Preserving biodiversity

As citizens, scientists, corporate players and public authorities all become increasingly concerned about biodiversity loss worldwide, focusing their attention on an overall decline in species and the severe impact already felt by humans, the Group is taking action by stepping up implementation of solutions that significantly improve habitats’ ecological quality and features, both within its own scope of activity and within its customers’ field of action.
Our actions

Accelerating the implementation of biodiversity solutions

100% sustainable solutions

SUEZ is aiming to step up its role in protecting the environment and restoring our natural assets by taking action for the protection and rehabilitation of terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity. To do this, the Group is accelerating its development of “100% sustainable” solutions characterised by their positive impact on the environment, i.e. on air, water and soil.

Solutions we already offer local authorities and industry:

  • Monitoring and environmental assessment tools
  • Ecological rehabilitation plans for sites
  • Based on Nature solutions, such as vegetated discharge areas
  • Action plans to tackle invasive plant species.

A positive impact on the Earth’s natural assets, one of the cornerstones of the Group’s value proposition

  • Optimised management and use of water resources
  • Rehabilitation of the Earth’s natural habitats through remediation
  • Promoting biodiversity
  • Alternative means of water production
  • Smart agriculture

Taking part in collective international initiatives

In France, SUEZ is a stakeholder in the Entreprises Engagées pour la Nature / Act4Nature France initiative led by the Office Français de la Biodiversité (French biodiversity agency). In so doing, the Group is renewing the commitment it has made to the National Strategy for Biodiversity since 2014. Abroad, the Group is also involved in the Act4Nature International initiative led by EpE (Entreprises pour l’Environnement), in conjunction with the Business for Nature coalition run by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. SUEZ has made public 11 dated and quantified commitments in favour of biodiversity.

In 2019, SUEZ also joined “Alliance to End Plastic Waste”, an international association which brings together a number of industry players with the common goal of “zero plastic waste in our oceans”.

Action plans implemented at priority sites

Since 2008, operational action plans to boost biodiversity have been rolled out at priority sites in France and abroad. In 2019, SUEZ recorded implementation of action plans at almost 40% of its plants recognised as priority sites due to their location in protected areas.
Our references

Some examples of biodiversity preservation

Creation of a wetland at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (China)

In 2017, SUEZ NWS won a design contract for the ecological rehabilitation of wetlands at Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP). It is the Group’s largest wetland creation project, using the Dragonfly Zone concept and covering approximately 50 hectares.
The aim of the project is to rehabilitate the existing wetland to improve industrial wastewater treatment using a network of functional and natural wetlands. To meet the challenge of treating SCIP industry park’s salinated wastewater, coastal plant species with a high salinity tolerance were chosen for the wetland. This ecological engineering innovation helps to improve the quality of treated wastewater and boost the site’s high biodiversity.

Depolluting the soils while recreating a natural environment in Al Karaana lagoons (Qatar)

Located 60 km southwest of Doha, Al Karaana Lagoons were used to discharge and evaporate industrial and municipal wastewater from nearby Doha Industrial Area. The Qatar Public Works Authority (Ashghal) entrusted SUEZ in 2017 to transform a harmful environment into a healthy natural site constituting a habitat conducive to the development of fauna and flora.

State-of-the-art technologies were used to control odors and treat wastewater sludge and sediment using a thermal desorption unit to treat the most highly polluted sediments.

The Lagoons constitute a wildlife habitat for birds and fishes: 78 species of bird have been recorded at the Al Karaana Lagoons, which represents a relatively large proportion of the recognized avifauna inventory of Qatar. After rehabilitation, each lagoon can host nearly 10 natural habitats.

Restoring marine habitats in Marseille harbour (France)

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the planet’s busiest waterways. It represents over 10% of the world’s marine biodiversity yet less than 2% of its marine surface. All maritime industries operate in the Mediterranean and most are expanding, resulting in definite signs of deterioration despite over 60% of the marine area being designated a protected zone.
To recreate an ecosystem to boost marine biodiversity, SUEZ designed and installed artificial habitats along the quays at Marseille’s Pointe Rouge marina in 2015. The nurseries imitate the Posidonia meadows in which young fish shelter from predators, feed and grow before heading out to sea. This solution helps to restore marine biodiversity, particularly when combined with ecological rehabilitation work on the marine environment. In Marseille’s Bay of Cortiou, for example, actions included planting bunches of Cystoseira algae by hand so that their heavy seeds (zygotes) spread and grow, boosting biodiversity.

Listening to the sea to assess the state of biodiversity (France)

SUEZ developed the Sea@dvanced Sound solution, a 24-hour listening service for the marine environment. It uses an acoustic measurement station to enable marine managers, biologists, and industry to monitor and have a global vision of underwater biodiversity.
They can then:
  • monitor the state of the marine ecosystem and its evolution;
  • measure how effective management measures are;
  • monitor nautical activity;
  • ensure compliance with noise regulations.

This acoustic "thermometer" is the only way to monitor the health of biodiversity, at a distance and without incursion into the environment.

Raising awareness of biodiversity among students and visitors at a drinking water production site (France)

The drinking water production site at Le Pecq Croissy-sur-Seine, in the Yvelines department, is characterized by its groundwater recharge basins covering 15 hectares. Identified as a Natural Zone of Ecological, Faunistic and Floristic Interest (ZNIEFF), the site is part of the green and blue network of the Ile-de-France region and has been defined as a biodiversity reservoir. It is home to many protected species, with about one hundred different species of birds spending winter there, or using it for migratory stopover or reproduction.
Using binoculars, visitors can observe the birds from special wooden hideouts. They are taught about the water cycle and environmental protection measures. In 2017, the site was awarded the EcoJardin label: green spaces are managed with the least possible intervention and no synthetic plant protection products.

Applying an Ecological Quality Index (EQI) to waste storage facilities (France)

An Ecological Quality Index, developed within the framework of the partnership between SUEZ and the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHM), monitors changes in the ecological quality of industrial facilities over time. The Group is committed to implementing an action plan to promote biodiversity at all its priority sites* by 2025.
The EQI is a way to take stock of biodiversity before implementing development or management measures at a site. Once inventories have been completed and the index calculated, the MNHN presents the results of the EQI and recommendations for action at the site. Six sites are currently being studied: Gueltas (Morbihan), Huiron (Marne), Lambert Narbonne (Aude), Lesménils (Meurthe-et-Moselle), Satolas (Isère) and Sommauthe (Ardennes). The aim of the feedback is to study the feasibility of the proposed measures, which the site will undertake to implement and monitor as part of its action plan.

*These are sites included in the Natura 2000 network or larger than 10 hectares.

Restoring former farming land to promote biodiversity (France)

To compensate for damage to wetland affected by extension of one of the sites managed by SUEZ in Lewarde, a town in northern France, six hectares of farming land were restored to promote biodiversity. Ponds were dug, while pollard willows, hedgerows and an orchard were planted.
A partnership between the site and the Communauté de Communes Cœur d'Ostrevent (CCCO) was set up. The CCCO's integration teams manage the land ecologically: late mowing of the meadows, shrub management around the ponds outside the period of amphibian colonisation and bird reproduction, pruning of fruit trees, pollarding willows, etc.

This has allowed amphibian species to quickly colonise the area. Vegetation growth also encourages uncommon bird species, some of them threatened, to find refuge on the land.

Going one step further

“Nature-based Solutions benefit mankind and biodiversity by looking at how ecosystems function", read the interview with Benjamin Javaux, Environmental Projects Manager at SUEZ Group.