The growing success of the circular economy in the UK has now taken a key step forward with the deployment of Veolia’s latest Sustainability strategy – Impact 2023. Currently managing over 2 million tonnes of reclaimed material the company is now aiming to expand its pioneering new technologies that lower resource use. Backed by a planned multi-million pound investment by 2022, this commitment adds to the £2 billion already invested in new infrastructure across the UK.
As the driving force behind this change Veolia has also achieved significant firsts from investment in R&D, which has enabled the recycling of 350 million plastic milk bottles, more than 120 million cups, and processing of 178,000 discarded TVs and monitors. Designed to increase the pace of growth for environmental transition, the strategic initiative will drive developments that help to combat the climate imbalance and pollution, such as plastics recycling, refuse-derived fuel production, biodegradable waste recovery, and treatment of hazardous waste.
Industrial ecology services will benefit the environment by extending the current production of 220,000 tonnes of peat free compost from green waste, and 30,000 tonnes of organic fertiliser from sludge for use in agriculture – offsetting use of synthetic fertilisers and reducing carbon emissions from industry. With recent investments in nature and wildlife projects topping £1million the Veolia Environmental Trust will also look to further this work to protect and enhance biodiversity.
By manufacturing green products and energy, and developing tailored solutions for resource efficiency, Veolia UK delivers major CO2 emissions savings for its customers. Impact 2023 will increase the roll out of solutions to combat climate change including low carbon and renewable energy, energy efficiency services, electric vehicles and wastewater re-use. Over the last five years the company has made dramatic cuts in fossil fuel use by delivering renewable energy derived from sources as diverse as food waste, sludge and slurry and turning this into green electricity and heat for industry and communities.
At the launch of the strategy in the country, Gavin Graveson Executive Vice-President of Veolia UK & Ireland said “Our planet and society today find themselves at a historic turning point with awareness of environmental issues, and the circular economy is key to addressing these. 2020 is the first year of this strategic programme, which aims to make Veolia the benchmark company for ecological transformation.”
“Veolia has crucial know-how to provide solutions and we know we can advance sustainability even further. What makes us different is that we are focused on preserving resources, energy and water, and manufacturing green products, and by driving innovation we are creating new skills and jobs, and delivering wider social impact for all. This supports the green recovery and will bring benefits to local communities and the planet, potentially adding £2.9bn per annum to UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 175,000 jobs. ”