Veolia has been recognised as an ABA100® Winner for Business Sustainability in The Australian Business Awards 2016. The Australian Business Award for Business Sustainability recognises organisations that have successfully implemented initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to sustainable business practices.

Veolia is one of the global leaders in environmental solutions, working closely with all aspects of municipal, commercial and industrial organisations, and the communities where they work and live to help them achieve their sustainability goals across water, waste and energy. In 2015, to support this endeavour, Veolia developed Participate, a program which encompasses employee and community engagement to teach individuals, schools, councils and businesses about their role in environmental preservation.

At its heart, the Participate program is designed to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to understand the role of human decisions and actions in causing ecological problems, offering them tangible opportunities to participate in creating a more sustainable future. The Participate Framework looks at providing goals around engagement with their stakeholders on understanding how to reflect critically on how their actions contribute to a sustainable future; utilise tools to support appropriate decision making; actively participate in building a sustainable future; and educate others.

Participate was born from an internal realisation within Veolia that the sustainability education and practices it had been developing and implementing for its workforce and customers could be extended out into the community. As such, the first stage saw the undertaking of a national audit across external and internal sustainability activities. From this it was determined that a more inclusive framework needed to be established, with the fundamental outcome being that all sustainability activities and outcomes needed to focus on a person’s individual desire to contribute to their world through active participation.

From there Veolia developed a program that aimed to connect the community with their workforce and customers through volunteering initiatives; investment in internal and external education programs; establishing a Participate ambassador from each operating region/state; and the creation of a national Participate program calendar. So far the program has engaged over 70% of Veolia’s workforce through digital communications and training, which has corresponded to more than 1000 hours of community volunteering. In addition, Veolia now have an employee advocacy network established which combines environmental sustainability activities with the Participate Ambassador network. This connectivity of their employees is a key driver for the initiative and has also captured with the roll-out of sustainability engagement training which was completed by 87% of all employees.