Gérard Mestrallet’s speech to the 6th New World Forum
GDF SUEZ partnered the 6th New World Forum hosted at the headquarters of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on October 7 and 8 last year. The Group has supported this important global forum since 2011.
Secretary-General, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen… Friends,
It’s already the sixth New World Forum, and how satisfying it is to see just how much interest and commitment it has generated over the years.
This event heightens our awareness of our role and responsibility in the process of building this ‘New World’.
Over the next two days, we will talk about companies, technologies, Europe, Africa, Asia, governance models, energy, cities, and more… because everything is changing. And it is changing us. So as we face these far-reaching transformative – sometimes destabilizing – changes, we have two choices: we can try desperately to hang on to the old world whilst hoping that once the crisis is past we will return to the old order, or we can take a clear look at what is actually happening, adapt accordingly and decide to embrace change.
This Forum is nothing more or less than a coming together of political and business actors who have chosen the second option; actors committed to defining and implementing ‘better policies for better lives’, to borrow a phrase very commonly heard in this building.
It is precisely because GDF SUEZ shares this aspiration with real commitment that it supports the event that has gathered us all here today. For our Group, Building the New World is a day-to-day mission. Building the New World means nurturing the development and growth of emerging countries by providing them with all the energy they need; but it’s also about helping the world’s most underprivileged people on every continent to emerge from poverty by promoting universal access to energy.
Building the New World means being a responsible company that is committed to communities.
That course of action has given us our corporate slogan: By People For People. I’d like to give you three examples of commitments that align perfectly with some of the issues addressed by our agenda over the next two days:
- To ensure that the employment in the future is more inclusive, more open and more daring, we are fighting hard to improve equal opportunities in employment. For companies, diversity is key to success. For example, in 2013, GDF SUEZ welcomed 3,400 work/study trainees and signed a framework agreement on equality in the workplace, which sets out the Group’s diversity goals: one-third of all executive managers appointed in 2015 will be women, and women will account for 30% of all newly recruited employees. The commitments of my company extend to my chairmanship of the Fondation Agir Contre l’Exclusion, which focuses primarily on preparing young people to work in the companies of tomorrow.
- Here’s another illustration: At the end of today, you will all be asking the question What Europe for the Generations to come? The GDF SUEZ answer to this question is a Europe with the ability to maintain the competitive edge of its companies and the purchasing power of its people, without sacrificing either the environment or climate. Our commitment is unfailing, and working alongside us in the Magritte Group are 10 of Europe’s largest energy companies, all committed to promoting the case for sustainable energy at competitive prices to all the institutions of the European Union.
- At the recent Climate Summit in New York, I was able to present – to the UN – one of the proposals promoted by this grouping in Europe: the introduction of a global carbon pricing structure. For a company like GDF SUEZ, this choice is not the easy option; it means choosing responsibility to our customers, to future generations and to our planet. In anticipation of the lively discussion that will close this Forum, let me give you my firm belief: yes, a lasting guarantee of social and environmental wellbeing should undoubtedly be one of the prime aims of economic policy. Building the New World means not only supporting that objective on the road to sustainable growth shared by all, but also protecting it.
So I wish all you builders of the New World two days of stimulating, rewarding and innovative discussion.