By Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ
Regarding waste management, the situation has also strongly evolved. Rather than simply collecting and dumping waste, we now have to embed the waste management value chain in the principles of circular economy, to produce secondary raw materials and renewable energy.
Circular economy is the opposite of a siloed model, I truly believe that as companies, we have a key role to play in order to encourage cooperation between economic players, to break down the walls between actors, to organize dialogue with stakeholders: companies, NGOs, governments, citizens.
This economic model represents a different way of being and behaving. It implies that all industries connect and share resources and information like never before. Plastic recycling for instance brings together the chemistry industry, the bottling industry, the oil industry, and of course end-consumers who have both to drive the offer by their buying behaviour and are key players in the increase of waste sorting.
Yet, we need reasonable regulation to achieve our goals. The European Union, for instance, is pushing - as highlighted in its recent proposal for a 2050 climate strategy - for higher recycling rates and secondary raw materials production. And while our capacity of supplying secondary raw materials and renewable energy is progressively growing, one could ask: will the demand meet our offer in the long term? Most manufacturers still focus on virgin raw materials rather than recycled ones considering only their prices. If we want to accelerate the transition to circular economy, implementing measures by putting everywhere economic incentive as a visible and predictable price on carbon, will be one of the essential leverage to facilitate the switch between linear and circular economy.
At SUEZ, we constantly work on improving our solutions, thanks to a strong innovation strategy. Thus, we combine the efforts of our research and innovation centers with the technologies developed by promising start-ups, innovative SMEs, involving also our customers in order to meet better their emerging needs. It’s a mix that allows us to be more efficient and to adapt faster to circular economy. That’s our way forward.