Veolia - Resourcing the World

The Asda Environmental Leadership Award, Finalist, 2016

Veolia is tackling resource scarcity and climate change by challenging its staff to develop innovative products which reuse materials while opening up new revenue streams.

Good for the environment

  • Veolia has reduced its internal and customer carbon emissions. Low carbon energy has cut annual carbon dioxide emissions for customers by over 400,000 tonnes.
  • Over 20% of Veolia UK and Ireland's £1.7bn revenue is now generated through selling products which reuse or recycle existing materials.

Good for business

  • Veolia has seen improved financial performance through its Resourcing the World programme, opening up new revenue streams with innovative products.
  • The company has also found it has increased brand awareness and seen enhanced staff engagement through its internal campaign.

Veolia logo

Overview

Through its Resourcing the World programme Veolia is working to address three global trends - rising populations, resource scarcity and volatility, and climate change – by cutting carbon emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels and raw materials.

It is doing this by: 

  • Investing in innovation through ideas pitched to a panel of experts at regular Innovation Forums (e.g. making black bags from used plastic bags, recycling asthma inhalers) Successful ideas are piloted and put into practice. So far £2m in revenue has been generated from Innovation projects.

  • Generating renewable energy by converting waste and wastewater to energy, using biomass, biogas, process by-products and landfill gas capture.

  • Partnering with research centres to explore the benefits of a circular economy and imagine how the cities and homes of the future will operate.

Veolia has cut its carbon emissions and successfully reduced its reliance on raw materials - more than 20% of Veolia UK and Ireland’s £1.7bn revenue is now generated through selling ‘circular’ products which reuse or recycle existing materials. The company has also been able to access new markets and seen positive financial benefits, including new revenue streams and increased efficiency.

Engaging external stakeholders

Veolia has identified several key external stakeholders to engage with its Resourcing the World programme:

  • Customers - Veolia works with its customers to reduce their environmental impacts, creating reports for them that outline the CO2 equivalent of their waste/water/energy usage. 

  • Government - Veolia has lobbied on key issues and helping to organise a cross-party Social Value Act roundtable.

  • Innovators - the company opened up its Innovation Forum, inviting external innovators and technologists to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. 

  • Public - Veolia partnered with green creative agency HUBUB to launch the Neat Streets campaign, featuring interactive installations aimed at stopping people from littering.

  • Business - partnering with IBM, Veolia has delivered smart water readers which use weather patterns and pressure/temperature indicators to predict and prevent floods and leaks. 

  • Universities - Veolia worked with Imperial College London to research the benefits of the circular economy, finding it could contribute £29 billion to UK GDP and create 175,000 jobs. 

  • Suppliers - All Veolia's suppliers are signed up to the company's Sustainable Procurement Policy.

For Veolia Resourcing the World is core business. The company has invested time and resources to reach their 14,000 employees through their internal campaign ‘It takes every one of us to Resource the World’.

What Veolia's Senior Executive Vice-President UK & Ireland said:

“We firmly believe that being responsible is not just the right thing to do, it is the best thing to do – people want to buy from, work and partner with socially responsible businesses. At Veolia we have gone through transformational change to address the challenges of the future, adapting our business model in order to contribute to the circular economy through closed loop solutions, prioritising the employment of disadvantaged people and reducing our carbon emissions. As well as helping the environment, this is having a positive impact on our bottom line.” - Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia Senior Executive Vice-President UK & Ireland