Celebrated by the UN on June 5, the World Environment Day has chosen “It’s Time for Nature” as its theme in 2020 — because the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. During this unprecedented time, nature is sending us the message that we are close to breaking point. It is time to reinvent our relationship with the environment; that’s why Veolia has pledged to protect nature and biodiversity.
Ramping up the environmental transition
The Covid-19 pandemic serves as a reminder that the well-being of humans — and, more generally, that of all living beings — depends on nature. Biodiversity, ecosystems and their delicate balance must be protected. Veolia’s business (water, waste and energy) are directly linked to natural environments (air, water and soil) and contribute to protecting the environment in the regions where we operate, notably by purifying river water and limiting soil pollution. Veolia’s commitment to the environment is the core of its purpose, “Combating pollution and ramping up the environmental the environmental transition.”
Veolia’s 10 solutions to protect the natural environment
- Purifying water in natural environments by processing wastewater and protecting plants and wildlife: Veolia has developed solutions that eliminate different micropollutants in water that may interfere with the healthy functioning of living beings.
- Reusing wastewater in order to protect resources and aquatic environments: in regions experiencing severe water stress in Windhoek, Namibia, Veolia recycles wastewater to guarantee the long-term supply of drinking water; and in Durban, South Africa, the Group recycles 98% of the SWTW plant’s wastewater. Once treated, the wastewater is used in local industries’ production processes.
- Collecting and reusing plastics to combat land and water pollution and the climate imbalance: in Indonesia, Veolia is helping to give plastic a second life with the STOP project by transforming waste into resources.
- Processing hazardous waste to prevent the most complex pollutants from contaminating natural environments (air, water and soil): Veolia helps manufacturers minimize their impact on the environment, such as when closing mines.
- Harnessing low-carbon solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that fuel the climate imbalance and damage biodiversity: Veolia uses carbon neutral processes at the Renault plant in Tangier, Morocco.
- Developing the composting of organic waste to enrich soils ecologically: Veolia uses urban compost to make soils more fertile as part of the QualiAgro project.
- Restoring ecosystems to protect natural environments, adapt to the consequences of the climate imbalance (such as flooding or drought) and preserve the resources offered by nature (water, air, food, etc.): on an 8-hectare wetland on the Sinopec site in China, water quality is improving and biodiversity is being restored.
- Developing the environmental management of our sites to protect biodiversity and ecosystems: Veolia has been managing the largest well field in France at Crépieux-Charmy, a natural area spanning 375 hectares that supplies water to the city of Lyon, since 1987.
- Designing eco-districts to tackle environmental and social issues and contribute to communities’ well-being: in Paris, the Boucicaut eco-district is a reservoir of biodiversity in a dense urban environment.
- Raising awareness among employees, subcontractors and the general public of the importance of protecting biodiversity: in Paris, Veolia is a partner to La REcyclerie, a site that experiments with civil society’s engagements to the environment. Similarly, the Veolia Foundation supports the scientific expeditions carried out by Tara on seas, oceans and rivers, raising public awareness of major environmental issues.
An international movement supported by the UN
As part of World Environment Day, Veolia is organizing a photo competition for its employees in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to illustrate their commitments to nature. Competitors have until July 5 to participate. The best photos will be shared on Veolia and UNEP’s social media accounts.
Tools for the environmental management of our sites:
Veolia is committed to taking action on customer sites located in delicate ecosystems by implementing environmental management, ending the use of pesticides and raising awareness among employees, subcontractors and the general public. The Group uses various tools and initiatives to do so:
● measurement of biodiversity issues at sites through a comprehensive assessment
● Greenpath, an environmental platform for calculating carbon, water and biodiversity footprints
● the Ecological calculator, a free online tool for evaluating economic and environmental assessments and managing green spaces in an environmentally friendly way
● the Green Spaces Charter, to aid sites and landscape professionals transition to more environmentally friendly practices
● the Environmental Management Guide, to implement actions to promote biodiversity on sites
● research projects for the protection of environments and our customers’ innovative initiatives
● the guidance of a network of internal experts from the Group’s businesses and research and innovation
● partnerships with, for example, the French Committee of the IUCN or German environmental association NABU
● actions to raise awareness among Veolia’s stakeholders such as conferences, open day events, information meetings, publications and educational visits. The Group has also nominated a Biodiversity sponsor from its Executive Committee — Philippe Guitard, Senior Executive Vice President, Central and Eastern Europe, who thinks “biodiversity at Veolia is about changing the culture and reengineering our activities”.