Demographic and urban growth, global warming and natural resources shortage have all prompted a worldwide drive to shift towards a growth model that consumes fewer resources. The reinvention of our modes of management, production and consumption of resources is at the very heart of our strategy. And of our ambition to become the leader of the resource revolution.
We are ready for the resource revolution
By 2050, the planet will have 9.6 billion inhabitants, most of whose will live in cities. 40% of the population will live in zones exposed to hydric stress, and sources of minerals such as zinc, iron or copper will be nearing exhaustion.
This outlook requires us to collectively call our traditional models into question. Reinventing our modes of management, production and consumption of resources has become essential in order to rise to the challenges of cities facing climate change and the exponential growth of their populations. We must also address the challenges facing industry, which must incorporate sustainable growth in its activities.
SUEZ, an expert in water and waste for 150 years, is fully engaged in the resource revolution. We call on our innovation capacity for a radically new management of resources by optimizing usages that exploit the full potential of new and digital technologies, by recycling, recovering and producing secondary raw materials and alternative resources and by supporting our customers as they make the change from a linear model that over-consumes resources, to a circular model that recycles and recovers them.
Resources are essential to life and to our future, a fact that entails a particular responsibility for us. As the leader of the resource revolution, we are committed to creating innovative solutions and sustainable models that are sources of performance and value for our customers.
For SUEZ, the resource revolution must be:
because it aims to regenerate resources that are essential to life and the future according to the principles of the circular economy.
because it involves tangible and innovative actions to secure resources.
because it engages everyone who contributes, each at their own level, to better manage and secure resources for the future.
A worldwide push for a growth model that consumes fewer resources
Population and urban growth are increasingly impacting the demand for water and the volumes of waste to be treated. They are also increasing the need for infrastructures in urban environments that are becoming denser and more complex to manage.
- 60% of the 8.5 billion human beings will live in cities by 2030
- 41 mega-cities will have more than 10 million inhabitants by 2030
- 40% of the world’s population will live in zones exposed to hydric stress by 2035
- The volume of urban waste will increase by 70% by 2050
- The world’s need for water will exceed 40% of the available quantities by 40% by 2030
- 16,119 of the estimated 40,177 animal and plant species in the world could disappear, at the expense of the ecosystems
- Estimated years when mineral resources will be exhausted (on the basis of their use in 2009)
Keen to monitor public opinion with regard to environmental protection, SUEZ has opened a Global Resource Observatory in partnership with the Harris Interactive institute.
2015 studies showed that a real environmental consciousness is emerging in all the countries studied (Source: World Resource Observatory, Harris Interactive-SUEZ, March 2015:
- 95% of respondents in China, 92% in France and 77% in the United States think that "Resource are subject to over-exploitation"
- 90% of respondents in China, 88% in France and 72% in the United States think that "We need to support the circular economy"
In France, the law on the energy transition for green growth aims to combat wastefulness and to promote the circular economy. It sets several goals, such as:
- Reduce the production of waste by 10% between 2010 and 2020
- Recover as materials 70% of the waste produced by the building and public works sector by 2020
In China’s 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), “green development” is one of the prerequisites of the country’s continued economic growth. 10 objectives out of 13 concern the environment.
- 15% decrease in the energy intensity of the GDP
- 18% drop in the carbon intensity of the GDP
- 25% decrease of fine particles in the air
In the European Union, the Commission’s next Packet should set several ambitious recycling targets for 2030, including:
- Recovery of 75% of packaging waste
- Recovery of 65% of municipal waste
The demand for innovative economic models that are disconnected from a rise in the consumption of resources is growing significantly. The circular economy is one option that offers a promising outlook.
- $1,000 billion could be saved by reducing the consumption of virgin raw materials, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation.
Investments in digital technologies that allow for a better allocation of resources and more efficient coordination between players will continue apace in cities.
- The value of the market for solutions for smart cities is estimated at $400 billion by 2020.
- The smart technologies market in the water industry should increase by 14% by 2018.
- The cities will have to spend $41,000 billion to digitalise their infrastructures over the next 20 years.
Agriculture must also address the issue of increasingly scarce resources (the need for irrigation infrastructures), as must industry, which needs water distribution and wastewater treatment services.
- The industrial water market is estimated at $21 billion between 2014 and 2018.