We Mean Business’ new water commitment – with SUEZWe Mean Business
Almost half of companies that reported to CDP in 2015 did not conduct comprehensive measurement or monitoring of water use. Yet, more than a quarter of reporting companies identified opportunities to reduce emissions through improved water management. If given proper attention, action on water can be transformed from a limiting factor into an enabler for delivering on commitments to tackle climate change.
Improving water security is fundamental to achieving the low carbon ambitions set out in the COP21 Paris Agreement. Today, We Mean Business adds a commitment to improving water security to the suite of commitments we invite companies to make as part of our ‘Take Action’ campaign. The steps companies agree to take when they make the new water commitment are those outlined by the Business Alliance for Water and Climate (BAFWAC), a partnership founded by the CEO Water Mandate, CDP, SUEZ and WBCSD, supported by UNFCCC and launched on Resilience Day at COP21.
By making the water commitment, businesses commit to:
- Analyzing water-related risks and collaborative response strategies
- Measuring and reporting water use data
- Reducing impacts on water availability and quality in direct operations and along the value chain
SUEZ, a 82,000-employee water management company present in more than 70 countries, is a founding corporate partner of BAFWAC and the We Mean Business Water Commitment. “We strongly believe that business growth can come from research and innovation in the field of water-related climate-resilient solutions”, explains Hélène Valade, Director of Sustainable Development, SUEZ. “A range of technologies can be applied to help our customers monitor and control their water consumption, including smart metering, leak detection systems for water distribution networks or drop irrigation systems”.
SUEZ scrutinizes all initiatives taken by its customers – both city authorities and industries – in order to help them reach their climate targets. Alongside its solid waste management business, SUEZ intends to multiply its production of ‘alternative water’ threefold by 2030. To deliver against this target, SUEZ are collaborating with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and the ENGIE Laborelec research center, to study how to desalinate seawater through solar energy.
Its Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in the US also treats secondary effluent (treated wastewater) for reuse in non-domestic environments. Together with its satellite facilities, it produces 190,000 m3 of recycled water every day, used in a range of commercial, industrial and irrigation applications.
There is even the potential for energy production from waste water. SUEZ is participating in research into bio-methane derived from wastewater treatment plants that could supplement public gas networks, or be used as a bio-gas to fuel utility vehicles. “It is an incredible source of energy – green and renewable – and we do not talk about it often enough”, says Valade. “It can be used for implementing circular economy loops within territories and it can create jobs”.
Climate change will see extreme weather events increase, meaning that measures have to be taken globally to ensure the continuity of drinking water and sanitation. “In case of such events, restoring or maintaining the supply in drinking water and wastewater treatment services appears necessary to avoid any health and humanitarian risk”, says Hélène Valade. “We therefore invest in smart technologies for real-time monitoring and management of rainwater and stormwater. For instance the Group launched INFLUX, a predictive and dynamic network management solution for sewage system operators which provides an overall view of sewage systems across the chain, from meteorological forecasting to the quality of the receiving body of water” Smart management of water networks “is the future” says Valade, and many cities, including Paris, Barcelona and Singapore, have been quick to adopt the technology.
Climate change drives innovation and business strategy at SUEZ, explains Hélène Valade. “First and foremost we are committed to reach the 30% GHG emission reduction target by 2030”, she says. “In doing so, the Group also reduces its regulatory risks, exposure to potential carbon pricing mechanisms, as well as its supply chain risks by promoting procurement of climate-efficient technologies and renewable energy supply.”
Beyond risk management, there is opportunity, Valade concluded: “Committing to take action on water displays our efforts in monitoring, transparency and environmental excellence, which can be strong differentiating elements in calls for tenders. It gives us strategic advantage over our competitors.”