Preserving and restoring the planet’s natural capital: water, soil and air
This fact requires us to collectively call our traditional models into question. Reinventing our modes of management, production and consumption of resources is essential in order to rise to the challenges that cities are facing, such as climate change and the exponential population growth. It is also essential for SUEZ to address the challenges facing our industry, which must incorporate sustainable growth in its business models.
SUEZ, an expert in water and waste for 150 years, uses its capacity for innovation and a radical new approach to resource optimization which exploits the full potential of digital technologies. We want our innovation capacity to encourage recycling, recovering and producing secondary raw materials and alternative resources. We will reach that goal by supporting our customers as they change from a linear model, which over consumes resources, to a circular model, aiming to recycle and recover them for future use.
These resources are essential to life and to our collective future, a fact we, at SUEZ, are deeply connected to. We’re committed to creating innovative solutions and sustainable models that create value for our customers.
A worldwide push for a growth model using fewer resources
Population and urban growth are impacting the need for water and the volumes of waste to be treated. Therefore, infrastructures in these urban environments are denser and more complex to manage.
- By 2030, 60% of the 8.5 billion population will live in cities
- 41 mega-cities will be populated by more than 10 million inhabitants
- In 2030, 40% of the world’s population will live in zones exposed to hydric stress
- The volume of urban waste will increase by 70% by 2050
- The world’s need for water will exceed 40% of what’s currently available on earth by 2030
- 16,119 of the estimated 40,177 animal and plant species in the world could disappear, putting entire ecosystems at risk
- Estimated time when mineral resources will be exhausted (on the basis of their use in 2009)
We’re keen to monitor public opinion on environmental protection, so SUEZ has opened a Global Resource Observatory in partnership with the Harris Interactive institute. In 2015, studies have shown that an environmental consciousness is emerging in all the countries we 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 "Resources are over exploited"
- 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 energy law is transiting to green growth and aims to combat wastefulness and promoting a circular economy. It sets several goals:
- Reduce the production of waste by 10% between 2010 and 2020
- Recover as materials, 70% of the waste created by the building and public works sector by 2020
In China’s 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), “green development” is one of the pre-requisites of the country’s continued economic growth. 10 objectives out of 13 take the environment into consideration.
- 15% decrease in the energy intensity of the GDP
- 18% drop in the carbon concentration of the GDP
- 25% decrease of fine particles in the air
As for the European Union, the new Circular Economy Package sets an ambitious goal for recycling:
- Recovery of 60% of municipal waste by 2025 and 70% by 2030
- Recovery of 65% of bio-waste by 2025 and 70% by 2030
The demand for innovative economic models, disconnected from a rise in the consumption of resources is growing. The circular economy offers a promising outlook.
- $1,000 billion could be saved by reducing the consumption of virgin raw materials, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation
- €12 to €23 billion would be generated for every percentage point of reduction in resource consumption, according to the Institut Montaigne
- The global waste-to-energy market could grow at an annual rate of 6%
- The global market for digital technologies for water is expected to be worth €27.5 billion in 2021, compared to €19.5 billion in 2016
- The cities will have to spend $41,000 billion to digitalize their infrastructures over the next 20 years
- Agriculture must also address the issue of increasingly scarce resources (the demand for irrigation infrastructures, for example), as they will need water distribution and wastewater treatment services.
- The global industrial water market is expected to be worth €121 billion in 2021, compared to €95 billion in 2016