ENGIE has been working with Emmaüs, a homelessness charity, for several years, helping both it and the people it supports to form greener habits. It is a partnership that strengthens the ties between ENGIE and civil society. We take a look at what this means with Valérie Fayard, Deputy Delegate General in charge of Innovation and Development at Emmaüs France.
What do you and the rest of civil society expect from ENGIE?
In my view, it matters to civil society that an international group like ENGIE can place alignment with the most ambitious targets yet in the fight against climate change at the heart of its strategy, like the NegaWatt scenario. This scenario rethinks how we see energy, using a three step process: (1) restraint (2) energy efficiency (3) and renewable energies. In the short term this means removing energy production from coal- and oil-fueled power stations, and nuclear power stations in the medium term, as well as a massive investment in green and low carbon energy.
Big business must, at the very least and in an ideal world, build the financial and human resources needed to fight energy poverty and support energy-poor customers. Likewise, they should do all they can to encourage their customers and wider society to save energy.
In line with recent laws – in particular the duty of vigilance – businesses should expand their responsibility by paying attention to the human and environmental impact of their work within local ecosystems. This responsibility should also be manifested internally, by paying special attention to the psychological and social risks that come with profound transformation.
Can you sum up your partnership with ENGIE in just a few words?
ENGIE has been supporting Emmaüs for several years already. We work together in three areas that are directly related to the Group’s expertise: helping to control energy costs by supporting the renovation and construction of Emmaüs’ residential and office spaces; fighting energy poverty, in particular by providing financial support and practical cooperation with SOS Familles Emmaüs, which supports households with bad debt; and awareness-raising and training in environmental responsibility. ENGIE is helping Emmaüs’ groups and their target audiences to adopt greener habits.
How does this partnership help to create overall value?
The partnership strengthens the ties between ENGIE and civil society, and is having a major social impact. On a social level, ENGIE helps with Emmaüs’ charity work to fight against poverty and exclusion. On environmental matters, we have a direct impact by supporting work on energy performance, and an indirect impact by raising the awareness of environmental responsibility for both organizations and individuals.
In your view, what is ENGIE’s positioning on poverty and access to energy? How can it be improved?
Initiatives in the field are now supported through patronage, or implemented directly by BU in France and abroad, to support energy-poor communities, and promote the use of energy that is more accessible and sustainable. The initial challenge is to maintain and consolidate the resources implemented to support communities affected by energy poverty, especially by protecting the level of service provided by ENGIE’s network of regional contacts. In addition to this, ENGIE could always take action further upstream from energy poverty issues, preventing it from arising by consolidating initiatives like those implemented with Emmaüs: empowering players in the fight against energy poverty, in all its forms, to do more and have greater impact.