In 2012, Fives invited a panel of citizens – representative of the French population – to consider and discuss the factories of the future as part of a Citizens’ Conference organized by the research institute Ifop. They answered the following question:
"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?"
The citizens had previously made clear the absolute urgency of reindustrializing France, highlighting the curbs and constraints that currently impede and slow down this process. These include not only objective restrictions, such as addressing the many types of pollution that result from industrial plant location, but also subjective restrictions that often take the form of fears expressed by local communities: both types of restriction conspire to put the brakes on French industrial development.
The citizens presented their vision of the ideal industrial plant, supported by a series of recommendations for industry and the public authorities.
In their view, the ideal industrial plant must comply fully with conditions that are now seen as absolutely essential:
- health and safety
- sustainability (free of pollution and using renewable energy)
- reduced noise and visual pollution
Designing the ideal industrial plant must become a guiding and unifying goal for industry. Doing so involves taking account of very significant requirements in terms of stakeholder communication, local engagement and environmental responsibility.
Lastly, the issue of trust is a central theme of the Citizens’ Charter. Mutual trust built on an amicable relationship between industrial plants and citizens must be encouraged by:
- industry, through engaging with local communities and keeping them fully informed
- local politicians and local authorities, through their educational role
- local residents and associations, through their role in defending the public interest
- the media, through their objectivity and critical viewpoint