to access water at home. 

In France, Veolia is a leading partner of PIMMS 

It is crucial to have access to drinking water and energy to be able to live and work with dignity. Veolia believes it has a leading role to play to help users in difficulty who are in a vulnerable situation or have even lost access to public services. That is why the Group took part in the creation of the PIMMS system (Multi-service information and mediation point), alongside other major public service operators. The PIMMS concept consists of facilitating access to public services for people in a given area and preventing problems, thanks to mediation staff who offer users support, explanations (about topics such as day-to-day processes, billing arrangements and access to Internet services) and advice (on matters such as managing a family budget and controlling energy consumption). 

The Socias Gestoras program in Mexico 

In Mexico, the Veolia subsidiary Compagnie des eaux d’Aguascalientes (CAASA) has launched the “Socias Gestoras” program. This initiative relies on women from the local community who visit users who cannot make payments, informing them about existing systems and proposing solutions, such as bill discounts, staggered payments or specific aid. The “Socias Gestoras” program reflects the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; it encourages access to essential services, contributes to local development and helps integrate women in difficult situations. These single mothers, who are heads of households, are involved in an empowering activity which generates an income. This program is in collaboration with a local association, Civile Tlanemani.

Colombia: the “Mi isla limpia” program 

In Cartagena, Colombia, Veolia has developed the “Mi isla limpia” program, focusing on the technical, environmental and social problems specific to waste management in this isolated area. Collections on foot or by electric scooter, as well as the establishment of temporary storage zones, provide fair access to waste collection services for 3,800 people. In addition, different programs have helped raise awareness amongst 2,500 people in the Cartagena region and 6,000 tourists of the environment and waste management.

Our Access expertise

The Group has developed a community development methodology, Access, applicable to all of its businesses, combining technical, financial and legal innovations and specialized communication and marketing techniques. It can be divided into ten strands across three fields: technical engineering, financial and institutional engineering, and community development and client relations.

Access Engineering

Technical engineering

ACCESS I

Use existing resources and infrastructure to serve more people

Our primary objective consists of using existing infrastructure as efficiently as possible.

This includes infrastructure such as water production and wastewater treatment plants, water distribution and wastewater networks and reservoirs. In particular, there are specific plans to reduce water losses caused by leaks from water distribution networks to improve output. In water-stressed areas, this makes it possible to serve more people using the same infrastructure, while reducing the amount of water extracted from the natural environment per capita.

In 2005, in India, the World Bank and the Indian Government selected Veolia to conduct a project in the state of Karnataka in India to prove the feasibility of providing a pilot test area comprising four municipalities with a continuous supply of water, without increasing the strain on natural resources. The optimization of existing infrastructure made it possible to double the number of people connected to water services in just four years, while reducing resource withdrawal by more than 16%. Based on the same principle of reducing leaks and renovating the network, Veolia obtained other contracts (Bangalore and Bijapur in 2012, Ilkal and Nangloi in 2013).

In Tetouan in Morocco, Veolia succeeded in reducing water withdrawal by as much as 18% while delivering 18% more water between 2002 (when the contract began) and 2009 (when the threshold of 80% network efficiency was achieved). This made it possible to serve 59% more clients while preserving water resources.

ACCESS II

Propose new methods of providing regulated and secure services

When individual access to drinking water is impossible (in urban slums, illegal or non-viable areas), communal standpipes provide an alternative solution that Veolia can implement for public authorities. Examples can be found in countries such as India, Niger, Ecuador, Morocco and Colombia.

To prevent some of the problems that may occur in urban environments, such as abusive consumption of free water by contractors and other groups for which the water is not intended, as well as long lines and the resale of water at prohibitively high prices, Veolia offers municipal authorities solutions to control the amount of water distributed by the communal standpipes while continuing to make it affordable for the poorest populations.

For this purpose, Veolia has developed a pre-paid communal standpipe system that limits access to people who have a special key equipped with a computer chip. This solution allows the authorities to offer a pre-paid fixed price to a population requiring access to inexpensive or even free water. For more information.

In Colombia, collective supply points, pilas publicas are set up for a transitional period in areas under construction where individual connections are not yet possible. Families come to collect water, and a representative from the local authority is responsible for collecting money from them in order to pay the service provider for the monthly water bill.

In Niger, Veolia pursued its drinking water access program in 2017 (400 communal standpipes and 24,000 subsidized connections to be set up) for around 350,000 people.

Financial and institutional engineering

ACCESS III

Implement socially acceptable pricing policies

Only public authorities are able to set prices for public services and Veolia never sets rates itself.

The principle that “water pays for water” observed in OECD countries is unrealistic for most emerging countries, as the investment required is too costly for service users to bear alone. In these countries, total cost recovery from the client must be replaced with that of acceptable cost recovery. For each contract, Veolia can be proactive and take a stance in support of targeted policies that improve access to services for the most disadvantaged populations. The Group enters into contracts that fall under the established policy of governments and municipal authorities that support these aims. There are various models in existence.

a. Tiered pricing according to usage and the type of user (or cross-subsidies): this provides a solution that promotes social equity for populations, political acceptance of the project and a return on investment for the operator.

In Ecuador, a mass campaign to connect the poorest neighborhoods of Guayaquil, situated on the outskirts of the city, to drinking water and wastewater services was facilitated by a mechanism that takes a higher contribution from major consumers (in the industrial and commercial sector, among others), to the benefit of low-income populations.

b. Social pricing: a subsidy enables the rate charged to be lowered, either on a case-by-case basis for low-income users, or for an entire neighborhood; debt forgiveness is another proposed solution.

In Ecuador in 2010, Veolia established social pricing in Guayaquil (US$0.10 per m3 instead of US$0.55), capped at 30m3 (this ceiling contributes to rationalizing water consumption), targeting low-income users and in accordance with the conditions set by the Ecuadorian authorities. This represents a subsidy of 82% of the rate, benefitting 12,000 users. Another initiative in 2010 was the introduction of a massive program of debt reduction in relation to drinking water services for about 5,000 users in extreme poverty, along with flexible payment options aimed at people in difficulty. Eligibility is determined by the local government. Nearly 40,000 subscribers benefit from flexible payment options.

In Colombia, for essential services (domestic usage – water – waste – energy), the law categorizes the city neighborhoods into six socioeconomic categories, each of them associated with a different rate band (number one: the most disadvantaged and number six: the most well-off), with band four serving as a benchmark. Pricing is therefore established as follows:

  • Band 1: pays 30% of the benchmark rate
  • Band 2: pays 60 % of the benchmark rate
  • Band 3: pays 85 % of the benchmark rate
  • Band 4: pays 100 % of the benchmark rate
  • Band 5: pays 150 % of the benchmark rate
  • Band 6: pays 160 % of the benchmark rate

Industries and commercial businesses pay 130% and 150% of the benchmark rate respectively. Given that the books must ultimately balance for the fiscal year, transfers of national and local funds may complement the subsidies. This system enables a certain level of equity with regard to access to services.

In 2008 in France, Veolia launched its Water Solidarity program called “Eau pour tous“, that helps people who are temporarily or consistently having difficulty paying their water bill, particularly when the bill exceeds 3% of their financial resources. Emergency assistance and prevention fund serves to assist the most disadvantaged households so that they can benefit from a lower cost of service through debt write-off or subventions. Working with french local administrations, Veolia has distributed in 2017 over 2.5 millions euros to vulnerable people. 

 

In 2018, the “Eau pour tous” program enables nearly €3.1 million of emergency aid to be made available through housing solidarity funds and the allocation of water vouchers (or a personalized support voucher). The program provides emergency solutions to maintain access to water services by offering different forms of financial assistance appropriate to the individual’s situation, such as payment schedules, debt writeoff and water vouchers.
Veolia’s contribution to these solidarity funds is as follows : 

  • contribution to communal social action centers (water vouchers) : 17,366 applications accepted for an amount of €1,895,000;
  • contribution to the fund “Fonds Solidarité Logement” (Housing solidarity fund − FSL):  8,066 FSL files accepted corresponding to debt waivers of €1,233,000.

 

Water Solidarity program in Ile de France

 

In China, various mechanisms have been set up. Since 2015, the city of Changzhou has provided Veolia with a six-monthly list of low-income individuals eligible for subsidized services (7 m3/household and per month). Veolia then ensures that these people are properly connected to the public water supply. In Liuzhou, each member of a low-income family receives at no charge 3 m3 of water per month (12 m3 per household in Shenzhen).

 

Thus, in China, social assistance mechanisms for the most vulnerable populations are implemented on municipal contracts. In the cities of Liuzhou, Changzhou, Lanzhou, Kunming, Haikou, Shenzhen in particular, the most modest households, isolated people or people with disabilities, benefit from preferential rates or free access to drinking water. In 2018 as in 2017, more than 19,000 households received 170,000 euros in social assistance, representing 92% of users.

c. Progressive pricing:

When it renewed its contract for the operation of public water services, the communauté d’agglomération de Perpignan (Perpignan inter-municipal partnership), in France, also made solidarity a priority.  Local authorities in Perpignan, Bompas, Canohès and Le Soler have chosen to introduce a progressive pricing system where the first 60 cubic meters used are billed at a third of the cost of subsequent cubic meter consumption.

In Morocco, at the request of the authorities, Veolia has implemented a pricing structure that enables water and electricity consumed below a specified threshold to be purchased for less than the price the Group is charged by the national producers. For water, this special low rate is available for up to 40 liters per person per day, which is twice the amount that the United Nations estimates is necessary to meet basic needs.

In China, a preferential rate system for water services was set up (in Kunming, Haikou, etc.) for low-income households: the first consumption band (5.5 or 6 m3 per household and per month) is billed at a tariff well below the standard water rate (around 50%), with any further consumption being billed at the standard rate.

d. Prepayment: some households in emerging countries are not accustomed to planning their spending in the medium term (on a weekly or monthly basis); the payment of a bill at the end of the month for a service that is consumed on a day-to-day basis therefore represents a heavy burden. Furthermore, the failure of households to monitor consumption may give them the impression that the bill is unjustifiably or even abusively high, which can make them hostile toward public services or the public service concession operator.

The issue of the cost of access to water is a daily challenge for the most vulnerable populations. Due to their irregular income, it is often difficult to pay a monthly water bill. Veolia has got together with the start-up City Taps, which has developed a unique prepayment solution including a smart meter. Customers can pay for water in advance using their mobile phone, for a set amount or depending on what they can afford: 1 m3, 2 m3… 10 m3 or more. This solution allows the household to better manage its budget, and thanks to the mobile solution it can be deployed easily and widely in African countries. The service was tested in Niamey, Niger with Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger customers using 200 meters. In 2018, 1,300 additional meters were installed, covering 10,000 people. By 2020, 100,000 people could benefit from the service through 10,000 connections.

e. Stabilizing the price of the service

In Varna, Bulgaria, this formula helps in fighting the risk of fuel poverty due to a continued rise in energy costs. As inhabitants benefit in the long-term from a stable energy price, a commitment made by Veolia thanks to savings from plant optimization, they have fewer issues with paying their bills and benefit from advice on obtaining subsidies to renovate buildings (insulation, fairer distribution of energy in shared living spaces, etc.). An effective solution: the proportion of unpaid bills has reduced by half.

ACCESS IV

Promote subsidized individual connections

Reducing the cost of service for consumers is insufficient if households are not connected to a public water network As the costs to establish connections to individual homes in emerging countries are discouraging, Veolia offers subsidized connection programs with innovative financing arrangements designed in partnership with contracting authorities. These programs may comprise, for example, credit facilities tailored to the individual, the use of local revenue, and pioneering financing solutions in partnership with national and international development organizations. Furthermore, the Group has also rolled out new services intended for low-income clients and undertaken measures to expand subsidized connections and monitor their progress.

The work carried out in Morocco demonstrates the Group’s commitment. The public service concession contracts that Veolia signed with the Moroccan cities of Rabat, Tangier and Tetouan in 2002 had the ultimate objective of serving all households. A goal which had an impact on the projected cost of services. In 2005, when the government of Morocco decided to make access to basic services one of the priorities of its National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD), Veolia and its contracting authorities discovered that the burden to households under the contracts was too demanding. They therefore signed an agreement to undertake an NIHD connection program with suitable pricing for the lowest-income households. New objectives, a new business plan and new funding to make access to drinking water and sanitation affordable for all were generated by taking advantage of industrial and real estate momentum in these regions and through cross-subsidies from the operation of water, wastewater and energy services. An investment program amounting to nearly €200 million was thus defined to connect some 80,000 families. In Tangier, 9% of eligible families applied for an NIHD subsidized connection. One year after the system was installed in their neighborhood, the associated payment collection rate was 97%, thereby showing the importance of this type of “contractual engineering” and making sure that prices are properly aligned with local incomes.

Many of our contracts contain incentive measures. In India (Nangloi Water Services contract), a subsidy is granted for any new connections (100 rupees per m2 of living space), or a discount is offered if any illegal connections are dismantled. Thus in 2018, 1.2 million people were concerned by the 2.2 million euros in subsidies or free of charge distributed.

ACCESS V

Develop new models for research and social innovation

The Group has fostered the emergence of innovation for years. This is a desire that was recently highlighted by the establishment of the Innove team, attached to the Development, Innovation and Markets Department. Its mission? Initiate new small-scale projects and draw lessons applicable to the rest of the Group’s business activities. A few examples:

  • the set-up of incubators (Pop Up approach);
  • the social business experiment on access to water conducted by Veolia in Bangladesh in partnership with the economist Mohammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize;
  • the direct dialogue models that Veolia is developing with consumers in France to reduce energy consumption;
  • the innovation introduced into our contracts, particularly those where the location requires us to rethink our usual operating methods, such as forms of contracts, cross-subsidies, etc. Many contracts include, for example, the management of shanty towns fused to the traditional municipal networks and the management of run-down condominiums requiring plumbing works in order to limit water losses.

A social business experience

The partnership with Grameen Healthcare Service, a subsidiary of Grameen Bank, is Veolia’s first social business project. Instigated in Bangladesh in 2008, its objective is to provide drinking water to poor rural populations in areas where groundwater naturally contains large amounts of arsenic. Ten years after its creation, the Grameen-Veolia Water joint venture continues to expand its network of communal standpipes and individual water connections in the rural villages of Goalmari and Padua. The partnership applies the social business principles established by its founder, Mohammad Yunus, to the provision of drinking water, adapting market economy mechanisms to the poorest populations to provide sustainable solutions rather than excluding them by offering charity or short-term subsidies. In accordance with the principles of social business, the profits generated by the sale of drinking water are all reinvested to develop the project and the business.

Since its launch, the project has been adapted to take into account the specific social and cultural context of the local area. Beliefs, rituals and religious symbols associated with water have hampered the social acceptability of the water distribution service put in place.

In 2010, the project began to stall. After exploring the obstacles encountered and establishing appropriate action plans, Grameen Veolia Water saw consumption increase once again. In order to achieve the anticipated economic balance more quickly, in 2011, Grameen Veolia Water decided to use its plant in Goalmari to produce large demijohn bottles of water for less underprivileged clients. The money earned from this finances the development of the rural area project. In 2017, the company supplied a drinking water network with 150 outlets in rural areas for 7,500 inhabitants.

Global Water Summit 2017, Madrid: promote the emergence of a new model for access to water services

Veolia took part in the 11th Global Water Summit, which brought together over 500 business leaders, public service managers and investors to discuss the key role of water in the growth of the sustainable economy. In the closing ministerial session, a new model for access to water services, proposed by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water 2014-2016, was examined. Veolia contributed to the white paper published for this event.

ACCESS VI

Seek out innovative financing, solicit donors.

Veolia’s business activities require significant infrastructure investment.

Electricity business activities are twice as capital intensive as telephony, and water activities are 12 times as capital intensive. Figures which explain the lack of infrastructure development that has accumulated in numerous southern hemisphere countries. In Africa, more people own a cell phone than are connected to a drinking water network. Traditional methods of funding prevent this development lag being made up, particularly with regard to wastewater services.

Innovative financing tools are absolutely key to providing access to services. The Group therefore supports multilateral donors’ general application of performance-based(1) assistance for development. Its principle? Gradually pay out a grant as measurable and verifiable objectives are achieved on the ground, as determined by an independent audit. Investments are initially financed by the operator, the gradual disbursement of funds providing an incentive to achieve program objectives quickly and in compliance with specifications. An approach which engages the private sector in financing projects to provide access to services.

In Morocco, a year before the projected connection program came to an end, Veolia’s subsidiary Amendis Tanger had completed enough connections to receive the full amount of the grant it had been allocated by the World Bank. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the proactive policy introduced by Veolia to expand the provision of water and wastewater services.

Veolia is also seeking to multiply its partnerships with private investors (infrastructure and private equity funds) in order to best distribute funding efforts and operational risks (AssetCo/Opco scheme). This is the case for the contract with the city of Rialto (USA), where Veolia is a partner of Table Rock Capital (TRC) for the funding of a program to improve water treatment and wastewater systems.

Furthermore, the delay in development of infrastructure in southern hemisphere countries requires the organization of alliances with the greatest possible number of stakeholders, particularly from the private sector. Veolia is therefore creating alliances with global and local companies, which, though traditionally far removed from issues relating to essential services, are showing an interest in contributing to access to basic services for populations who are their clientele.

 

(1)cf. Gpoba, Global partnership for output-based aid http://www.gpoba.org/

Social engineering and customer relations

ACCESS VII

Develop accessible customer services and mediation solutions

Veolia’s business activity serves the areas in which it operates and their inhabitants. Whether it is working in Niger, Romania or India, the company must provide users with accessible resources and services that are tailored to comply with the specific characteristics of their living environment as well as the social, cultural and economic context. Veolia must meet the expectations of its clients and offer solutions – whether traditional or innovative, physical or conceptual – for its users, so that they can access services (e.g. Latin America), stay informed and manage their consumption (client meetings, websites, mobile applications, etc.).

For populations that are physically and economically removed from services, Veolia goes out to users and works with them on the development and maintenance of public services (mobile offices, “water friends” and the social well-being team in India, etc.). Veolia also conducts mediation, a differentiating component of its strategy, through partnerships with stakeholders in the area from the business world or civil society who are as close as possible to local populations in order to identify any weak signals, anticipate any potential hindrances in access to services, raise awareness and inform and support users (PIMMS, VoisinMalin, Unis-Cité, etc.).

In Latin America, in response to requests from politicians, Veolia set up dedicated community management departments in charge of implementing systems to provide water and wastewater services to people in disadvantaged neighborhoods, who can make up almost half of the local population. The service provision depends on the type of neighborhood: for example, tanker trucks and communal standpipes are used in undeveloped suburban areas, while individual connections are installed in neighborhoods that are undergoing development. In this way, almost all of the several hundred thousand people who live in the areas served by Veolia have the minimum recommended access to safe drinking water at a socially acceptable price.

In Nagpur, India, the arrival of a private-sector operator developing a project with the goal of providing water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and pricing in proportion to consumption raised some issues, including concerns about billing for the service, people’s ability to pay and the operator’s precise intentions. Building on the enthusiastic support of the first people to benefit from a connection to the public water system, some of whom volunteered to promote the new service, Veolia established a social well-being team to approach the most vulnerable consumers. This team, dedicated solely to relationships with slum areas, supports each major stage of the works to lay drinking water pipes. These water ambassadors (“water friends”) provide the link between the operator and the inhabitants of the slums, by explaining the project to future users, providing them with useful information on issues such as the respective responsibilities of the public and private sectors, everyday benefits and the information resources at their disposal, as well as responding to questions and concerns in their own words. In Nangloi, this network was also set up at the beginning of the contract.

Mobile sales offices in informal residential or rural areas

Informal residential areas that have been recently connected to public drinking water supply systems are often far from sales offices. The people who live in these neighborhoods generally have no bank account and sometimes make several long trips back and forth between government agencies to request a connection, obtain information or pay bills. As a result, some families give up.

To solve this problem, Veolia developed the concept of a mobile agency: a bus equipped as a sales office connected in real time to client management tools. These mobile agencies move around the districts, informing clients in advance of the bus routes and schedules planned by the public authorities to coincide with local events and gatherings, such as markets. These mobile offices can also provide a “one-stop shop” that is shared with government agencies in order to make administrative procedures easier for clients. Initially launched in Morocco, mobile offices are now being used in rural areas of France, among other locations.

Other topics, such as social mediation, are also central to the company’s actions.

PIMMS (France)

Veolia is a founding member of the National PIMMS (Multi-service Information and Mediation Points) network, which brings together and runs the network of local PIMMS in partnership with the French government, municipal authorities and regional players. The PIMMS concept consists of facilitating access to public services for people in a given area and preventing problems, thanks to mediation staff who offer users support, explanations (about topics such as day-to-day processes, billing arrangements and access to Internet services) and advice (on matters such as managing a family budget and controlling energy consumption). Veolia has chaired the National PIMMS Union since June 2016.

VoisinMalin (France) and Socias Gestoras (Mexico)

In the Île-de-France region, Veolia has since 2012 been working in partnership with the association VoisinMalin, which recruits and trains local people. These are neighbors who offer services to companies, institutions and municipalities to foster stronger ties with their service users through an approach that includes educational door-to-door visits, interpreting and assistance in using services.

 

This network of well-informed neighbors, a new point of contact for marginalized residents facing economic, cultural or language difficulties, creates value for both local services and neighborhood residents. Through this partnership, VoisinMalin works on helping people control consumption while preventing unpaid bills and putting people in touch with social services.

In Aguascalientes, the first year of the “Socias Gestoras” program was completed at the end of November 2017; this initiative enables single mothers to obtain paid employment (70 hirings in one year) that consists in visiting the households in their district to promote awareness about paying water bills (around €1 million in outstanding water bill payments were recovered).

National Initiative for Human Development Committee (Morocco)

In Tangier, when the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD) connection program was launched, Veolia decided to set up an NIHD Committee, which is one of the keys to the program’s advancement and a response to the city’s crucial issues. The committee, created by Veolia and the contracting authority, meets every two weeks and comprises all program partners, including the city’s prefecture and urban planning and development agencies. It arbitrates on borderline cases (where household qualification must be closely examined), discusses any obstacles or problems encountered and resolves them.

ACCESS VIII

Promote more efficient service use to optimize its benefits

In Niger, half of consumers get their water from communal standpipes. Unsanitary transportation, storage and handling practices can make this water unfit to drink, exposing local populations to health problems. Employees of SEEN, Veolia’s local subsidiary, wish to warn people about these problems. This is a vital issue in a country where water-borne illnesses are the leading cause of death and disease. In 2007, Veolia set up a Water and Health program to make local people more aware of how drinking water and hygiene can affect health. First implemented within the subsidiary, this program was then presented to external stakeholders, such as private-sector managers of communal standpipes, who were given training by the NGO Rail Niger to become ambassadors/trainers on the links between water, hygiene and health.

Initiatives raising awareness of the environment, eco-actions and good service practices (covering water, wastewater treatment, waste management and energy) are implemented as part of our contracts, community projects and Veolia Foundation projects, including: EnviroMentors in Australia (44,000 students took part in this program managed by Keep New South Wales Beautiful – KNSWB), energy talks in Germany (with industrial and commercial partners), Alrededor de Iberoamérica, Unis-Cités, VoisinMalin, PIMMS, Somos agua in Ecuador (raising young peoples’ awareness of water stress and the importance of water in nutrition and hygiene), the 2014 clean-up campaign in China, Japan and Korea for World Environment Day, awareness-raising on the health benefits of drinking water with local players under the Nangloi and Nagpur contracts in India, the VeBes program with Abu Dhabi schools (importance of water recycling), and the “Don’t waste drinking water, every drop counts” campaign launched in April 2017 in Niger covering the entire population and all regions. It was rolled out through TV and radio spots, advisory posters and leaflets available in all SEEN agencies, etc

ACCESS IX

Assess the impact on quality of life

Veolia has developed its own tools to measure the environmental and social impact of its activities. Furthermore, experiments have been conducted to measure external factors with regard to health, such as in the case of the Veolia Foundation’s work in Uvira in the Democratic Republic of Congo (assessment of the impact of the population’s access to drinking water on the incidence of cholera cases, conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

Veolia took part financially and operationally in a research program to assess the impact on human development of subsidizing the connection of water supply and wastewater services to households in Tangier, with J-PAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), an economics research laboratory headed by Esther Duflo.

The findings that the service provided specific benefits in terms of social integration, additional leisure time and general contentment were published in a paper entitled “Happiness on Tap Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco” (Devoto, Duflo et al., 2011).

ACCESS X

Develop partnerships and further the joint development of new solutions

In order to overcome the access difficulties experienced by a proportion of the population, the format of the service proposed is not necessarily the same as for traditional clients. It requires an in-depth understanding of the individual situations of people living in poverty and the definition of associated services cannot be arrived at immediately. Firstly, mediation is required from the associations that work in the region to ensure joint development work that is essential for the company’s sustainable development. This principle to which Veolia is committed involves the establishment of social ties and the inclusion of all in the community (see collaboration with Ashoka and Antropia, associations promoting inclusion and the work of the Veolia Foundation).

Supply safe drinking water

Veolia provides drinking water to 95 million people around the world. With the constant concern of controlling the quality of the water produced and distributed, Veolia has established a water quality control policy in order to comply with current standards and anticipate changes using a complete range of technological solutions. This approach is based on four principles:

Anticipating

Veolia carries out scientific monitoring of emerging parameters and is working, in particular, on new micro-pollutants such as endocrine disruptors and pharmaceutical product residues. It is also conducting extensive work to improve the analytical methods for detecting these micro-pollutants and assessing their effects on health.

As advocated by the World Health Organization and should its clients so wish, Veolia brings in methods to analyze and prevent health risks, through the Water Safety Plan, or other similar approaches such as the HACCP or ISO 22000. They enable all areas of the water production and distribution process that present risks to water quality to be identified and analyzed, and the necessary measures to limit these risks to be implemented.

Monitoring

Water analysis is a major asset in terms of health control policy. It enables pollutants to be detected and the necessary intervention to eliminate them. Veolia is performing more frequent and complex analyses within shorter timescales, according to standardized methods and using cutting-edge equipment and qualified personnel.

Veolia has set itself two quantified targets on water safety :

  • Drinking water production : Physicochemical compliance > 99%,
  • Drinking water production : Bacteriological compliance > 99%.

Bacteriological and physicochemical compliance rate indicators enable the quality of the distributed water to be evaluated.

Compliance rate indicators

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Target
Bacteriological compliance rate 99,6 % 99,5 % 99,6 % 99,7 % 99,7 % 99,8 % 99,8 % 99.8% > 99 %
Physicochemical compliance rate 99,6 % 99,6 % 99,6 % 99,7 % 99,7 % 99,7 % 99,7 % 99.8% > 99 %

Scope: All Veolia drinking water distribution activity.

Offering solutions

 Veolia advises local communities on operational improvements and on the investments required to control water quality. Covering the whole supply chain, the range of solutions proposed by Veolia focuses on the treatments required to meet increasingly stringent standards, such as those relating to maintaining network water quality and safeguarding the production and distribution of drinking water. The solutions proposed also concern the protection of water resources, to conserve water from the very first stages in the cycle (see Managing our environmental performance saving water resources).

Informing populations

The organizational structure in place at Veolia’s operating sites enables optimal responsiveness in the event of an incident or crisis:

  • qualified personnel are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to manage emergencies;
  • a fleet of mobile units can be mobilized for a rapid response;
  • a telephone service is available to respond to consumer concerns;
  • bottled water is distributed in the event of a prolonged interruption to the public water system’s water supply;
  • a telephone warning system notifies consumers of potential restrictions on consumption and points where bottled water will be available.

Suitable resources are made available, commensurate with the severity and length of the crisis and the population affected.

Protection against nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical threats

In December 2015, as part of COP21, Veolia put in place an improved security system for its drinking water networks in Le Bourget, France, together with the RAID (French Research, Assistance, Intervention and Deterrence service). Surveillance of drinking water production and distribution sites close to the event in Le Bourget was increased, in collaboration with prefectures and antiterrorist units. KAPTA sensors were installed at strategic points on the drinking water network to analyze various parameters in the water and identify any change in water quality. In the event of any anomalies, the RAID central command center can order action to be taken to protect citizens’ safety. The system was tested at the Expo Shanghai 2010 and the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It was put into practice for the first time at the Francophone Games in Nice held in 2013.

All of these actions fall within the scope of a quality assurance system, as formally expressed by the ISO 9000 standards in particular, which many Veolia entities (in France and abroad) have incorporated into their operations. In 2020, 75% of the revenue from the Group is covered by an ISO 9001-certified quality management system.

International solidarity initiatives

The services and local solidarity initiatives conducted by the Group or the Veolia Foundation, for the general good, are the expression of our contribution to international solidarity.

The Veolia Foundation’s solidarity initiatives

Solidarity is expressed in contracts through the services that the Group provides and that contribute to the common good. Combating insecurity and inequality by ensuring access to essential services for people without a water supply, sanitation services or electricity is one of the ways that Veolia is actively committed.

Veolia’s commitment is also demonstrated through its Foundation. One of its missions is to help people to live healthily and with dignity. As part of this mission, the Veolia Foundation: 

  • provides emergency humanitarian assistance during natural disasters and humanitarian crises to evaluate requirements and ensure that people have access to water, sanitation, energy and waste management; 
  • supports development aid projects for these essential services which are core Veolia businesses. 

Veolia Foundation’s international solidarity initiatives help develop access to essential services. It provides financial support and the skills of the Group’s employees. 

Multi-year partnerships 

The Veolia Foundation has forged numerous partnerships: with United Nations agencies (UNICEF, UNHCR), major international bodies (Red Cross, Doctors of the World, Doctors Without Borders, International Solidarity Movement, Oxfam, etc.) and States. One such example is the partnership signed in 2014 and renewed on December 19, 2017, with the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to boost efficiency when responding to emergency humanitarian situations. 

The Foundation has also committed to provide Doctors without Borders with Veoliaforce experts to support its Research and Innovation projects for humanitarian issues in sectors close to Veolia’s business lines. With Doctors of the World, it works to prevent health and environmental risks incurred by dismantlers in Manila and supports health watches organized in France in migrant camps. The Foundation has also strengthened its links with the Red Cross, by pooling its logistics bases in Pantin and offering additional training to Red Cross emergency response teams. 

Veoliaforce missions, emergency humanitarian assistance and development aid in 2020

The Veolia Foundation naturally works alongside stakeholders to temporarily respond to essential needs in the event of a crisis or deploy long-term solutions in regions without a suitable infrastructure. In 2019, the Veolia Foundation took part in 16 development aid or emergency humanitarian assistance projects. 9 Veoliaforce missions represented 358 man-days of skills patronage.

  • Lebanon: an emergency intervention prolonged by post-emergency work 

In Lebanon, after the explosion that devastated Beirut on August 4, 2020, the Foundation’s Veoliaforce experts took emergency action on August 11. An assessment and technical diagnostics were carried out alongside the Beirut Water Authority and with the support of OTV’s branch office in Lebanon. Equipment was dispatched and staff trained. The intervention allowed a targeted response to be defined to help ensure the widest possible resumption of service in the disaster area. In partnership with Unicef, the mission then continued with a new team of Veoliaforce volunteers tasked with carrying out a major leak detection operation. This was necessary in order to coordinate the repair of the primary and secondary water distribution networks. 

  • Niger: special efforts to restore access to water in record time 

Hit at the end of August 2020 by heavy rains, Niamey spent the end of the summer under water: more than 350,000 people were affected. In the face of this situation, the Veolia Foundation took action. A team of Veoliaforce volunteers arrived at the scene on September 14 and nearly 11 metric tons of humanitarian aid supplies were dispatched in just a few days. Within 48 hours, thanks to the work of SEEN (Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger) and Foundation staff, three Aquaforces 5000 mobile water purification units were ready to be used. The quality of the water produced was checked using bacteriological analyses, and distribution began on September 18. 

  • Covid-19: the Veolia Foundation supports the homeless 

In the spring of 2020, the Veolia Foundation mobilized to help those living on the streets protect themselves against Covid-19. At the request of local authorities, solutions to provide access to water for people living in precarious conditions were implemented. At the same time, healthkits were put together by Croix-Rouge Insertion before being distributed to the homeless in camps, squats and shantytowns by grassroots NGOs such as Solidarités International. At the invitation of the Veolia Foundation, several private sector organizations have joined this scheme and are lending their support: the Vinci pour la Cité Foundation, the Crédit Agricole Solidarity and Development Foundation, the Eiffage Foundation and Icade. 

  • Covid-19: the Veolia Foundation working in Africa 

In Cameroon, the city of Bangangté has embarked on a fivepronged program to combat the spread of coronavirus. With the support of the Veolia Foundation and the International Association of French-speaking Mayors (AIMF), the municipality has increased the number of humanitarian, healthcare and economic support measures for the population: provision of standpipes and hand-washing facilities, staff reinforcements and additional protective equipment for medical centers, support for small farmers who can no longer sell their produce, distribution of food parcels, and support for young people adversely affected by the situation.

Since 2007, the Foundation has been engaged in a global strategy to combat the spread of cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Having demonstrated the link between the outbreak and spread of cholera epidemics and lack of access to clean drinking water, and identified eight cholera hotspots, mostly located alongside lakes, in the east of the DRC, work is ongoing in the field at Kalemie and Uvira.

Refugee and migrant support program

Engaged for many years in humanitarian intervention, the Foundation is bolstering its presence among displaced populations. Mobilized alongside its historic partners (the French Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Red Cross, MSF, UNHCR), it intervenes in a number of refugee camps through skills volunteering – by offering the expertise of its volunteers – and/or providing financial support or equipment for some long-term programs.

Other initiatives

Mozambique: humanitarian assistance 

In Mozambique, Cyclone Idai caused havoc in March 2019, with nearly one thousand deaths and around two million people affected. The Foundation took action with the French Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and International Solidarity Movement, sending equipment and around ten Veoliaforce experts. Their mission is to repair or install drinking water production, storage and distribution facilities. Important work to train local teams is also provided to ensure long-term access to drinking water.

Philippines, Congo, Senegal: development aid projects

The Foundation’s Veoliaforce volunteers provided assistance in the Philippines, in Manila, as part of the partnership with Doctors of the World to reduce exposure to health and environmental risks. 

The Foundation also got involved in Uvira to support the program to combat cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Saal, Senegal, for a pilot water drinking water project on the Gambia river.

A pilot sustainable energy initiative in Cameroon

The Foundation supports the renewable electrification project initiative implemented by Refela-Cam, a network of locally elected women officials. The inhabitants of Bangangté and Fokoué will be the first to benefit, before the program is extended to cover the whole country.

In Madagascar, the Foundation is helping Nanoé Développement, a non-profit created by two young engineers specializing in electrical energy, who propose a new model of decentralized electrification, based on nano-networks, for southern regions. Powered by solar energy, these nano-networks supply electricity to five or six households, which purchase a quantity of energy in advance by mobile phone through a secure platform.

A therapeutic center with an autonomous water supply in Mexico

With the support of the Veolia Foundation, the Fundación para el Bienestar Natural (Fundebien) center will build a solar-powered pumping and water treatment station using underground water. The station will also be designed to provide bottled water for the local area.

Assessing initiatives in the combat against cholera in the Republic of Guinea

Field studies will be carried out in the Republic of Guinea by UNICEF to assess the impact of the WASH initiative in defining cholera eradication strategies. This is part of the program of actions of the WHO’s Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), in which the Foundation participates.

In New Delhi, India, support for the Sulabh International NGO in providing underprivileged populations with access to key services. Built in spaces that are open 24 hours a day, toilet complexes offer public toilets and washing facilities for a small usage fee, which funds the upkeep of the premises.

In Burkina Faso

Improvement in working conditions for cesspool clearers in Ouagadougou through training, vaccinations and supply of equipment (overalls, boots, gloves, hard hats, shovels, etc.) and use of advocacy with local government authorities to obtain recognition of the clearers’ activity and improve the structure of their profession.

Assistance provided to equip a socially responsible company, Initiatives de Développement Stratégique (IDS, Strategic Development Initiatives), which trains women to weave fashion accessories made of recycled plastic and manage their commercial activity.

The first prize in Veolia’s 2015 Student Solidarity Awards (financed jointly by the Foundation) was awarded to the Association des Enfants et Jeunes Travailleurs de Ouallam (the Ouallam Children’s and Young Workers’ Association), a student association of Abdou Moumouni University (Niamey), for its project involving an educational and psychosocial support structure for vulnerable children in the town of Ouallam, Niger.

Development aid under our contracts

Solidarity is also expressed through the service contracts in France Veolia enters into with municipal authorities in France, as part of decentralized cooperation projects (international solidarity).

Since 2013, Veolia has worked alongside the Urban Community of Marseille in a wide-ranging partnership to support international cooperation at financial, technical, methodological and human levels in western North Africa, French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Objective? Reduce the proportion of the population without access to drinking water and sanitation. The project involves: financial support and governance for an international solidarity fund for water and wastewater services projects supported by international solidarity organizations or local authorities; funding and program management assistance for decentralized cooperation initiatives supported by the urban community, and emergency and/or reconstruction initiatives aimed at people who have been victims of natural disasters or conflicts.

Human resources performance

Veolia’s responsibility is to ensure the well-being and fulfillment of its employees. Playing a key role in a culture that is common to all of Veolia’s actions, human resources management is founded on the five principles of responsibility, solidarity, respect, innovation and customer focus. The Group’s overall performance also depends on its ability to attract and retain talent. To this end, Veolia endeavors, as never before, to be an employer of choice for all the regions.

Human resources management system

Human resources are at the core of Veolia’s Purpose and play a key role in a culture that is common to all Veolia’s actions, founded on the five principles of responsibility, solidarity, respect, innovation and customer focus.

The Group’s overall performance also depends on its ability to attract and retain talent. To this end, Veolia endeavors, as never before, to be an employer of choice for all the regions.

Policy and commitments

Veolia’s responsibility is to ensure the health, well-being, development and fulfillment of its employees. Social cohesion and dialogue, notably within staff representative bodies, are very important to the Group and ensures the promotion of professional equality between men and women. The Group’s overall performance also depends on its ability to attract and retain talent. Veolia endeavors, as never before, to be an employer of choice for all the regions. 

Under its Impact 2023 strategic program and its commitment to multifaceted performance, Veolia confirmed its human resources performance policy around four objectives for 2023:

  •  workplace safety; 
  • employee commitment;
  • employee training and employability;
  • diversity.

These objectives are consistent with the three commitments given previously regarding the Company’s men and women as part of sustainable development commitments : 

  • commitment 7: guarantee a safe and healthy work environment;
  • commitment 8: encourage each employee’s professional development and commitment;
  • commitment 9: guarantee that diversity and fundamental human and social rights are respected within the Company 

Management and rollout of commitments

The Group’s Human Resources Department has set up an integrated organization to serve Veolia’s strategy.

Our HR Priorities

Promoting labor practices initiatives

Through its “Human resources initiatives” approach, the Group Human Resources Department inventories best practices in the Group’s companies, to demonstrate its social performance. Using this approach, it is possible to identify the actions conducted in coordination with human resources priorities, to enhance them and to promote their use beyond their region of origin.

The end result is a Human Resources Initiatives Awards ceremony, which recognizes initiatives in occupational health and safety, skills and talent development, social responsibility, diversity and cohesion, operational performance and development.

In 2019, publication entitled “2019 Human Resources Initiatives” presents more than 60 human resources initiatives from 51 countries, selected from 310 initiatives.

The next edition will be launched in 2021.

The Group also uses social reporting to monitor the roll-out of its human resources policies and their performance using the Group’s human resources data.

Human Resources Initiatives 2019

Human Resources Initiatives 2019

Employees

The nature of the company’s business activities requires local management of personnel. As a result, the structure of the company’s workforce reflects the labor markets in which we operate.

Geographical breakdown and change in the workforce

Geographic breakdown of the workforce

178,894 (√) employees as of December 31, 2020(1)

(1) Excluding employees of the Chinese concessions.

Geographic breakdown and change in the workforce over three years

Despite the health crisis, Veolia maintained its workforce levels. 

As of December 31, 2020, the total workforce was 178,894 employees, compared with 178,780 as of December 31, 2019. 

In 2020, the workforce increased by +114 employees, or 0.06%, due to:

  •  an increase (excluding inter-company scope impacts) of 11,100 employees as a result of acquisitions, new contracts and/ or business development. The main increases are: 
    • in Latin America, nearly 5,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 employees in Colombia, as well as in Ecuador, Peru and Costa Rica for SADE. In Chili, several municipal contracts requiring a large number of employees were signed in response to the health crisis,
    • in Asia, nearly 1,500 employees, including in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan,
    • in South Africa, nearly 500 employees;
  • An decrease (excluding inter-company scope impacts) of approximately 11,000 employees. This decrease is due to entity disposals, employee departures and lost contracts. The main decreases are :
    • in Asia, with the sale of urban cleaning activities in Singapore,
    • in North America, due to reduced activity,
    • in Africa/Middle East, due the sale of activities in Madagascar,
    • in Australia/New Zealand, for waste activities.

Hires and departures – Permanent and Fixed-term Contracts

In 2020, the Group recruited 19,042 employees on the labor market. Veolia recruited 15,095 employees under permanent contracts and transformed 3,947 fixed-term contracts into permanent contracts during the year. Hirings under permanent contracts represented 58.6% of total external hires. In addition, hires following a market takeover contributed 3,960 employees. The Group also hired 10,679 employees under fixed-term contracts. In 2020, 5,273 employees benefited from internal mobility. Of the total departures recorded by the Group in 2020, 14.3% were the result of individual dismissals and 1% followed collective redundancies. 4,103 departures were recorded in 2020 following the loss of a contract. 

The turnover rate for employees with permanent contracts was 11.6% in 2020. 

The voluntary turnover rate for employees with permanent contracts was 5.56% in 2020.

Planned reductions in workforce and job protection schemes, and support measures

The restructuring plans implemented in 2019 most often corresponded, after a review of the various alternatives, to a reorganization that was vital for Business Units. These operations are carried out in compliance with legislation and in consultation with labor and management representatives and giving priority to internal redeployment within the Group.

Accordingly, the departures recorded in 2019, under the voluntary departure plan negotiated for the France Water scope, concerned 278 employees. Moreover, in Poland and Germany a redundancy plan concerned around 46 and 38 people, respectively.

As part of voluntary departure programs or redundancy plans, accompanying measures (both internal and external) are implemented and facilitated with the constant aim of ensuring the employability of individuals. In addition, in order to adapt employee organizations and skills to economic and social changes, the Group signed a new agreement on the forward management of jobs and skills in France in 2017. This enables changes in business and skills to be anticipated by promoting training and professional mobility.

Breakdown by socio-professional category, gender and age

Workforce by gender and age in 2020 measured in percentage and value

Breakdown of total workforce by type of contract and by category

Whatever the characteristics of the job market on which the Group’s activities are developing, Veolia’s companies are committed to promoting sustainable jobs: 92.4% of employees are on permanent contracts.

The full-time equivalent workforce corresponds to the number of employees Veolia would have had, if all employees worked full-time throughout the year. It is calculated by weighting the total workforce by both the employment rate and the amount of time worked by each employee. This represents the proportion of employee work.

Guaranteeing a safe and healthy working environment

The Group’s most valuable resource and consequently its primary asset is its employees. Sustainably protecting the health and safety of employees and sub-contractors while protecting customers and communities served by the Group is an absolute priority.

The variety of Veolia’s business sectors, geographic zones and working environments require constant due diligence. The Group is committed to ensuring the physical and psychological integrity of its employees and sub-contractors in all its businesses and installations by implementing a permanent approach.

The Group is aware of its responsibility and makes “zero accidents” an objective and a performance driver.

Management of prevention, health and safety in the workplace

A commitment shared at all levels of the organization

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Environnement signed the Seoul declaration at the International Labor Organization’s headquarters (ILO), which recognizes the fundamental human right to a safe and secure working environment.

Veolia is committed to promoting the continuous improvement of occupational prevention, health and safety, training employees and more generally, all Group stakeholders, as well as promoting social dialogue on these issues.

Extending to the highest level of the organization, Veolia’s prevention, health and safety continuous improvement process is formalized by the letter of undertaking signed by the Chairman and CEO.  It is built around five pillars :

The 5 pillars of the process.

  1. Involve the entire managerial line;
  2. improve health and safety risk management;
  3. Improve communication and dialogue;
  4. Train and involve all employees;
  5. Monitor health and safety performance.

This process supports the efforts already initiated and involves all employees at all levels of the organization, as well as the Group’s suppliers, subcontractors and joint venture partners.

Health and safety results are monitored closely by different governance bodies, i.e. the Executive Committee and the Management Committee, the Board of Directors, the Ethics Committee and the Sustainable Development Committee. They are also shared with employee representative bodies and are made available to all Group employees via the Veolia intranet.

A continuous improvement process

To communicate their involvement and commitment, all management levels regularly conduct safety field visits. These visits help observe working situations, discuss best practices with employees and areas for improvement, and thus take action on certain behaviors.

Moreover, the comprehensive assessment of management performance includes a criterion covering improved prevention, health and safety performance, as does the calculation of the variable portion of manager compensation, based on quantitative and qualitative criteria.

A constantly falling frequency rate

As part of its Purpose and the Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia gave commitments in favor of its employees with a 2023 target. These commitments comprise several objectives, including workplace safety. 

As part of its commitments for sustainable development, Veolia has made commitment 7 to Guarantee a safe and healthy work environment. It has set the 2020 objective of achieving or bettering an injury frequency rate of 6.5, calculated as the number of lost time injuries per million hours worked. The target set for 2023 is to achieve an injury rate equal or below 5.

The sponsor of this objective is Antoine Frérot, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Since 2010, the frequency rate (the number of lost-time accidents per million hours worked) has been constantly falling: from 18.09 in 2010 to 6.6 (√) in 2020 (i.e. -18.72% vs. 2019). This decrease is the result of significant measures implemented to prevent workplace accidents for all employees. Actions taken in recent years were continued and stepped up in 2020. In addition to face-to-face training sessions, strengthened e-learning actions contributed to the marked improvement in lost time injury frequency rate in 2020.

Note that the integration, in 2019, of the SALA Group in Colombia, comprising 4,700 full-time equivalent employees, affected the Veolia frequency rate by +0.69 points. Thus the Veolia frequency rate excluding the Sala Group is 7.43, i.e. -12.3% vs. 2018.

In 2020, 34 Group countries did not record any lost time injuries.

Trend in the injury frequency rate since 2010

International Health and Safety Week

Veolia has organized an International Health and Safety Week since 2015, to help firmly establish a health and safety culture at work. The 2020 edition was held in the specific context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The identification of lessons learned from the crisis management and the risk measures implemented provide precious examples for better understanding other risks and promoting changes in behavior.

Objective: strengthen perception of professional risks, the identification of dangerous situations in our work environment and the treatment of such situations, by implementing measures to reduce these risks to an acceptable level.

This sixth edition involved presentations on raising risk behavior awareness, with campaigns focusing on the perception of danger: “What you see is not what I see.”. Communication tools (posters, videos, roadmap, and roll-out guide) were made available to help raise employee awareness and full-scale risk hunts were organized by the teams at the sites. The resulting international mobilization enabled this weeklong event to promote worldwide the people on the ground and understand and resolve over 4,000 health and safety risk scenarios. It also served as a lever for meeting the “zero accidents” global challenge.

Actions and results : Health and safety tested by the health crisis

Veolia adapted its working methods and the operation of its sites worldwide in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Heath prevention and work organization methods were therefore adapted to limit as far as possible the risks of contamination by coronavirus and enable strict application of social distancing and hygiene rules. This global and sustainable approach ensured the protection of all employees. 

A business continuity plan was implemented for each Veolia activity identified as vital. The vast majority of employees continued to commute daily to sites and worked in the field to ensure the continuity of key services. 

This business continuity plan enabled: 

  • compliance with social distancing and hygiene rules;
  • limits on the number of people in meetings;
  • the introduction of a one-way walking system; a number of employees were asked to work from home;
  • organization of the replacement of sick employees and employees required to self-isolate thanks to rotating production teams setup for this purpose; 
  • team training in managing unusual situations in “degraded” operating conditions, while ensuring the collective and individual safety of employees; 
  • digitization to be used and accentuated.

Managers implemented measures aimed at limiting as far as possible the risk of the virus being introduced onto sites, both during the lockdown phase and as lockdown was eased. These measures apply to everyone entering our sites (employees, temporary staff, consultants, sub-contractors and service providers): 

  • good understanding of social distancing and hygiene measures by all employees; 
  • distribution of face masks in line with service requirements;
  • disinfection and cleaning of sites; 
  • Covid-19 testing. 

The principles of prevention, information and training therefore underpin the general approach to controlling as best as possible the risk of coronavirus contamination at the Group’s sites. A daily crisis unit based at the Group’s headquarters is responsible for coordination, analyzing the situation worldwide and defining priority actions according to the various contamination phases in the different countries. 

Managers are responsible for the proper application of these measures in conjunction with the “Covid Officers” appointed as close as possible to the operating entities. Additional measures adapted to each business line and site are taken in consultation with line management based on Group procedures.

A joint commitment

The strengthening of prevention and analysis of accidents are essential to labor relations. In 2020, 10.2% (√) of agreements signed related to prevention, health and safety.

In Europe, this commitment resulted in the signature in 2012 of a letter of undertaking between management and the employee representatives on the Group’s European Works Council. This commitment ensures the consistency of site initiatives in each European country where Veolia operates. The structural themes of this joint commitment include the systematic analysis of accidents, strengthened prevention in occupational health, including factors relating to hardship, and improved social dialogue on health and safety topics.

A steering body : the prevention, health and safety center of excellence

The prevention, health and safety center of excellence is comprised of some 25 international experts within the Group. It proposes prevention, health and safety strategies to the Executive Committee and coordinates Group-wide projects, creates synergies between the businesses by encouraging the sharing of best practices, and evaluates results using performance indicators. In addition, a number of prevention, health and safety experts have been appointed across the Group to ensure the consistency of the measures applied by country and by region, as well as coordination and follow-up actions. This organization provides a structured, flexible and ongoing improvement system which incorporates the cultural dimensions specific to each country. In 2020, the center of excellence met six times.

Occupational health and safety management guidelines

Members of the prevention, health and safety center of excellence have developed occupational health and safety management guidelines based on best practices identified in Group operations.

The objective of these guidelines is to organize and define clear guidance to enable line management to develop and implement a continuous improvement plan, adapted to each Business Unit.

The guidelines were designed based on Veolia’s five Prevention, Health and Safety strategic pillars; these cover the specific measures, actions and requirements to reach an “interdependent” safety culture and make zero accidents a choice and target excellence.

In addition, Veolia has set up structured and determining prevention processes based on standards such as ILO OSH 2001 and/or ISO 45001. Every year, entities are certified, labeled or recognized worldwide for their procedures in prevention, health and safety.

In 2020, 62.1% of revenue was covered by ISO 45001 certification.

Provision of personal protective equipment

Veolia takes very seriously the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work, providing to all employees PPE that follows the best international standards. PPE is provided to each employee in quantity taking in account the risk assessment and is renewed periodically. Veolia provides instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly.

Risk exposition to noise and vibrations

At Veolia we treat with particular attention occupational risk exposition to noise and vibrations, assessing these risks and reducing the exposition to the lowest level reasonably possible. Means are made available to fight against noise and vibrations by using the best existent practices on collective protection. Workstations are conceived and continuously adapted to reduce the duration of exposure. For vibrating vehicles, machines and work situations, rotation is generalised  to reduce exposure to vibration operators and drivers.

A global accident management solution: roll-out of the “PaTHS” program

The PaTHS program (Prevention & Training on Health & Safety), which is currently being rolled-out, comprises a collaborative tool aimed at all individuals involved in workplace health and safety. The tool simplifies and harmonizes the management of accidents, occupational diseases, near misses, dangerous situations and acts and best practice. It comprises six integrated and scalable complementary modules to: 

  • track and manage health and safety events in accordance with local regulations and Veolia processes;
  • analyze the causes of events using a harmonized corporate method; 
  • assess the risks of each role in line with Veolia risk standards;
  • create and manage corrective and preventive actions plans; 
  • anticipate and manage health and safety training courses. Track and verify authorizations and accreditations;
  • produce reports, steer health and safety performance and conduct predictive analyses. A related mobile app allows all employees to contribute to health and safety prevention in the workplace.

Risk mapping and the ten standards of high-risk activity management

After an analysis by the prevention, health and safety center of excellence of past Veolia incidents, accidents and fatal accidents, a list of high-risk activities common to Veolia business lines was drawn up. Members of the center of excellence then defined priorities to produce standards based on internal and external best practices. Members of the center of excellence drew up ten management standards for high-risk activities, involving internal stakeholders in this process (Technical Departments, operational managers, HR Departments, Legal Departments). A matrix to evaluate the level of compliance with the human, organizational and technical requirements of the high-risk activity management standards was also implemented to support operational deployment in the field. Implementation is tracked within each country, then each zone, and finally consolidated at Group level.

In terms of risk assessment carried out regarding health and safety for potential new operations or projects, Veolia has a wordwide Due Diligence procedure for the integration of new operations that includes the requirement for OHS risk assesment.

Safety audits and visits and the monitoring of action plans

At Veolia risk assessment is conducted at the most operational level to ensure the involvement of the workforce in the process of identifying what hazards currently exist or may appear in the workplace. All sites at Veolia perform a risk assessment at least once a year. Additionally, risk assessment will be conducted if there are changes in the workplace (such as new staff being onboarded, equipment being replaced, repaired or upgraded and the adjustment of procedures) or in the scope of the business operations.

Safety audits and visits of the facilities are carried out before operations commence to detect any risk situations and propose corrective measures. The Group’s facility design and building activities incorporate risk prevention mechanisms as far upstream as possible, in order to eliminate risk situations and guarantee the health and safety of future operators. Audits are performed each year. No audits were conducted in 2020 due to the health situation. Regular presentations to the Executive Committee allow the fit between actions conducted and the Group strategy to be verified.

Annual progress reports are submitted to the Executive Committee in order to verify that the actions conducted fit with the Company strategy.

Sharing best practices

A monthly collection of health and safety initiatives, the PowerBook is developed based on best practices promoted by different countries. It is notably intended to guide managers with the deployment of standards and to promote best practices on site in order to encourage individuals to deploy these standards.

Posters are created in line with each “Powerbook” to make the best practices available to all and to encourage the sharing of good ideas.

Moreover, innovative local occupational health and safety practices have also been identified and shared across the Group. Several of these practices were recognized with “Human Resources Initiatives Awards”, underscoring the inclusion of health and safety aspects in the corporate human resources and social policy.

Raise awareness and train

Training is one of the five pillars of the occupational prevention, health and safety policy. In 2020, 67.5% of Veolia employees received safety training, and nearly 46.5% of training hours were devoted to safety.

OHS Skills

In 2019, the Group Prevention, Health and Safety Department and Veolia Campus  implemented a development program entitled OHS Skills. This program aims to reinforce the knowledge and skills of the health and safety network, to provide them with the best tools to support managers with decision-making, and also to involve employees as close as possible to situations in the field. In 2019, during the pilot phase, 40 experts started training in France, 10 in Latin America, and 10 in the United Kingdom; this training continued in 2020. In 2020, virtual classes were organized to continue roll-out in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and facilitate implementation of the program for health and safety experts in the various countries.

In addition, the Safety Leadership training program for top management and all line management is now available. Roll-out commenced in Veolia Énergie France in 2020 and will continue in the different countries in 2021.

Example of safety training best practice

SARP designed a video combining real images and 3D effects to raise awareness amongst teams regarding safety. Virtual technology provides more opportunities to view inside a pipe and simulate serious accidents. The video is shown to all new employees who then receive an evaluation which affects their later assignment to projects.

Use of digital tools to track health and safety courses

At Veolia, we use digital tools to anticipate and track the different health and safety training courses taken by employees. Alerts are generated to anticipate authorizations from expiring. When a training session leads to an authorization, it is generated automatically but needs approval from the line management to be effective. Approval is conditioned to the attendance sheet transmitted by the training organization. This process allows us to manage all sensitive training (such as chemicals, confined spaces, explosive atmospheres, hot work, work from heights…) and edit a safety passport for each employee that can be shown at any time (in paper or digitally) to a supervisor, auditor, client, etc…

Analysis to prevent risks

The Group is particularly attentive to employee awareness and the monitoring of at-risk situations and near misses. The Prevention, Health and Safety Department uses the Bird pyramid to prevent accidents, which has five levels:

  • near misses, unsafe acts, unsafe conditions (base of the pyramid);
  • first aid injuries;
  • medical treatment injuries;
  • lost time injuries;
  • fatalities.

The resulting analysis helps prevent risks based on the following assumption: “the higher the number of near misses, the higher the probability that accidents will occur”.

The Group has also had “safety alerts” for many years for prevention purposes. In the event of a workplace accident, the health and safety coordinator sends the Group Prevention, Health and Safety Department a record using a template detailing the circumstances, consequences of the event and the corrective measures put in place (human, organizational and technical). These safety alerts are then shared with the entire prevention, health and safety network, and more broadly on the Group intranet.

Monitoring of temporary staff and sub-contractors

Suppliers are also expected to take steps to guarantee the health, safety and well-being of their employees in accordance with the Supplier Charter. Accordingly, a preliminary risk analysis is performed of subcontracted activities to contractually define the prevention measures to be applied by all subcontractors. These measures are regularly audited.

Depending on the specific characteristics of Veolia’s businesses, regulatory measures and a cultural adaptation approach are integrated into the management of stakeholders’ health and safety within the Group.

Managing sub-contractors operating on Veolia sites and Veolia client sites is a vital component of the overall prevention, health and safety policy.

In this respect, Veolia has monitored the sub-contractor frequency rate since 2018.

2018 2019 2020
Lost time injury frequency rate for employees and sub-contractors 7.47 7.88 6.65

Sub-contractors inform the Prevention, Health and Safety Department when accidents occur in the Veolia global scope via “safety alerts”.

  • At Veolia Industries Global Solutions, an annual appraisal of sub-contractors is organized in conjunction with the Purchasing Department. This appraisal considers the following criteria: the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policy, health and safety management, risk management, action plans, OHS performance indicators and certifications. Companies rated below a certain level can no longer act on behalf of Veolia Industries Global Solutions.
  • Veolia Water Technologies has rolled-out a booklet on work-site health and safety, explaining the minimum standards in a fun way. The aim of these guidelines is to communicate Veolia health and safety practices and expectations to service providers working on work sites. The booklet provides key information for the health and safety of sub-contractor employees and to guarantee a safe, secure and healthy work environment for all employees on the site.
  • In the United Kingdom, a film was made to support the sub-contractor internal management procedure. This film introduces all operators of sub-contractor companies to security issues. It communicates widely on the specific risks and health and safety rules at Veolia sites. The film must be watched every six months and an operator working on several sites must watch the film at each new site. A questionnaire was introduced to ensure operators understand the information presented. A minimum grade of 8/10 is necessary to be authorized to enter the site. If this grade is not attained, the operator can watch the film again and retake the test. If despite spoken exchanges and watching the film twice the minimum grade cannot be attained, the sub-contractor operator will not be authorized to enter the Veolia site.

A system for monitoring temporary staff accidents was set up through annual meetings with temporary employment agencies, to define appropriate prevention measures and share best practices and assess the performance of these companies.

Security policy

To ensure the security of Veolia employees, the Security Department has introduced a set of measures and procedures covering their temporary or permanent international assignments, particularly in areas that present a high level of security risk.

An analysis tool for occupational disease exposure

All employees attend regular medical appointments to detect occupational diseases, with a particular focus on prevention.

To supplement the tools for identifying workstation accident situations, Veolia designed a tool to analyze exposure to occupational diseases. This tool is shared with the trade union and employee representatives of the Group French Works Council, and is available to all health and safety officers. It enables the Group to anticipate exposure to risk factors and define and implement a joint action plan.

In 2020, 110 employees had an occupational disease. However, the information on occupational diseases can vary due to differences in local practices and regulations.

Monitoring of health and safety indicators

Using an internal tool, accident data has been compiled on a quarterly basis since 2015. The Group has adopted a single definition of workplace accidents for all countries and subsidiaries, i.e. all workplace accidents which resulted in at least one day

Health and safety indicators

2017 2018  2019 2020
Lost time injuries (excluding commuting) 2,907  2,611 2,631 2,103
Calendar work days lost due to workplace accidents (excluding commuting)
(permanent and fixed-term contracts)
165,621 142,694 146,322 137,082
Injury frequency rate* 9.55 8.47 8.12 6.6
Injury severity rate* 0.55 0.47 0.45 0.43
Number of employee deaths tied to processes 3 0 6 3
Number of employees trained in safety 94,552 99,403 106,131 136,072
Number of authorities dedicated to or incorporating the study of healthand safety issues 1,935 2,004 1,969 1,927
Rate of total recordable injuries analysed that lead to an action plan (%) / / 64.59 74,09

*Including the Chinese concession

Well-being in the workplace

Veolia integrates in their risk assessment psychosocial risk factors in order to identify and assess known organisational psychosocial risk factors that can negatively impact employee health and wellbeing. The health and well-being approaches are adapted to the context and maturity of the countries where Veolia operates.

In France, the approach to quality of life in the workplace incorporates procedures to prevent psychosocial risk factors. Employees are informed of prevention measures, particularly during the presentation of the internal survey results. A training program has been rolled-out for managers designed to assist them incorporate psychosocial risks into their managerial practice. In addition, this process includes an ergonomic analysis of workstations, the promotion of best practices in health and nutrition, and the fight against alcoholism and drug use. Certain operations offer their employees muscle warm-up exercises before they start work.

The UK has introduced a program that offers a wide range of information sources to raise the awareness of employees and motivate them to take care of their health and achieve a good work/life balance. Various employee initiatives have been rolled-out: medical check-ups, awareness-raising initiatives on the dangers of tobacco or the benefits of a healthy diet, developing a physical exercise program, etc.

In North America, a social protection access system which benefits all its employees has been implemented via a wellness program.

Sport: a source of well-being and development

Because Veolia’s Purpose underlines the importance of health and safety but also personal development, the Group relies on sport as a source and driver of wellbeing, quality of life and occupational health.

Sport helps underline and promote Veolia’s ethics and values: Responsibility, Solidarity, Respect, Innovation and Customer Focus.

Veolia provides a specific and common definition of sport by creating a new Sport identity in all Group countries, with the name “So’Sport”, a logo, a slogan, statements, etc.

In the different Veolia zones, countries and sites, there are various sports and well-being initiatives which help unite, bring together, share and reinforce the feeling of belonging to the Group.

The Group is committed to promoting and sharing them. Veolia provides the opportunity to take part in annual national, European and global sports events, where to date, over 3,000 athletes from more than 40 countries have taken part and won national, European and world titles (for example, national games in Martinique in May 2019 and European games in June 2019 in Salzburg).

In addition, over 3,000 Veolia employees have taken part in the different Diversity races since 2014, including 800 participants during the most recent event which took place on September 24, 2020 in Vincennes, France, while fully respecting social distancing and hygiene rules. For the first time, an e-race was also organized in parallel between September 17 and 24, “La International E-run for Diversity”, bringing together Veolia countries around this event and promoting the colors and values of our Group.

Work organization

Organization of working time

The terms and conditions governing the organization of working time depend on the companies concerned, the nature of their business and where they are located.

The average work-week is 39 hours (√).

In 2020, the total number of calendar days of absence was 2,696,076 days (√), including 1,854,787 days of absence for sickness. Other reasons for absence were mainly workplace accidents and family events.

The total number of overtime hours worked was 14,957,674 (√), i.e. an average per employee of 89 hours of overtime per year. The definition of overtime, however, varies from country to country, which can make it difficult to evaluate this indicator.

Moreover, in a service business, a large number of overtime hours are due to emergency work performed by on-call or on-site personnel, to restore water supplies or heating within a reasonable timeframe, for example.

Trend in the absenteeism rate

2017 2018 2019 2020
Absenteeism rate(excluding maternity and paternity leave) 4.11% 4.16% 4.08% 4.54%

Improving work-life balance

In Germany, where the birth rate has dropped in recent years, the company helps employees reconcile their career with family life. Veolia Umweltservice GmbH, for example, provides offices where parents can bring their children to work in an emergency and has teamed up with an organization called Worklife to produce an intranet site on parenting. VWS Deutschland GmbH is a member of the “Women and the Economy” organization, which arranges family activities, including vacation centers for children. OeWA, BS Energy and Midewa were awarded Beruf und Familie (“Career and Family”) certification as a mark of their commitment.

In Japan, where cultural practices push employees to stay at the office late into the evening, Veolia encourages employees not to neglect their private lives, for example by introducing ‘no overtime’ days. This has helped the company successfully implement its policy of increasing the number of women in the workforce. There are signs of a positive change in behavior, with a significant increase in the number of days of leave taken and one employee even taking paternity leave.

Encouraging professional development

The quality of Veolia’s responses to environmental challenges and to the growing demands of public authorities and industrial entities depends on its expertise and, more generally, the performance of its labor relations model.

Veolia’s performance partly depends on its ability to attract and retain talent and manage risks linked to the availability of skills which it needs. 

The Group is convinced that the motivation and mobilization of the Company’s staff is an asset and a genuine competitive advantage. This is why Veolia strives to attract, train, develop and retain its staff at all levels of qualification and in all areas of employment in which it operates.

Policy and commitments

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia adopted the following commitment and 2020 objectives in 2015: 

  • deliver training to over 75% of employees annually;
  • maintain the manager commitment rate at over 80%.

Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert, the Group’s Human Resources Director and member of the Executive Committee, sponsors this commitment at the Executive Committee.

As part of its Purpose and the Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia gave commitments in favor of its employees with a 2023 target. These commitments break down into several objectives, including employee commitment and employee training and employability.

The sponsor of these objectives is Jean-Marie Lambert, Group’s Human Resources Director and member of the Executive Committee.

Career management

A department dedicated to career management

The Group Human Resources Development Department seeks to attract and retain talent throughout the world and facilitate the assessment of managerial performance. Its dual aim is to meet the skills requirements of the Group’s business activities and to provide career opportunities for employees.

Employee career development is a major focus of the human resources management policy. Its implementation relies on various processes and tools.

A common job appraisal tool for all the Group’s businesses

A unique classification tool was deployed for all management roles (the Global Grading System, developed by the firm Willis Towers Watson). By positioning the different positions within the organization, this tool enables objectives to be set according to their relative impact. This common job grading methodology supports professional mobility and helps organize HR processes with transparency, fairness and performance management in mind.

The deployment of this classification was finalized during 2020.

Mobility and recruitment tools

Talent APP: pilot launch of a new skills management digital app 

A pilot test of the Talent App was launched in January 2021 with 2,000 users. Based on artificial intelligence, this app is designed to accelerate the development of mobility and cooperation by mobilizing employees for short assignments. With employee self-reporting of expertise and the easy communication of available positions and short assignments, the app should help match the needs of the organization and the development wishes of employees in a targeted and innovative way. The pilot will be assessed after the summer 2021 and a general roll-out envisaged at that time.

A renewed talent management process

Since 2017, staff reviews common to all entities are organized for executives, key contributors and high potential employees, notably to develop succession plans and to implement a development plan to retain the managers of the future. The sharing and implementation of this common methodology aims to consolidate organizations’ sustainability and agility, and to help with the individual development of the most talented employees.

This methodology, which is currently used for Top Management, will be applied in the Business Units. 

In 2020, this process was partially continued remotely and allowed progress with the number of women in Top Management to be measured.

A common model for performance appraisal

In order to ensure managers’ objectives are aligned with the Group’s strategy and values, a single annual interview process is used for all managers at all our sites worldwide. This document harmonizes criteria and provides a common language to define individual objectives and adapt the Group’s strategy. This tool is also used to appraise performance and skills, share the Group’s values and identify employee aspirations, development needs, career prospects and the actions necessary to their implementation.

Performance appraisal is based on financial, safety and qualitative objectives and takes into consideration an employee’s place in the hierarchy and their position. For managers, some of the qualitative objectives are based on compliance with and dissemination of the Code of conduct based on the Group’s founding principles. Job safety is a priority objective for Veolia. All employees can contribute to achieving the zero-accident objective, by reporting or preventing a dangerous situation, or avoiding accidents. For this purpose, each employee makes a health and safety commitment, which is formalized during their annual interview. Veolia’s values naturally have their place in this objective.

In 2020, a section dedicated to Veolia’s Purpose was included in the annual interview to:

  • promote discussion of the Purpose between managers and employees and thereby continue the communication and appropriation of the Purpose in the field;
  • formally document for 2021 non-financial quantitative objectives tied to the multifaceted performance indicators, which will ultimately be included in the calculation of manager bonuses (from 2020 for executives). 

The Business Units have their own annual interview process for non-management employees. In addition to local systems, several Business Units, including those in the United States, Poland and Ireland, use the Group tool.

Talent development programs

Veolia Excellence is the training program dedicated to Veolia talent. Sessions are organized in three primary areas: business models, value creation, and team management in a context of rapid and profound change. The program uses innovative training methods, with e-learning sequences, inter-session work, collaborative workshops and a post-seminar follow-up. It also includes a 360° evaluation that is debriefed by internally trained individuals.

Three other collective individual development programs are deployed by the Veolia Group.

  • DISRUPT is a program aimed at “millennial” managers to accelerate their integration within the Group;
  • ACCELERATE is aimed at middle management as part of the digital transformation. This program allows participants to better understand the possibilities of this transformation and to develop the required interactions with Group businesses. This program should help change behavior by allowing managers to become the business partner of other Veolia players and to see the bigger picture in order to better anticipate future challenges;
  • WIL (Women in Leadership) is specifically organized to develop female leadership in relation to the Group’s ambitious gender diversity targets.

Mindful of allowing its talents to have personal alignment as well as sharing a common strategic vision, the Group fully integrates staff development tools in these programs (MBTI, 360°, Self Management Leadership). 

Equivalent programs are offered by the zones such as Impulsa in Latin America, Nest in Northern Europe, Stream in Asia and Relief in France. Leaders for Tomorrow is a training program for emerging talent in the United States and Canada. The eight-month program includes an appraisal period, individual coaching and a personalized development plan.

Executive development programs

The Executive seminar prepares individuals for corporate management by working on a changing world and its impact on our current and future activities, and the ability to carry the values of corporate social responsibility. It is based on four study trips spread over one year and offers training conferences, the discovery of Veolia activities and numerous visits to external companies. Trainees complete the program with a project related to the Group’s strategy, which they present to the Executive Committee. Veolia is particularly focused on including a significant portion of women in training schemes aimed at talents and managers. In 2019, nearly 40 employees took part in this program.

The Covid-19 health crisis forced the Group to suspend the organization of these Talent programs (with the exception of WIL largely organized remotely): the added value of these programs also lies in the development of professional networks through personal encounters during these face-to-face programs. Their mobilization is nonetheless planned as soon as health conditions permit.

Relations with schools

Mobilizing and attracting the resources required by the Group is a key priority: Veolia affirms its presence through events focused on environmental businesses, job and work-study fairs, and forums in schools and universities. Programs like the “Veolia Summer School” and the “Trophée Performance awards” are special opportunities that give international students an opportunity to discover Veolia’s businesses and to adapt their course of study to the Group’s challenges. These actions aim to consolidate Veolia’s visibility with young graduates, to reinforce its appeal by positioning it as a responsible and innovative business.

A fully remote Veolia Summer School 

Each year, Veolia organizes a one week event at the Jouy le Moutier Campus, bringing together students from a wide range of international universities. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Veolia decided to maintain the eleventh edition. The 2020 edition was therefore entirely digital and organized remotely: during four days, 51 master’s students from 23 countries organized into three teams across three time zones (Europe/Africa – Americas – Asia/Oceania) discovered the Veolia universe through a series of presentations by experts, operating managers and Corporate program managers.

The work-study option

Work-study contracts are a key recruiting tool for helping young workers into stable employment and to promote its employees, particularly in France, the UK, Colombia and Germany. At the end of 2020, Veolia had 3,300 trainees on work-study contracts. In France, there are nearly 2,000 trainees on work-study contracts, an increase of over 40% in five years. Work-study encourages the transfer of knowledge and key skills thanks to intergenerational exchanges between the tutor and their trainee, and develops corporate culture through professional promotion. By placing Group employees in a tutor role, it reinforces the feeling of belonging to the Group, whilst providing a tangible avenue to promote their expertise.

The work-study policy is specifically implemented through the Veolia Campus network and a growing number of partnerships with local employment and training players. A proactive approach reaches out to the public and local employment and training partners to raise awareness of environmental activities and services. It facilitates the recruitment of candidates for local jobs, including people with no prior experience.

For this purpose, Veolia is one of the partner companies of the GAN France business network (Global Apprenticeship Network), a group of companies which works to employ young people and support apprenticeships, with the support of the OECD, the ILO and the FIPA network (Innovation Foundation for Apprenticeships).

Work-study encourages the transfer of knowledge and key skills thanks to intergenerational exchanges between the tutor and their trainee, and develops corporate culture through professional promotion. By placing Group employees in a tutor role, it reinforces the feeling of belonging to the Group, whilst providing a tangible avenue to promote their expertise.

Veolia confirmed its commitment to apprenticeship by signing, in January 2020, an apprenticeship pact. Veolia undertook to increase the number of apprentices to 2,500 in France by 2023 and the number of apprentices present to 5% of its French workforce.

During the health crisis, the Campus training teams ensured continued remote learning for all diploma levels, providing individual follow-up for the lower qualifications to avoid any risk of drop-out. For 2020 enrollments, open days were held online and proved highly successful. Nearly 1,400 new contracts were signed in France in 2020.

Development of skills

Veolia has an ambitious training policy. Hence, under its sustainable development commitments, the Group seeks to provide yearly training to over 75% of employees.

Veolia’s main challenges in terms of training are to :

  • accompany the Group’s strategy;
  • support the Group’s commercial development and performance;
  • continuously adapt skills to increasingly complex activities, particularly through training in new and digital technologies;
  • promote career development;
  • anticipate the renewal of key skills, notably through work-study training;
  • encourage commitment and sharing of a common culture.

Training for all

Training is aimed at all staff categories. It starts at induction for new employees and continues throughout their career. It seeks to develop and adapt their skills to the constantly changing requirements of our businesses, through recognized courses that lead to certifications and accreditations, job mobility and career development. For this purpose, it relies on a network of expert contributors made up of Group employees.

Partnerships and Networks

The Training Department is supported by the Group’s network of Campuses to implement its policy.  This network aims to develop training courses which meet the Group’s professionalization requirements in collaboration with public authorities or teaching organizations in France. The creation of apprentice training centers, certificates and degrees such as professional bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees are examples of this policy. Through its close local ties, it encourages local integration policies through an agreement with public institutions and associations. It contributes to the Group’s social responsibility policy.

Training indicators

In 2020, 82% of employees participated in at least one training program.

Percentage of employees who participated in at least one training course

Evolution in worldwide training indicators

In some areas, the health crisis has had an impact on the delivery of face-to-face training. Nevertheless, there has been an acceleration of digitalisation with a disparity according to the zones, which has led to a decrease in the average number of hours of training per employee in 2020.

2017 2018 2019 2020
Number of training hours effectively given 2,675,375 2,888,774 3,081,137 2,891,041
Average number of training hours per employee 16.7 17.8 18 17

A range of programs was developed by in-house learning specialists, trainers and contributors based on Group strategy and input from Corporate and Business Training Departments and local business units. As a result, the training on offer continually reflects the realities of the business and the field, as well as business development plans.

Veolia is dedicated to training all its employees; it is notable that over 86% of training hours are aimed at operators and technicians.

The Veolia Campus network operates in eight countries, has thirteen training centers and covers two-thirds of Veolia’s operating regions. Since 2017, it has been the international training and development network with other major countries where Veolia operates. This network shares best practices, educational innovations, and different training programs. It also co-creates some international programs, such as the WIL (Women in Leadership) program.

Diploma training programs

The Group offers training which leads to diplomas and certificates. This approach aims to motivate employees by recognizing their existing skills, boosting their employability and acquiring new skills. For more than 20 years, this aim has been embodied by the creation of diploma programs dedicated to the Group’s activities, at all levels of training offered in the Campus network.

The French network offers 18 recognized professional diplomas, ranging from a CAP (certificate of professional aptitude) to a vocational Masters’ degree and organized under work-study programs to better integrate trainees within Group entities.

The UK Campus offers the possibility of 16 work-study diplomas: 12 diplomas equivalent to the CAP and 4 diplomas equivalent to the professional baccalaureate.

Veolia trains Veolia

Veolia is both the main actor and the director of its training policy. The Group has various in-house trainers for core business activities. Striking a balance between permanent trainers and ad hoc contributors from within the Group’s companies and external experts ensures the relevance of content and enhances cohesion, performance and added value. In-house trainers and participants are also responsible for conveying the corporate culture.

Educational partnerships

Veolia has deployed an active policy of partnerships with employment and training operators in the regions and a number of educational partnerships.

For example, in the UK, Veolia has drawn up numerous agreements, particularly with the University of Northampton for high-level waste management training and the Institute of Leadership & Management for manager qualification programs.

Management programs rolled out in Northern Europe (NEST) and Asia (STREAM) are developed in partnership with Hamburg University and the EM Lyon Business School.

Employee integration

JIVE is a training and integration week aimed at newly recruited or promoted managers in the Group, across all business lines and countries. This international and cross-functional onboarding system aims to help them learn more about the Group, create an internal and international network, embrace Veolia culture and values and give meaning to their day-to-day activities to support a global strategy. This program is punctuated by discussions with professionals, meetings with managers, site visits and brainstorming meetings. In 2019, nearly 740 managers took part, including 35% women and 40% international managers from 40 countries. In 2020, JIVE could not be held due to the health conditions tied to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Manager development programs

The management offering covers all Group employees with a management role. From local manager to executives, the Group proposes programs to develop managerial skills.

Local manager development programs

Local managers are a key performance driver. Key elements of the Company’s social fabric, they are offered courses focused on their business lines and specific situations. These operational training sessions aim to increase the professionalism of local managers and perfect their skills. They are rolled out by the different Group Business Units and countries, such as SARP and Waste recycling and recovery in France and the Sparks program in Poland.

Programs to train managers in specific challenges

  • For Veolia’s Asia zone managers, a mobile training program covering all functions has been jointly set up. The STREAM (Study and Training Expedition for Asian Managers) program  is an itinerant training program for managers from all functions, which aims to facilitate the sharing of experience and the exchange of best practices between managers within the same zone. Zone visits during the various sessions are an opportunity to discover the flagship projects and industry benchmarks of each country. 
  • NEST is a similar program rolled out in the Northern Europe zone. The final sessions of these programs are held jointly to promote cooperation between the zones.

Updated learning methods

Digital technology has become a key development strategy for employee training. As a result, several awareness-raising and business training courses are provided via e-learning or blended learning.

Different formats are proposed to encourage employee learning and develop their skills in all learning situations: 

  • collectively, through collective intelligence, design thinking, codevelopment and peer learning workshops;
  • as part of personal development through coaching and mentoring schemes.

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the role of digital technology and the development of new learning methods combining teaching, webinars, virtual classrooms, coaching and collective problem solving or individual projects presented to a jury of internal experts, contributing to a wider skills development system. Certain geographic zones strengthened their training actions and capitalized on the period of health measures to train employees. This was the case in Latin America where the digitization of training was recommended: all employees participated in at least one training course to strengthen knowledge of workplace health and safety issues and develop skills.

As an example, the Group’s Compliance Department has developed and deployed e-learning training with the campus, dedicated to combating corruption, conflicts of interest and influence peddling. In 2020, nearly 16,700 employees received training. It is an essential aspect of the Group’s compliance policy that everyone has a perfect understanding of the challenges posed by these issues and is reminded of the best practices to adopt. It is an essential aspect of the Group’s compliance policy that each manager has a perfect understanding of the challenges of these issues and a reminder of the best practices to adopt. This online training is an opportunity not only to underline essential principles, but also to raise all employees’ awareness of these issues, by reminding them that the Group views the rules contained in its “anti-corruption Code of conduct” as crucially important. 

In addition, a dedicated module was designed and deployed to help managers understand climate change issues and the Group’s commitments to reducing the carbon footprint of both Veolia and its customers. 

As part of the digital transformation, new tools are now available such as the “learning@Veolia” platform, which aims to increase the number of e-learning courses (240 courses available to all units); the main courses in number of employees concerned are: “My heath reflexes” launched during the health crisis, ethics and compliance training, the fight against everyday sexism and the climate e-learning. The roll-out of this Learning Management System helps accelerate the distribution of these new training programs. In 2020, over 41,000 employees accessed the platform, with nearly 480,000 connections. 

In November 2020, “Digital passport” training sessions were transferred from Netexplo to the new Veolia platform. This will help improve recording of the number of trainees and training hours.

Reinforcement of commercial development

The Sales Academy was launched by a working group dedicated to skills development, as part of the commercial development center of excellence. It brings together around twenty representatives of Business Units, reflecting Veolia’s commercial diversity: geographic locations, types of sales, size and commercial challenges which the Business Units encounter. 

This working group has already helped: 

  • identify a range of skills, processes and tools with which teams should be familiar to cover the entire sales process. A list of 47 capabilities has been defined; 
  • compile a list of training sessions dedicated to the sales teams across the Group. 120 training sessions were listed.

This dual mapping helped define the Group’s development priorities and to produce seven training courses targeting the main commercial development contributors in each Group entity. 

The Sales Academy strengthens the consistency and performance of development teams across zones worldwide. Nearly 900 employees follow this course digitally, supported by over 150 internal tutors. These courses are deployed in over 20 Business Units. The blended learning experience begins with an interactive and fun e-learning, followed by coaching sessions and includes practical workshops for a long-term impact on behavior with customers and internally.

Anticipating transformation and skills requirements (eRHgo)

eRHgo is a joint venture in the Lyon region based on the shared commitment of its founders: L’Olympique Lyonnais and Veolia. eRHgo is both a tool for innovative and responsible forward management of jobs and skills and an HR laboratory: the Group is firmly committed to this approach, which promotes equal opportunities by no longer using CVs. eRHgo is a tool to help operating staff make decisions. It helps refresh recruitment and mobility practices: opening up to different profiles, professional gateways.

The approach relies on observing capacities used on a daily basis in work or experience outside of work.

Management commitment

Veolia’s ambitions and strategy require consistency and cohesion. The Group’s Executive Management accompanies managers in their supervisory role through a common value framework and involvement in decision-making.

Manager’s Code of conduct

In order to strengthen cohesion and solidarity in the Group’s general interest, Veolia established the Manager’s Code of conduct in 2012. It is based on the Group’s five values: responsibility, solidarity, respect, innovation and customer focus. For each of these values, the Code reflects the Group’s collective commitment and the cooperative and individual conduct expected of managers, which they must promote with their teams.

Employee engagement survey

As part of its sustainable development commitment, Veolia undertook to promote each employee’s professional development and commitment, with notably a 2020 objective of maintaining the manager commitment rate at over 80%.

After three editions of the manager commitment survey in 2013, 2015 and 2017 with a panel of 5,000 managers, the Group designed and implemented a new survey in 2019 for an extended panel of 80,000 employees.

The engagement index and the positive response rate to the ethics and values question are included in Veolia’s multifaceted performance indicators. The “Voice of Resourcers” engagement survey, launched in a new format in 2019 in articulation with Veolia Purpose, was conducted in 2020 with an extended panel of over 80,0000 employees. 

This survey in now conducted annually, demonstrating Veolia’s interest in the employee experience and ascertaining employee expectations in the field, their perception of the business and their professional situation. The 2020 “Voice of Resourcers” edition provides an updated view of the social climate, providing key indicators and trends for employee commitment and their understanding of the Company’s vision, policies and culture.

The 2020 “Voice of Resourcers” helps: 

  • supplement HR performance indicators at different levels of the organization (Group, zone, country);
  • support managers by providing tools updated for interaction and feedback with teams;
  • demonstrate, once again, the importance of HR innovation and dialogue with employees at Veolia.

The survey was conducted over three weeks in November 2020 with over 80,000 employees, based on a questionnaire available in 15 languages and adapted to a large audience, as follows: 

  • 5,000 key Group managers in 55 countries (questionnaire in 10 languages);
  • all employees in 14 Business Units: : Germany, Argentina, Canada, China, France Water, USA, Ireland, Morocco, Poland, Czech Republic, Waste Solutions, United Kingdom, VESA and VERI. 

All employees on the panel were invited to answer the questionnaire online. Digital tools were set-up to provide everyone with easy access to the questionnaire. 

The survey participation rate was another success: 90% for key managers (+8 points vs. 2019) and 70% for the full panel (+12 points vs. 2019). 

The 2020 results were strong as a whole, and reflect an organization in movement, where employees feel the changes. In general, the strategic vision and trust are improving amongst managers, who have adopted the Purpose and see themselves in the “We are Resourcers” slogan.

The overall engagement index increased three points (87%) for the panel as a whole and 2 points (94%) for managers: these extremely high levels benefit once again from support, in particular, for the question regarding the usefulness of the activity / employee contribution. The commitment index is calculated based on questions relating to the clarity of working objectives, the usefulness of the contribution, the work atmosphere, pride of belonging and whether or not they would recommend working at Veolia to their friends and family.

In addition, management of the health crisis is praised by a large majority of employees: 90% of employees consider that Veolia took the right measures to deal with the Covid-19 crisis and 94% of managers believe their entity knows how to adapt to the business impacts and bounce back. 

The overall results of this survey were presented to the Group’s Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of Veolia Environnement. The results per zone were sent to zone directors and human resources directors, which organize feedback with the surveyed employees. 

Action plans will be established based on the overall results of each zone and will be implemented during the first-half of 2021.

Compensation policy

Veolia applies a comprehensive compensation policy that is consistent with the Company’s results and encompasses the following components: wages, social protection, employee savings and retirement.

This policy is based on the following principles

  • offering fair compensation in accordance with local markets;
  • guaranteeing competitive fixed and variable compensation which reflects the Company’s results;
  • harmonizing the calculation bases and methods for the variable components of executive compensation across the Group;
  • optimizing coverage of healthcare and insurance costs in the main countries where the Group operates;
  • harmonizing existing employee savings plans;
  • securing existing pension plans in the various countries where the Group operates by privileging defined contribution plans.

Compensation

The annual average gross compensation for all Group employees was €33,185 in 2020 (€33,775 in 2019). 

This decrease is mainly due to high inflation in Latin America (primarily Argentina), which led to a depreciation in the currency; to Veolia’s entry into new countries and new contracts employing a primarily worker population (Indonesia, Peru, Colombia).

In 2020, average gross compensation was €33,767 for men (€34,342 in 2019), and €30,844 for women (€31,473 in 2019), representing an average difference of €2,923. 

This difference is mainly due to the distribution of men and women between different jobs. Women occupy 28.2% of managerial roles, which partially explains this difference in average salary. Veolia has therefore set ambitious targets to increase female representation in managerial roles: 30% by the end of 2020.

These averages are only indicative, however, and should be interpreted with an element of caution. They correspond to a wide diversity of situations due to the nature of the professions and jobs carried out and their geographic location. This data is also affected by variations in exchange rates.

It is Veolia policy to respect equality between men and women who have the same employment conditions and qualifications. For this purpose, the Group is particularly vigilant regarding the application of a fair wage policy.

Social protection

Social protection encompasses all benefits relating to healthcare costs (incurred by the employee and his or her beneficiaries) and additional healthcare and insurance coverage (employee coverage for life accidents: disability and death).

In France, a standardized Group scheme in terms of healthcare costs was deployed from 2017; it now covers over 7,000 employees. For additional healthcare and insurance plans, all Group managerial staff receive, in addition to coverage provided by external insurers, additional coverage based on a unique scheme in the event of death or accidental disability at work. This additional coverage is entirely funded through captive insurance by a wholly-owned Veolia Environnement subsidiary.

Due to its international scope, the Group must take these factors into account and ensure that certain basic principles are applied:

  • comply with local legislation and, wherever possible, implement complementary social protection systems in order to guarantee fair coverage for all its employees;
  • ensure that the Company management is sound by controlling the costs associated with benefit obligations;
  • fund plans through employer and employee co-investment insofar as possible so that each party assumes responsibility.

In 2019, Veolia launched an audit of its international social protection systems, which aims to study the opportunities to standardize and implement minimum coverage. An initial stage was reached in 2019 with the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, which were audited and which now have largely standardized schemes. In 2020, this process was extended to include other countries and particularly Japan, Spain and the Czech Republic. The objective of this audit is to have covered countries where the Group has significant activities by the end of 2021.

For information purposes, note that 2020 contributions for the 51,685 Group employees in France totaled nearly: 

  • €61.12 million for healthcare costs;
  • €37.17 million for additional healthcare and insurance coverage.

Profit-sharing and incentive schemes

The Group’s French entities are generally covered by profit-sharing agreements when they fulfill the necessary employee and financial conditions.

In general, the Group favors extending incentive agreements in France to give employees a vested interest in the performance of the companies to which they are assigned, based on criteria tailored specifically to the business in question. At the end of 2020, approximately 80% employees of French entities were covered by an incentive agreement.

In 2020, profit-sharing and incentive payments for the French entities including Veolia Environnement, in respect of 2019, totaled €49 million. Amounts invested in 2020 by employees of French entities in respect of 2019 profit-sharing and incentive payments totaled €32.8 million (1) , or 67% of the sums distributed.

 Added to this amount is a contribution from the Group’s French entities amounting to €3.7 million.

Employee savings and retirement savings

The Group savings plan (PEG)

Since 2002, Group employees have been able to save in the medium term with the help of their company via the Group savings plan (PEG).

In addition, Veolia Environnement offers its employees and the employees of its French subsidiaries under an agreement signed with labor and management partners (December 2012), access to a Group retirement savings plan (“PERCO G”). This plan allows employees who so wish to prepare for retirement under advantageous tax and social security conditions. . In 2020, a new amendment was signed changing the PERCO to a PERCOL and enabling Group employees to benefit from the advantages offered by the Pacte Law.

At the end of 2020, employee savings in France in the two Group savings plans totaled €471.7 million broken down as follows: 

  • €422.9 million in the PEG held by 75,340 current and former employees; 
  • €48.8 million in the PERCOL G held by 33,043 current and former employees.

Company investment funds invested in Veolia shares (employee share ownership) total €218.3 million in 2020 and are held in the PEG. 

The range of dedicated company investment funds (monetary, equity, bonds, and diversified) totaling €253.3 million is held in the PEG and the PERCOL G (1) .

(1) Including blocked current accounts for €4.5 million.

Employee share ownership

The last transaction took place in 2020. For the first time since 2007, Veolia wished to enable 137,826 employees (2) in 31 countries (in Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America and Latin America) to benefit from a leveraged offer in addition to the standard offer. With these two offers, employees benefited from: 

  • a secure offer guaranteeing the capital invested and the employer’s contribution, as well as a multiple in the event of an increase in the Veolia share price; 
  • a standard offer with a discounted subscription price. 

Subscriptions therefore totaled 51,184, representing a subscription rate of 37.14% Group-wide, with rates in excess of 80% in several countries, including South Korea (100%), Hungary (99%), Romania (100%), China (94%), the Czech Republic (88%), Hong Kong (93%) and Slovakia (83%). Accordingly, the total amount subscribed was €158 million (3), including leverage and the Group’s additional contribution. 

As of December 31, 2020, nearly 120,000 current and former Group employees were Veolia Environnement shareholders, holding 4.06% of its share capital.

(2) Including the UK, with deployment of a Share Incentive Plan.

(3) Excluding the UK

Performance share plan

In 2020, Veolia deployed a performance share plan aimed at 421 beneficiaries, including executives, high potential staff and key Group contributors, including corporate officers. This plan, which was launched in 2020 with an expiry date in 2023 following the publication of the financial statements, replaces the plan granted in 2019. The conditions for granting performance shares are subject to the following conditions: 

  • beneficiaries must remain with the Group until the end of the three-year vesting period i.e. until expiry of the plan scheduled for 2023;
  • a performance condition tied to the attainment of the following internal and external criteria:
    • an economic criterion;
    • a stock market criterion;
    • criteria relating to the Company’s Purpose. 

Pension plans

Pension plans are directly managed in the various countries where the Group operates based on the applicable labor and tax legislation. There are two types of pension plans:

  • state pension plans;
  • company pension plans (defined benefit and defined contribution plans).

The Group pension plan policy is to replace defined benefit pension plans, if possible, with defined contribution pension plans that are more cost-effective.

Guarantee that diversity and fundamental human and social rights are respected

Social cohesion and stability, respect for diversity and equal opportunities and the fight against discrimination are all very important to the Group. Veolia considers diversity and social cohesion as an asset and a driver of performance. Moreover, the Group views diversity as a priority, as it ensures internal cooperation, commitment and employee loyalty.

Non-compliance with human and social rights has a direct impact, leading to labor disputes, disengagement and damage to the employer brand.

Consequently, Veolia aims for innovative and respectful labor relations with its internal stakeholders, which allows it to provide collective solutions.

Workforce cohesion and social dialogue

Policy and commitments

Veolia is particularly vigilant regarding labor relations, as it contributes to greater workforce cohesion, the implementation of human resources policies, and the Group’s economic and social performance.

As part of its sustainable development commitments, Veolia has made commitment 9 to Guarantee that diversity and fundamental human and social rights are respected within the Company. It has set an objective to implement a social labour relations organisation covering 95% of its employees by 2020.

This commitment is sponsored within the Executive Committee by Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert, Senior Executive Vice-President Human Resources.

As part of its Purpose, Veolia encourages social dialogue, particularly within staff representative bodies, which help employees to adopt the collective project. Mr. Antoine Frérot and the Group Human Resources Department met the French and European trade union and employee representatives on two occasions to share and discuss the definition of Veolia’s Purpose in February and April 2019.

This commitment no. 9 is currently at the core of Veolia’s Purpose and therefore contributes to promoting social dialogue in all geographies where Veolia operates.

Change in the rate of coverage by a social dialogue body

In 2020, 86% (√) of employees were covered by a social dialogue body.

With an extremely high rate of 86%, social dialogue is at the core of Veolia’s Purpose (nearly 1,400 agreements signed in 2020). Nonetheless, due to the development of its industrial activities, Veolia has decreased the number of representatives for its municipal business lines. In addition, certain countries where Veolia’s presence has increased since 2015 do not authorize the set-up of employee dialogue systems.

Functioning modalities

To advance the quality and development of labor relations, Veolia ensures that there is effective dialogue with employees at all levels of the organization:

  • at company or site level, a place for negotiations on many issues that impact employees’ daily lives. Within Veolia, 1,369 (√) labor agreements signed with business units supplement the Group directives and agreements;
  • at country level, which includes the formal structures for consultation and dialogue that handle all transversal national issues;
  • at Group level in the corporate offices and with the Group French and European Works Councils.

In collective bargaining negotiations, Veolia draws on both direct relationships with trade union and employee representatives, as well as the joint organizations created according to the rules of each country.

The agreements to create Group French and European Works Councils were both subject to an agreement reviewed in 2015. Taking into account the change in the Group’s scope and the experience gained from the previous agreement helped bolster and modernize Group labor-management relations in France and in Europe.

Overview of collective agreements

In 2020, nearly 1,400 new collective agreements were signed at entity or company level or with Group bodies in each country. All of these collective agreements impact the Company’s labor and therefore economic performance.

Breakdown of issues covered by signed agreements at global level

These agreements have been signed in 38 countries where Veolia operates. The five main countries are France, Japan, Germany, Poland and Brazil. 

At the end of 2020, there were 7,533 employee representatives worldwide. 

There were 91 strikes in 2020, representing 0.04% of the total number of days worked.

Role of the Group’s committees

Through an agreement, Veolia has implemented a Group French Works Council and a Group European Works Council. The Group European Works Council represents more than two-thirds of Veolia employees. It is made up of 17 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom.

The Group Works Councils are key players in Veolia’s transformation. They receive information on the activity, the financial position and the employment situation. They must be informed of restructuring, acquisition or disposal plans. They are also informed and consulted each year to exchange ideas on the Group’s strategic directions and their social impacts.

The agreements signed with the trade union representatives of the Group France level and agreements in the form of joint commitments made under the Group European Works Council demonstrate the will of Executive Management to structure unique relations with employee representatives and thus contribute to the Group’s actions on behalf of all its employees.

Annual discussion on Group strategy with the Group French and European Works Councils

Since 2015, management meets every year with members of the Group French and European Works Councils to discuss the Group’s strategic guidelines and its HR impacts. This annual discussion provides a shared understanding of the strategic and commercial challenges and their impacts on the workforce, employment and skills.

Support for changes in jobs and skills

In 2018, members of the Group European Works Council and the Group Human Resources Department signed an agreement in the form of a letter of undertaking regarding support for changes in jobs and skills in relation to the Group’s strategic guidelines. This letter of undertaking results from a working group made up of
representatives from different European countries.
Ten commitments were defined, notably for skills and their renewal or adaptation, workplace equality, the impact of digital on work and passing on knowledge between generations. These are to be supported and promoted via country social dialogue spaces, aiming to implement specific actions encouraging:

  • a shared understanding of Group strategy and its adaptation to different countries;
  • establishment of social diagnoses to objectively take advantage of changes in jobs and skills;
  • the definition of appropriate action plans in view of identified economic and social issues.

Continued social dialogue during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis 

Social dialogue has been sustained since the beginning of the health crisis, with the setting of weekly digital meetings bringing together Group trade union representatives, the Works Council secretaries and the France Director representing employees. The office of the Group European Works Council met every two weeks.

Discussions focused on the health and safety of operating employees and the definition of operating methods for the business lines; monitoring of the health situation and employee support (set-up of a psychological support unit to prevent vulnerability); organization and work methods including working from home and links with operating teams; implementation of country measures (furlough and payment of a recognition bonus to nearly 25,000 employees in France). 

Social dialogue also considered the economic and social impacts of the health crisis. 

Regular reports were prepared, both in France and at global level, to monitor active employees and measures implemented to ensure continued activity at all sites. These reports were shared with local employee representative bodies. All social dialogue and Group bodies (plenary meetings and Group French and Europe Works Council meetings) met digitally and, in addition to monitoring the health crisis, considered the Impact 2023 strategy implementation dossiers and the Suez acquisition project, examining the related information, consultations and viewpoints.

Training of trade union partners

Training employee representatives in the performance of their duties is key to high quality social dialogue on the Group’s economic and human resources issues. Training representatives also recognizes the importance of Group employees and their representatives as key internal stakeholders. Members of the Group European Works Council have therefore received high-level training since 2010 to more broadly address the cultural diversity of trade unions and the plurality of Veolia’s businesses and their challenges. As part of the implementation of a European letter of undertaking signed on May 30, 2018, members of the Group European Works Council received training in 2019 entitled “How to implement the European letter of undertaking regarding support for changes to jobs and skills” to allow them to share existing national practices in the matter, prepare to circulate and support the letter of undertaking within social dialogue spaces in each country and anticipate priority work on the commitments.

Central French trade union representatives can receive training leading to a certificate established in partnership with Sciences Po Paris and the “Dialogues” association. Under the 2010 Group France agreement, reviewed in 2020, trade union seminars were set up by each organization in order to improve their structure and define the priorities of the Group’s employee policy. These trade union seminars are renewed each year and are the subject of an open dialogue session with Group human resources management. The new agreement on the quality and development of social dialogue signed in 2020 also includes a general system for union career management and to support representatives at the end of their mandates.

The new agreement on the quality and development of social dialogue signed in 2020 also includes a general system for union career management and to support representatives at the end of their mandates. Training sessions on social dialogue and collective bargaining may also be implemented under this social dialogue agreement. In addition, in 2020, Veolia in France is the first company to partner with Afpa (national agency for adult vocational training) to support employee representatives in their skills certification process.

Group France agreements and commitments given by the Group European Works Council

Pursuant to the securitization law, two Directors representing employees were appointed in 2014 by the Group French and European Works Councils respectively, to sit on the Veolia Environnement Board of Directors for four years, until October 15, 2018. Mr. Pavel Pasa was reappointed by the Group European Works Council in May 2018. In September 2018, Mr. Franck Leroux was elected by the Group French Works Council. Their terms of office will end in October 2022.

An agreement on the quality and the development of labor relations within Veolia in France was signed in early 2020. This Group France agreement, which replaced the 2010 agreement on the same topic, notably included the implementation of a comprehensive support, promotion and recognition system as part of the trade union scheme.

Amendment 2 to the 2016 agreement covering the setup of a Group retirement savings plan (PERCO) was signed in April 2019.

An agreement was signed in the form of a letter of undertaking with the Group European Works Council in 2018 on changes to skills and jobs, particularly with regards to the Company’s strategic direction. This agreement supplemented the Group’s management commitments with the Group European Works Council on prevention, health and safety.

As part of the 2015 agreement on the Group’s strategic direction, representatives of the Group French Works Council, French trade union representatives and members of the Group European Works Council met in April 2019 to discuss Group strategy and its social consequences, in the presence of executives in charge of strategy and operations. These two days of discussion led to additional questions and answers presented during plenary sessions. On this occasion, the themes of ethics, the Sapin 2 law and the corporate duty of care were presented and discussed.

An agreement on the generation contract for the Group in France was renewed on November 15, 2017, in line with the one signed in 2013. It focuses specifically on the integration of young people and the employment of older people.

A new Group France agreement on the forward management of jobs and skills was signed on March 7, 2017.

A 2015 Group France agreement clarified the means of exchanging points of view on the Group’s strategic direction within employee representative bodies.

Adherence to the Global Deal

In accordance with its commitments to sustainable development, notably commitment 9 regarding diversity and fundamental human and social rights, Veolia has adhered to the Global Deal.

The Global Deal is a platform created by the Swedish government, publicized by the French Ministry of Labor and developed with the ILO and OECD, partners and founders of the Swedish initiative. It aims to tackle the challenges of a global economy and labor market by reinforcing a balanced and responsible approach through social dialogue.

The Global Deal brings together different stakeholders: governments, companies, unions and other organizations at national, local and global level.

Adherence relates to three key areas: a voluntary commitment, sharing knowledge to create an open and responsible social dialogue, and sharing best practices between Global Deal stakeholders. Veolia’s commitments and initiatives, as well as its monitoring and evaluation of social dialogue initiatives, were mentioned in the “Global Deal flagship reports” published jointly by the OECD and the International Labor Organization. This publication explains how social dialogue is a response to current challenges in the labor market and global economy.

Veolia participates actively in Global Deal France working groups, notably on the future of work and changes to skills. Veolia’s international skills-based labor relations experience was presented as part of the publication “members of the global deal commit to the social G7”.

Diversity policy and approach

Policy and commitments

As part of its Purpose and the Impact 2023 strategic program, Veolia gave commitments in favor of its employees with a 2023 target. These commitments comprise several objectives, including diversity.

The sponsor of this objective is Jean-Marie Lambert, Group’s Human Resources Director and member of the Executive Committee.

Diversity policy and inclusion

Diversity is an integral part of sustainable development commitments. The Group undertakes to guarantee that diversity and fundamental human and social rights are respected within the Company.

Diversity is an equity, performance, appeal and credibility issue for the Group. To encourage diversity, Veolia implemented a policy several years ago founded on the belief that all employees should share the values of respect and solidarity.

In the 2020-2023 Diversity & Inclusion letter of undertaking signed in 2020 by the Group Human Resources Director, Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert, Veolia confirms its desire for an increasingly diverse and inclusive company that guarantees respect, equity and individual social advancement. This letter recaps three Group priorities: 

  • guarantee fair and non-discriminatory HR practices, from induction until the end of careers, for all employee categories;
  • guarantee non-discriminatory access to employment (age, origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.); 
  • guarantee the advancement of social dialogue and employee freedom of speech.

It underlines that the Group is particularly committed to: 

  • continuing implementation of actions plans promoting diversity and gender equality (development of local WEDO networks/salary and career equality between men and women);
  • developing and/or creating inclusion programs for people with disabilities; 
  • developing and/or creating LGBTI inclusion programs in line with Veolia’s support for the UN recommendations issued in this regard to companies; 
  • developing and/or creating social inclusion and advancement action plans.

The Group strictly complies with Article 225-1 of the French Criminal Code, which defines 25 criteria for discrimination: Physical appearance, Age, State of health, Belonging or not belonging to a so-called race, Membership or not of a nation, Sex, Gender identity, Sexual orientation, Pregnancy, Disability, Origin, Religion, Bank account number, Political opinions, Philosophical opinions, Family situation, Genetic characteristics, Morals, Surname, Trade union activities, Place of residence, Ethnicity or not, Loss of autonomy, Ability to speak a foreign language, Vulnerability due to economic situation.

Diversity approach

The diversity policy is supported by a global network of officers whose duties are to:

  • implement commitments with regards to local issues;
  • establish diagnoses and action plans adapted to contexts;
  • measure results;
  • promote innovative actions which support Veolia values.

To measure the impact of its diversity actions, Veolia monitors several indicators.

Diversity indicators :

  • gender equality: the employment rate for women, the percentage of women managers, the percentage of women in management recruitment, the percentage of women executives, and the percentage of women on Group company Boards of Directors, including the Veolia Environnement Board;
  • disability: the employment rate for employees with disabilities;
  • seniors: the employment rate for employees over the age of 55;
  • young people: the employment rate for employees under the age of 30.

Gender equality

To attract talented people and ensure women are present at all levelsof the Group and in all its businesses, the Group has drawn up an action plan focusing on gender equality in the workplace so as to:

  • develop gender equality in its jobs and operations;
  • increase the number of women in the Group’s executive bodies and management;
  • promote gender equality in employee representative bodies.

To encourage diversity and gender equality in the workplace, Veolia has set itself quantified objectives:

  • women to make up 40% of the Veolia Environnement Board of Directors;
  • women to make up 30% of managers in 2020;
  • 50% of women appointed among the Group’s Top 500 Executives between 2020 and 2023.

Diversity at the heart of social dialogue

As part of the Group European Works Council, a working group was created with representatives from different European countries to identify diversity themes and priority actions to be shared within the Country’s Labor Relations Spaces. These diversity priority actions will supplement the ten priority actions in the European letter of undertaking on support for Business changes and skills signed in May 2018. Equal treatment and disability is one of the priority actions identified in this regard.

Support for the United Nations LGBTI standards of conduct for business

In accordance with its CSR commitments, its human rights policy and its adherence to the Global Compact, Veolia supports the United Nations standards of conduct for business regarding combating discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. These five standards were developed by the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A commitment to inclusive growth

On the launch of “Business for Inclusive Growth” in August 2019, an initiative coordinated by the OECD for inclusive growth, Mr. Antoine Frérot, underlined the commitment by the entire Group to inclusive growth.

Mindful of the fact that inequalities are reaching record levels, a coalition of 34 major international companies (including Veolia) pledged to implement specific actions to advance human rights throughout their value chains, to create inclusive working environments and reinforce inclusion within their internal and external ecosystems. This initiative will extend and supplement the efforts deployed by G7 countries to promote equal opportunities, resolve regional disparities and combat gender discrimination.

Roll-out of diversity commitments

Numerous actions have been taken to promote Group diversity and are notably developed via the human resources initiatives process. In 2019, 51 countries contributed to collecting human resources initiatives, with more than 310 projects identified.  Nearly a hundred of these projects were presented in the social accountability, diversity and cohesion category; 13 are highlighted in the publication “Human resources initiatives in 2019”. The prize in this category was presented to Colombia for an initiative aimed at reconciling the integration of vulnerable people and environmental protection. Human resource initiatives were collected again in January 2021, with the social accountability, diversity and cohesion category included once more. Online debates (HR&co) are regularly organized with the entire HR community to promote and accompany the process of duplicating best practice (Copy&Adapt), with the aim of making these practices more visible and encouraging them to be copied.

Long-term partnerships

The Group is a partner and/or a member of various organizations that promote diversity and equal opportunity, notably the UN Global Compact.

In June 2016, Veolia partnered with the Elles Bougent (“Women on the Move”) association, which organizes on-site meetings between female students and women sponsors, current female engineers or technicians or representatives, male engineers or technicians. The accounts of these professionals on the reality of their career paths demonstrates that technical jobs are open to young girls. This partnership extends the actions deployed by the Group’s Relations with Schools and Universities Department.

As part of this partnership, Veolia took part in the “Girls on the Move” initiative launched in 22 countries during the week of Friday, March 8, 2019. Over 40 events were organized by different Veolia entities across five continents (site visits, school events, etc.) to demonstrate to young girls that they could also work for Veolia. These activities were carried out with over 2,300 young girls, with the assistance of nearly 100 Veolia participants worldwide. This was a record participation rate for Veolia, with an increase in figures on 2019 despite the health crisis. Veolia now has nearly 160 women sponsors in France.

Veolia has also partnered with the French Association of Diversity Managers (AFMD).

Sport as a driver of diversity

Veolia relies on sport and its values to promote diversity. During the traditional annual Diversity Race in September 2020, including the “La E-Run for Diversity” held in parallel for the first time, over 800 men and women from Veolia entities in France and other Veolia countries represented our Group despite the health crisis. It was an opportunity to come together and share a convivial moment of team-building and healthy emulation and confirm our desire to surpass our limits, as well as our teamspirit and confidence in the future. Over 3,000 employees have participated in the Diversity Race since the beginning of Veolia’s commitment in 2014. Veolia is involved in this event through its partnership with the French Federation of Corporate Sports (FFSE), and an increasing number of employees in France and Veolia’s countries are taking part onsite and now through the e-race.

Professional equality

Gender equality

To attract talented people and ensure women are present at all levels of the Group and in all its businesses, the Group has drawn up an action plan focusing on gender equality in the workplace so as to:

  • develop gender equality in its operations;
  • increase the number of women in the Group’s executive bodies and management;
  • promote gender equality in representative bodies.

To encourage diversity and gender equality in the workplace, Veolia has set itself quantified objectives:

  • women to make up 40% of the Veolia Environnement Board of Directors;
  • women to make up 30% of managers in 2020;
  • women to make up 25% of executives in 2023.

At the end of 2020, 21.4% (√) of Group employees were women, including 28.2% (√) of managers, and 21% of executives. Since 2016, Veolia has met the 2017 French legal obligation to have at least 40% women on its Board of Directors. In 2020, 45% of Directors were women1.

(1) Excluding Directors representing employees in accordance with the AFEP-MEDEF Code.

Several initiatives promoting gender equality in the workplace have been rolled out in the various countries where the Group operates:

the WEDO network: Veolia’s internal gender equality network launched in 2016, bringing together Veolia’s men and women who wish to promote gender equality within the Group. This network, sponsored by members of the Executive Committee, has nearly 3,000 employees from 48 countries at the end of 2020. It now has around twenty local networks across five continents, responsible for discussing and implementing local action plans. An initial seminar bringing together around ten of these networks was organized in December 2019 in Brussels to share existing initiatives and collectively discuss those to be implemented; six meetings (How do WEDO) were organized in 2020 to continue discussing and sharing best practices on diversity issues;

a development program entitled “Women In Leadership” launched by Veolia in North America and progressively rolled out in other geographic zones: Europe (France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium), Africa (Morocco), Latin America , Asia/ Oceania and the Middle East. This 11-month coaching program seeks to create development opportunities for women managers in the organization. It coached 84 women in 23 countries in 2020. The opening sessions, which are normally held face-to-face, were held in virtual classrooms, using the educational methodologies of flipped classrooms and dynamic training sequences. The success of “WIL” is demonstrated by its high satisfaction rate. In 2020, the program obtained a satisfaction rate of 87% from participants and 86% for their managers;

In line with its commitment to combat workplace sexism signed in France in 2016 by Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert, the Group Human Resources Director, an online module to raise awareness and combat everyday sexism was launched in  September 2020 with a pilot group of 1,000 people in France. Over 90% of users recommend this module, making it an efficient tool for better understanding and managing sexism at work. This module supplements the awareness actions already conducted within several Veolia entities;

In 2019, Veolia took part in a survey in France supervised by the High Council for Workplace Equality (CSEP) which considers parenting at work. It was deployed online with all employees in France. More than 7,500 employees participated in this survey, which helped draw lessons to supplement existing action plans or to create new systems in favor of a positive work-life balance. Several entities propose a parenting guide, including Société des Eaux de Marseille in France and Veolia in Australia / New Zealand, which introduced specific systems to support new parents;

For the male/female professional equality index that companies with over 250 employees in France are required to publish, the results of Veolia entities in France are mostly above 75/100 (legal minimum), with an overall index at 90/100. This result reflects Veolia’s efforts over many years to create appealing and adapted conditions to allow women to reach the same level of pay and career opportunities as men.

Employment and social integration of persons with disabilities

At the end of 2020, 2.5% 2 of Veolia employees worldwide had disabilities, i.e. 3,489 employees. In France, this rate was 3.8% 3 and €7.7 million was spent in the protected workers sector. Veolia wishes to change people’s perceptions of disability and the ways it is represented. It also seeks to accompany people with disabilities and their integration.

Veolia’s action strategies are as follows:

  • raise the awareness of Group employees regarding disability;
  • strengthen job protection for persons with disabilities and accompany them so that their disability is recognized;
  • support the ergonomic adaptation of workstations;
  • encourage recruitment and support employers of the protected workers sector (ESAT in France).

(2) Number of employees with declared disabilities compared to the total workforce as of 12/31 in countries where it is possible to declare disability.

(3) Number of employees with declared disabilities compared to the total workforce as of 12/31 in France.

On November 18, 2019, Veolia signed the “Manifesto for the inclusion of disabled people in economic life”, a charter of operational commitments already ratified by around sixty companies in France to:

  • offer an improved welcome to disabled students (internships, work-study contracts);
  • combat stereotypes and discrimination;
  • develop digital access to workstations;
  • support Adapted businesses and Specialized work-based assistance institutions (ESAT);
  • include HR criteria relating to disability in calls for bids.

Veolia has been mindful of disability issues for many years, and deploys actions in different countries where the Group operates.

Several Group entities in different countries have implemented action plans and deployed awareness campaigns to better acknowledge people with disabilities, in accordance with the legal framework in each country. 

Veolia Spain continues to work with the Envera association on the launch of the “Afloramiento de la Discapacidad” campaign, which seeks to help employees with disabilities integrate the workforce.

In Ukraine, in accordance with Ukrainian legislation, 4% of Veolia employees have disabilities. They receive additional days off and hold part-time roles or jobs with special work conditions.

In Sweden, Veolia collaborates with the Swedish organization Samhall which encourages the employment of people with a functional impairment reducing their working capacity. These employees work based on their personal abilities.

In France, during the Week for the Employment of People with Disabilities, the Disability Unit of the Veolia entities located at Aubervilliers organized an awareness-raising event on disability innovations. This took the form of a Handiscover online challenge (presentation of 12 innovations revolutionizing the everyday life of people with disabilities in the four corners of the world).

Other awareness-raising actions were implemented by other Group entities (SARP, Water IDF, VEDIF and RVD IDF): workshops on ‘dys’ issues, a giant disability game, theater outings (CO-Théâtre + Grain2Folie), a Disability and Prevention unit with Klesia, a focus on job retention with the occupational doctor (CMIE) and the Managers unit.

Based on an action implemented by Veolia Spain, Portugal made an external and confidential service available to employees which allows them to respond to their queries about disability and to receive advice on the possibility of having some of their difficulties or limits recognized as a disability.

Development of inter-generational relations

In 2020, 21.1% (√) of the Group’s workforce were seniors (over the age of 55) and 13.8% (√) were young (under the age of 30). Veolia encourages its employees to profit from the knowledge of experienced seniors, as well as the latest professional skills and aptitudes of its young recruits. Veolia maintains the balance between seniors and young people through internal recruiting, mentoring, training, etc.

On the renewal of the generation contract in France, the Human Resources Department developed an e-learning course in collaboration with the Campus in 2018 entitled “Acting as a mentor for young people via a generation contract”. This e-learning for mentors should allow them to understand the generation contract and its objectives, particularly at Veolia: measuring the complexity of the environments which a young person joins, indicating the role and duties of the mentor and finally preparing, formalizing and tracking the young person’s on-boarding and integration process

Interculturality and religious diversity

Veolia has pledged to integrate and respect cultural differences (origin, language, nationality, etc.) within the Group’s organization and operations.

Veolia Australia has developed two training programs that are offered to all employees in order to strengthen relations and respect between the community at large and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Since 2015, 3,758 employees have taken this training program and Veolia has committed to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employment rate of 3%.

In France, specifications covering managerial best practices for religious issues were rolled out in 2017 for oversight purposes and to assist human resources managers likely to face this type of situations

Recruit without discrimination

In 2020, a “Recruit without Discriminating” guide was developed for Veolia recruiters and managers in France, setting out the legislative framework and providing concrete solutions to avoid any risk of discrimination in recruitment. A digital version of this guide will be available in the first quarter of 2021 and supplemented by an e-learning course, “Recruit without discriminating”. This system is accompanied by a one year subscription to the association, A Compétences Egales, a partner in the preparation of the guide. This subscription provides Veolia recruiters with access to best practices in other companies and legal advice and allows them to participate in discussion workshops on this issue.

Promoting diversity and employee commitment

In China, Veolia organizes Ethnic Days in a plant to encourage the cohesion of 11 minorities working within its teams.
In France, SARP launched the second edition of its Olympiads, a team challenge which unites all the subsidiary’s branches around nine events in relation to working safety and performance. Promoting business and team know-how and discussing working methods to improve and encourage teamwork are the objectives of this challenge.
Veolia Water Technologies organized the Annual Sports Day in 2018 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to promote teamwork, encourage acceptance of diversity, mutual respect and to develop a good working atmosphere.

Supporting the most vulnerable employees

Wherever the Group operates, Veolia encourages outreach activities to help the most vulnerable employees.

For this purpose, in Ecuador Veolia has created outreach funds for employees to help them with health, housing, funeral costs or family emergencies. The Company pays a monthly contribution similar to the amount paid by employees. Since the funds were created, 495 grants have been awarded.

In Colombia, the Veolia team have created a new “Environmental Observers” position which is aimed at employees suffering from health problems who are no longer fit to perform their duties. Their role is to maintain and smarten up waste collection points, clean green areas and discourage flytipping.

In France, the Veolia South-West Campus has implemented a professional integration project for refugees via apprenticeships. The project, which is in collaboration with the Hautes-Pyrénées prefecture, the association Atrium FJT and the Tarbes local mission, has helped recruit 3 refugees via an apprenticeship scheme, with a view to their hiring in 2020.

Along with a group of businesses, Veolia works alongside the OFII (French Office of Immigration and Integration) to integrate recognized migrants, particularly through work-study contracts. Several working meetings resulted in a joint recommendation by the group of businesses and the OFII. These initiatives have enabled the reception of migrants to be reinforced, in partnership with the Humando association and the Campus in Île-de-France (France) within the waste activities.

Solidarity fund for Veolia employees in Latin America 

To support employees and their families heavily touched by coronavirus in Latin American countries (particularly Ecuador) and to help them deal with certain economic consequences, the LatamIberia zone, together with VWT and SADE, decided to create the Covid-19 solidarity fund. This fund seeks to cover funeral, medical and child schooling costs not covered by insurance. For each euro given, Veolia Latam-Iberia, VWT and SADE added the same amount.

An active outreach plan

For many years, an Active Outreach Plan has been deployed in France in consultation with trade union and employee representatives to support the most vulnerable employees in view of the social context.
Alongside this, an employee listening and support system has been established under the name “Allô Solidarité” to offer assistance during difficult periods.
Today, employees in France have access to a telephone platform that allows them to discuss their social challenges with professionals.
In 2020, around 370 calls were received, mainly about housing and/ or financial issues.
The partnership with the “Vivons Solidaires” association, since September 2010, helps to tackle social emergencies. The association receives many requests for assistance with emergency housing, food donations, and children’s aid. This association is represented by Group management and trade union organizations which sit on its Board of Directors.

Respect for fundamental rights

Freedom of association and recognition of the right to collective bargaining

Veolia’s commitments are presented in “Workforce cohesion and social dialogue”.

Fight against discrimination

Veolia’s commitments are set out in detail in Sections “Diversity policy and approach” and “Professional equality.”

Elimination of forced or compulsory labor

Veolia prohibits any form of forced or compulsory labor. These commitments are recalled in the Ethics Guide, in particular, the requirement to comply with fundamental international labor standards and the prohibition on the use of forced labor in all its operations. This prohibition also applies to any form of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Abolition of child labor

Veolia strictly prohibits child labor. Minors can work in certain special cases, particularly work-study apprenticeships, but only in compliance with all regulatory provisions. These commitments are listed in the “Ethics Guide,” particularly in regard to compliance with the fundamental international labor standards and the prohibition of child labor.

MAC

PC

1 - Dans votre navigateur, cliquez sur Fichier, puis Imprimer (ou raccourci CMD+P)

2 - At the bottom of the dialog box, click on the PDF drop-down list.

3 - Then Save as PDF.

4 - Web page is saved as PDF.