Known as ‘+1, the ecology turned into actions’, the method is designed to encourage stakeholders to engage in a process of decompartmentalized dialogue on ecological issues with the goal of boosting cooperation and innovation. After a two-year rollout in partnership with bluenove and supported by Comité 21, Veolia is now publicly releasing its method and calling on other businesses and organizations to adopt it so they can work together to accelerate ecological transformation.
From water management to energy transition and the circular economy, ecological solutions are often seen as challenges to established models and balances, meaning they can face obstacles or even a deadlock.
Veolia has a worldwide commitment to ecological transformation. It believes that deeper cooperation between all actors — businesses, investors, employees, and non-profits — is vital, and that there is an urgent need to come up with new ways for these stakeholders to talk to each other and make their contributions.
In 2021, Veolia reached out to several leading actors to help imagine a new consultation model suitable for tackling problems surrounding ecological transformation: bluenove, expert in collective intelligence methods; Usbek & Rica, a future-focused media outlet, and La Recyclerie, an environmentally friendly third place. Together they came up with a collective intelligence method that allows stakeholders with sometimes divergent interests to work to identify a common trajectory and real-world responses.
Tested and approved: a method that has proved effective in tackling a range of issues facing the Group
First trialed in 2021, the +1 method has already seen the participation of over 250 Veolia stakeholders in France and other parts of the world where Veolia is present (Australia and New Zealand, Colombia, Italy, the USA, Japan, the Czech Republic, and the UK).
For example, it is being used as part of the process to draw up Veolia’s strategic program for 2024-2027. ‘+1 Inspire 24-27’ entails almost 150 representatives from all five categories of Veolia stakeholders — employees, clients, shareholders, society, and the planet — working together to discuss Veolia’s strategic choices for the years ahead. These get-togethers are an opportunity to listen to each other’s expectations, suggested actions, and cooperation mechanisms. In France, it has already been used for a local contract: the Arianeo project involving modernization of a waste-to-energy plant for Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan authority. The French Water Committee also uses it to work on challenges relating to territorial water management.
Veolia publicly releases the method and calls on businesses and local authorities to adopt it
By choosing open source to share the method, which can be tailored to every type of organization, Veolia hopes it will become a widely used tool for participation in a shared course of action and accelerating the rollout of solutions that will help as many people as possible.
The +1 method can be transposed to suit countless different contexts, territories and parts of the world, as well as different subjects and challenges. Its role is to amplify cooperation, ideas and innovations. It is an operational tool that can be disseminated across every organization that wants to adopt it.
The experts who designed it are available to help businesses interested in the mechanism.
The +1 process contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 171 (the only cross-disciplinary SDG), which promotes effective partnerships to serve the other 16 goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
‘We have always been convinced that we need to overcome divisions and unify all our stakeholders, despite their differences, if we want to deliver real progress in ecological transformation. By choosing to make our method accessible, we hope that other businesses and organizations will adopt it so that they in turn can leverage cooperation and collective intelligence to support ecological transformation’ says Laurent Obadia, Deputy CEO in charge of Stakeholders and Communications, Advisor to the Chairman.
“What we find so convincing about the +1 mechanism is the idea of dialogue and genuinely working together. A business that opens up its dialogue to its stakeholders is a courageous business. And opening up governance more widely will soon be unavoidable if you want to increase the acceptability of the solutions needed for ecological transformation’ explains Frédérique Lellouche, head of Comité 21.
Summary of the method’s main phases +1, the ecology turned into actions
1- Identify an issue to work on that relates to ecological transformation
2- Select and organize a group of stakeholders from different backgrounds (businesses, non-profits, institutions, residents, local and regional authorities, etc.) with a shared and direct interest in the issue
3- Set up and lead three working sessions, combining inspirational keynote talks with collective intelligence workshops
4- Summarize the discussions and support the group’s members so they can commit to a shared course of action
“The mechanism has three phases: individual reflection, collaboration then alignment. The idea is that each category of stakeholder shares their views with all the others so that points of divergence can be identified and a pathway to shared convergence agreed on’ explains Antoine Brachet, Associate Partner at bluenove, experts in intelligence collective.
1 Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
Veolia Group aims to become the benchmark company for ecological transformation. Present on five continents with nearly 220,000 employees, the Group designs and deploys useful, practical solutions for the management of water, waste and energy that are contributing to a radical turnaround of the current situation. Through its three complementary activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, to preserve available resources and to renew them. In 2022, the Veolia group provided 111 million inhabitants with drinking water and 97 million with sanitation, produced 44 terawatt hours and recovered 61 million tonnes of waste. Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE) achieved consolidated revenue of 42.885 billion euros in 2022. www.veolia.com