Sustainable development is firmly anchored in this! For almost fifteen years as director of sustainable development at Eiffage, then in charge of cross-functional innovation, she champions the design of a sustainable city and infrastructure, supports the group in its transformation and in the application of a virtuous and transparent environmental policy . But Valérie David’s history of environmental and social issues, such as her strong attachment to Europe, is older.
This story has roots in the early 1990s. After a short career in education, she entered Sciences Po and won the European section. She then joined the European institutions and started working on the Structural Funds, the allocation of which to Member States depends on social and environmental impacts. “The Beginning of Sustainable Development”she likes to say.
Valérie David no longer lets go of questions about climate and ecological issues. Passionate, she is inexhaustible on the subject. This gave him, and still deserves, blows. “I often felt like I was totally ridiculous.” She recalls interventions where the audience listened to her with a discreet ear: “It was the green minute”the moment of good conscience.
She no longer sees this kind of adventure. She even believes she is more in the 3rd phase of a series she mentions “Ridiculous/Rejection/Clarity” † “Everyone has understood the problems and has become aware of them. However, this phase change also brings excesses: on the one hand, we are accused of greenwashing, on the other hand, some people think that they do not need us to implement the necessary efforts.”
In the ranks of the Construction Major, Valérie David is described as a hard worker, a passionate person, a person who really helps and advances the group, emphasizing the employees, their know-how and collective work. She sees herself as someone who is naturally pessimistic and demanding. In any case, it is with a woman of conviction that batiactu was able to discuss extensively, as she spent almost two hours of her time with us, via video conference.
What are the events or facts of society that have challenged her in recent weeks? What does he think about the ecological emergency? How does she view the necessary transformation of the construction sector and the living environment? After she and her team just published the Eiffage Group’s 3rd Climate Report, what lessons, what examples of achievements and what areas for improvement does she keep? Here are some of the questions discussed during this meeting. Valérie David shares her vision of our sector, the news, but also, to get to know her better and understand what drives her, a portrait in five sections.
Batactu. What events in the news have particularly challenged you in recent months?
Valerie David. There are several. A certain polarization of society around ecological issues has become even more apparent with the presidential campaign, and it questions me. The urgency is well experienced by many, it is positive! However, the reactions do not seem fair to me and I notice strong contradictions in society and between generations: more and more young people are interested in these questions, which is great in itself; but the political interpretation made of it by a certain margin worries me. For example, justifying radical solutions without thinking about preserving the democratic model would lead to a form of dictatorship, be it environmental, scientific or degrowth.
“Justifying radical solutions without thinking about preserving the democratic model would lead to a form of dictatorship, be it ecological, scientific or degrowth.”
To give a small example of this polarization, I published our 3rd Climate Report on Linkedin a few days ago. It is an intentional, compact document, with an architecture imposed by the TFCD repository (“Task Force on Climate Disclosures”), lots of numbers and computer graphics, not necessarily palatable to the general public. Very soon after publication, an anonymous account called “Greenwashing Pearls” calls me personally and leaves a damning comment even without reading the report. Simply because when you practice in the construction world you are supposed to be dirty, polluting and lying. Anecdote aside, this kind of irreconcilable binary attitude makes me wonder about society’s vision and how to organize the fight against climate challenges effectively. And yet we are on a continent, Europe, whose political expression, the European Union, is currently making tremendous progress that we do not talk about enough.
“The European Union is currently making tremendous progress that we don’t talk about enough”
Batactu. However, Europe is a divisive issue in the public debate, the presidential campaign showed. What is she doing that deserves more attention?
DV Europe has adopted a broad, intelligent and systemic definition of sustainable development. Climate challenge, conservation of water and natural resources, circular economy, conservation of living ecosystems: nothing is excluded. The EU must be a leader in the ecological transformation of society and the economy, and equip itself to do so. I am confident that it will reach a level that will be the highest in the world in terms of climate.
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