Article Index

Sustainable and Responsible?

In this context, Veolia asked in a memorandum to the EU Commissariat for Environment dated end of 2007: “Can it be considered as responsible to have the customers pay higher water prices as a result of measures advocated by the Commissariat (i.e. measures to reduce the consumption of water, for the protection of groundwater resources etc..) when the development of other water resources is cheaper?” In other words, when the refection of leaking pipes and the long-term use of existing groundwater is more expensive than the recycling of surface water by sanitation or desalination, why on earth repair pipes and protect groundwater ? And what is the purpose of sustainability? Particularly when it reduces the necessary use of water … and consequently Veolia’s rate of returns! Officially, particularly in Germany, Veolia waves the flag of sustainability, writes detailed papers on the subject, and proclaims brilliant results in environmental matters. How does this image tally with the “profit at the detriment of natural resources” policy advocated in Brussels? In 2006, Veolia also put on the cap of “Responsible Lobbying“ and as such published information on the multinational company’s lobbying activities, paying lip service to the UN Initiative for Transparent Lobbying. In this publication, Veolia admitted to be part of two water organisations (EUREAU and Aquafed), one lobby group for water economy (Business Europe) and one think tank (Confrontationes Europe). However, independent observers of “Corporate Europe Observatory“ have for their part proven its appurtenance to 7 lobbying groups for water, 11 for water economy and 5 think tanks. How can this be reconciled with the “Responsible Lobbying” image?