Through the nature of its activities and businesses, GDF SUEZ plays a central role in the economic, environmental, social and societal challenges that face the planet today. These challenges include climate change, preserving natural resources, promoting access to energy for all, the fight against energy poverty, and the development of local communities.
The fight against global warming is one of the major challenges facing society in the 21st century. Caused by the build-up of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by human activity, this phenomenon has several serious consequences: extreme precipitation in some regions, devastating droughts in others and damage to ecosystems everywhere. All of these impacts are likely to profoundly alter living conditions for populations around the globe.
Energy and environmental transition
Through the nature of its activities, GDF SUEZ has a major responsibility and role to play in the energy and environmental transition that aims to adapt society to the needs of the planet, which will be home to nine billion people by mid-century.
To respond to the energy needs
The Group’s challenge is twofold: to respond to the constant growth in global energy needs (per-capita energy consumption is projected to double by 2050) and to encourage the development of energy efficiency solutions that limit GHG emissions, both within the Group and for its customers.
Preserving natural resources
The exponential growth of the world population, combined with the rising need for services to support global efforts to improve quality of life, have a massive impact on natural resources, including water and biodiversity.
Water in the energy industry
By 2030, the world will face a 40% water shortage in relation to its water needs. Water plays a crucial role in the energy businesses: it is needed to produce electricity (hydroelectric, thermal and renewable power), natural gas and oil, and also to provide energy services.
A central concern in climate change
A basic need for life, water is at the center of climate change and plays a major role in biodiversity. For GDF SUEZ, preserving natural resources and biological diversity are key challenges in its sustainable growth strategy.
Energy poverty and access to energy
1.2 billion people around the world do not have access to electricity, and 2.6 billion depend on traditional biomass to heat their homes and cook their meals. Primarily located in southern hemisphere countries, these communities cannot pursue their economic and social development without access to modern energy sources.
This phenomenon is aggravated by energy poverty, which affects one in four people in Europe. Due to low income and difficulty in securing affordable housing, these individuals continuously struggle to obtain the energy they need to meet their basic needs. This situation often leads to a number of additional financial, social and sanitary problems.
GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d’Energies
GDF SUEZ supports social entrepreneurship through the GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d’Energies initiative. This innovative initiative was launched in 2011 by Group Chairman & CEO Gérard Mestrallet to unify and energize the actions implemented by the Group to promote access to energy in its current and future operating countries. GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d’Energies supports local projects that have a high social impact on communities by giving preference to energy from renewable and/or low CO2 emissions sources. The GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d’Energies initiative helps in three ways: through donations, technical support and investment.
Development with local communities
By nature, GDF SUEZ’s activities and businesses cannot be outsourced or relocated, which anchors the Group to the local communities where it operates. This situation makes dialogue with every stakeholder—including local governments, agencies and non-governmental organizations—an important tool in the Group’s contribution to economic and social development.
Constructive and dynamic relations with these partners are essential for ensuring the societal acceptability of GDF SUEZ’s industrial activities and facilities, as the Group works to provide the services needed for daily life and helps stimulate local job markets.
These challenges are managed on the local and global levels in each of the 70 countries where the Group operates. Serving to guarantee the company’s continued performance and to create shared value, this culture of responsiveness and dialogue has led to lasting partnerships on social and environmental issues.