The Citizens’ Conference initiated by the Fives Group contributes clear and encouraging recommendations for tomorrow’s industrial world
Paris, November 12, 2012 - The industrial engineering group Fives is the first French private company to adopt the Scandinavian Citizens' Conference model to discuss the future of French industry and the industrial plants of tomorrow. The Citizens' Charter developed out of that initiative was unveiled on November 7, setting out a series of thought-provoking discussion topics focusing on the reindustrialization of France.
A clear assessment of the health of French industry
"Subject to what conditions (in terms of your hopes of personal development and regional growth, and guarantees for the environment and local population) would you be prepared to accept an industrial plant near to where you live?" That was the future-focused issue addressed by a representative panel of citizens selected and trained by the market research institute Ifop at the initiative of the Fives Group.
The Citizens' Charter submitted to Fives Group Executive Chairman Frédéric Sanchez on the bicentenary of the Group sets out a precise and comprehensive assessment of the benefits that would flow from reindustrialization of the country, as well as the restrictions and constraints that could prejudice its success, particularly at local level. The Charter refers to citizens' awareness'of the importance of French reindustrialization on which the country's economic recovery, growth, image and influence partly depend'.
Labor costs, rising energy costs, regional inconsistencies, fiscal instability, administrative red tape, the shortage of qualified people, the loss of expertise, environmental issues, the cultural mistrust of industry, the lack of clarity in public and supranational subsidies, and the difficult relationship between SMEs and corporate groups: it was on issues like these that citizens took an overview of the problem posed by industry, against an awareness that the reindustrialization of France can only come about as a result of a society-wide cultural and economic revolution.
Reindustrialization is possible!
The bottom line is that the Citizens' Charter sheds light on current discussions by widening the process to include this common-sense fact: industrial plants do not exist in isolation; they are also the result of a local ecosystem, which imposes responsibilities on all stakeholders. Trust is central to the recommendations made.
Industrial companies and plant designers must be able to build plants that minimize energy consumption, new infrastructures and pollution (visual, sound and odor). They must operate transparently, make themselves known and engage fully in local life
- Local authorities and elected representatives must assume a central role in informing and explaining the issues involved to residents, with particular emphasis on the anticipated economic and social benefits. Citizen consultation processes must be defined and implemented for any industrial project adopted
- Residents and associations must not lose sight of the wider benefits to the community, which must always be the central measure against which situations are measured: an industrial plant may have disadvantages for the community, but it can also contribute a great deal
- The role of the media as sentinel is vital, but requires greater objectivity
- The national education system and public authorities in general should do more to promote industry sectors, especially at a time when tens of thousands of industrial vacancies remain unfilled
- The public authorities must consider setting out a long-term national vision for industry, with particular emphasis on a more industry-friendly planning policy and simplification of the tax structure and official procedures.
Frédéric Sanchez, Fives Group Executive Board Chairman, welcomed the high quality of the work carried out and the recommendations made by the Citizens' Charter with these words: "Deindustrialization is not a foregone conclusion. Reindustrializing the country is the responsibility of us all. That is the humble, but crystal-clear, conclusion drawn by the citizens. Let's progress beyond overly-simplistic ideas: competitiveness is not just a question of prices, costs and constraints; it is an extremely broad and all-enveloping concept. I subscribe to the idea of systemic competitiveness. As an industrialist, I am aware of the need to open up our plants to make them places that are even more effective at promoting competition, intelligence, innovation and training, and to do so in dialog with society as a whole."
This way forward is central to the 'Plants of the Future Research Project' launched by Fives to mark its bicentenary and act as the focus for a year-long cycle of events designed to bring the public face-to-face with industry experts. Fives is committed to building on this pioneering experience to continue the process of public consultation over the coming months.
Fives is an industrial engineering group born 200 years ago. It designs and manufactures process equipment, production lines and turnkey plants for the world's largest industrial companies in the aluminum, steel, glass, automotive, logistics, cement and energy sectors, both in emerging and developed countries.
In all these areas, Fives designs breakthrough innovations that anticipate and respond to the needs of its customers in terms of profitability, safety and environmental responsibility.
In 2011, Fives posted sales of €1.27 billion. It currently employs more than 6,100 people in some 30 countries.
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 23 76 21
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 23 76 21
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 23 76 21