2023 highlights of our sustainability commitments

Our sustainability roadmap includes 24 commitments revolving around three pillars: climate, nature and social. In 2023, it has been rolled out to all the Group’s entities, each of which now has its own action plan.
  • Significant progress has been made in contributing to the decarbonisation of energy: 

- The target of being self-sufficient in terms of electricity use was achieved in Europe, reducing the Group’s dependence on imported energy, particularly energy made from fossil fuels. New large-scale projects to produce energy from wastewater and waste were initiated in 2023, such as the anaerobic digester at the Pau wastewater treatment plant in France.
- Solid recovered fuel (SRF), by offering manufacturers an alternative to gas and coal, results in lower GHG emissions for our clients and helps communities achieve their low-carbon energy transition. New flagship projects got underway in 2023, such as the project with French mineral based chemicals producer Humens, which will reduce the Novacarb plant’s CO2 emissions by 60% from the end of 2025.
- We are also making progress on making our own electricity consumption more sustainable. In Europe, more than 30% of the electricity consumed by SUEZ in 2023 consists of renewable or recycled energy. We will continue initiatives to increase both our purchases of green energy1 and local electricity production at our sites. For example, we have recently signed our first two PPAs (Power Purchase Agreement) related to electricity generated by photovoltaic facilities installed in former landfill sites in France. By 2026, 14 new solar photovoltaic facilities will come into service on former landfill sites in France.

  • As regards decarbonising our value chain, the Group reduced its overall Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 4.2%2 between 2021 and 2023. These results were driven especially by our recycling and recovery activities3 , where emissions were reduced by 11.3%. That reduction stemmed from improvements in the biogas capture process at waste storage sites, particularly in Morocco, France and the United Kingdom, and the optimisation of fuel consumption in our waste collection services.

  • As regards adapting our sites to the consequences of climate change, in 2023 we developed a tool for assessing exposure to the 28 risks described in the European taxonomy. That tool will be rolled out in 2024 to enable the most exposed sites to prepare an adaptation plan.

  • Resource preservation is central to our business. In 2023, we treated 2.8 billion m3 of wastewater, helping to maintain the quality of water resources. By recycling waste, we produced 2.7 million tonnes of secondary raw materials, thus avoiding the consumption of an equal amount of natural resources. We continued innovating alongside our clients and partners to reduce pressure on natural resources, through projects such as:

- performance contracts that include waste prevention targets, of which we signed three in France, thus contributing to the major environmental objective of waste reduction;
- our first project related to plastic recovery in China with our partner Taichu Environmental Resource Management, through which we will collect and sort 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year;
- launch of the project of a new wastewater treatment plant in Nice, which will recycle 5 million m3 of water per year.

  • As regards our commitment on the social pillar, we made progress regarding health and safety in 2023 by reducing accident frequency and achieving a significant reduction in accident severity. We are maintaining efforts to achieve our priority goal of “zero major and fatal accidents”. On another note, the number of pro bono volunteer hours contributed by employees of the Group to local associations has reached a record level of 6,738 hours in 2023. Proactive policies, particularly in the United Kingdom and France, where we adopted a Solidarity Commitment Charter, contributed to these excellent results.

  • Promoting the values of diversity and inclusion lies at the heart of SUEZ leadership model. Gender equality is a key part of this commitment. The gender equality index that SUEZ has been publishing in France since 2020 was extended to the whole Group in 2023. The Group achieved an index score of 83.6 in 2023, and is aiming to increase that to over 85 by 2027.
1 Through power purchase agreements and renewable electricity certificates.
2 Market-based.
3 Excluding waste-to-energy.