Interview Charlotte Kyle, Project manager & Product owner at Veolia Seureca: « Integrating technological progress with environmental responsibility »
What’s your background?
I am an engineer by education, having studied mathematics and sciences. I specialised in carbon footprint analysis at the start of my career and have further expanded my expertise into carbon strategy and decarbonisation for clients. I have been with Veolia for 16 years, initially starting at Veolia in England and then transitioning to Seureca in France (an engineering consultancy within Veolia) last year. I am part of a team dedicated to working on environmental footprinting, decarbonisation strategy, and climate adaptation.
What are the main missions/activities you are responsible for?
I have been a project manager contracted to the Greenpath digital platform, a software product focused on carbon footprint, for the past 18 months. Additionally, I serve as a product owner, focusing on software development for the Greenpath digital platform. This role allows me to combine my skills in project management and environmental footprint analysis. It has been a very interesting experience as I had the opportunity to learn about software development and the agile methodology. In this capacity, we prioritise tasks based on what the rest of the team is working on, define the desired features, and I make decisions regarding what we should prioritise and develop.
Can you tell me more about the Greenpath Digital Platform?
We developed this software to align more closely with Veolia’s strategy of helping clients decarbonise. Our environmental footprinting tool was initially designed to be an expert-level tool, and recently we’ve invested a significant amount of time in ensuring its usability byr the sales teams. The tool features an Action Plan tool which allows users to map future carbon emissions and identify available carbon reduction actions offered by Veolia. Users can input their carbon footprint, select carbon reduction solutions, and track how the carbon emissions decrease over time. This has been a significant step to align with Veolia’s ecological transformation strategy, and we are approaching the completion of this major development phase.
What will be your future missions?
My next mission will be to understand the needs of Seureca clients who are interested in decarbonisation. I will ensure that Greenpath DP aligns with the requirements we have at Seureca. In essence, I’ll be working on building up the consultancy business using this tool.
What are the expected skills (general and specific) for your role?
The fact that I have an engineering background is significant, as engineers are known for their problem-solving skills. This ability to solve problems is a substantial component of my role, where I focus on finding solutions to issues reported by users. Additionally, I play a crucial role in ensuring that we adhere to the project timeline and meet deadlines, which often requires making decisions to prioritise certain tasks.
I also collaborate closely with software developers, providing guidance and motivation to support their work.
Is it possible for you to continue learning while working?
Working with software developers was a new role for me, so I have been on a learning journey for the past 16 months. I am learning a lot from my colleagues…
What are your main satisfactions related to your job?
My main satisfactions come from witnessing the results of our collective efforts inside Greenpath DP. It’s rewarding to see the tangible benefits of our work and knowing that people appreciate what we’ve achieved, particularly in the problem-solving aspects of the job.
What are the constraints associated with your job?
I’ve been dedicated to the Greenpath DP project since I started the new role last year, and I’m now looking forward to expanding into working on Seureca decarbonisation projects in parallel. The experience I have gained so far will undoubtedly benefit both the tool and Seureca, as I bring new ideas for development.
Who are your clients?
Greenpath DP is an internal tool used by Veolia to provide clients with a carbon footprint, solutions for carbon reduction, and water footprinting. Biodiversity footprinting will also be included next year. The tool is adaptable and can be applied to many sectors, such as food & beverage, automotive, pharmaceutical, and onsite services. We might consider entering the external market at some point in the future.
How do you envision your job in 10 years?
Well, all I know is you have to keep evolving, stay excited, and motivated. Veolia offers a lot of opportunities, and it’s important to keep an eye on them.
The climate and environmental offering at Seureca is still emerging, and it will be great to see where it goes in the next 5 years. Having new challenges is important to me. I moved to France last year to take on the role at Seureca, and I’m currently learning French. It’s been a significant change for me after working in the UK for 15 years and staying in the same place, but I welcome the new opportunities that it brings.
The environmental sector is very important to me because climate change is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. It’s such a crucial time to be working in this field and feel like you can contribute and make a difference.
It makes you feel more positive about the situation, rather than feeling overwhelmed when you listen to or read the news.
And last but mainly for my thesis, I would like to know if, for you, digital is a catalyst for ecological transformation?
Yes, Greenpath DP is an example of that. So far there are features to import automated data, such as from Veolia’s Global Report and Hubgrade, visualise carbon emissions to make sense of data, and some AI is likely to be incorporated at some point. Translating the tool into many other languages is also on the horizon, which will ensure a truly global reach.
All these features will undoubtedly help manage our clients’ carbon footprint because:
If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Without digital technology, we wouldn’t be where we are today, building up this business, selling our services, and helping companies make positive changes. I think it’s very valuable.
Many thanks to Charlotte Kyle for her time and valuable explanations!
Interview conducted by Aïchata Dano