Every aspect of human activity has an impact on biodiversity. Protecting the wide variety of plant and animal life found on our planet is vital and one of the key challenges being undertaken by Veolia Environnement.
The company safeguards the quality of ecosystems and helps its customers preserve them. Measures designed to protect flora and fauna span a range of services such as treating wastewater, collecting waste, reducing the footprint of mass-transit infrastructure and improving the efficiency of heating networks. Still, Veolia Environnement remains vigilant, since the ecosystems themselves are instrumental in successfully implementing our missions.
Veolia Environnement's four divisions help preserve biodiversity and reduce environmental pollution. By concentrating on treating wastewater and waste, reducing atmospheric emissions from centralized district heating networks, and cutting pollution caused by private vehicles through the development of effective public-transportation solutions, the company helps prevent urban and industrial pollution from contaminating the planet's soil, air and water.
Moreover, Veolia Environnement takes takes into account the effects of its operations, such as the use of natural resources and residual pollution caused by discharge from its activities. At the same time, it factors in the need to protect biodiversity when designing facilities or taking over the running of sites for customers. Its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) reference its main facilities' location relative to areas of ecological interest, for which it sets priorities and implements action plans.
Making use of ecosystems
Healthy ecosystems are vital to the company's ability to provide a number of services. This interdependent relationship between our business activities and the earth's ecosystems helps us better protect biodiversity. Veolia Water, for instance, helps municipal and industrial customers reduce sources of accidental or chronic pollution and protect catchment areas. Preserving the quality of water resources is one way of reducing the number of steps needed to treat water.
Nature also lends Veolia Environnement a helping hand, with some tasks carried out by the ecosystems themselves. Every species performs a number of functions fundamental to a balanced ecosystem. They provide a vital contribution that the company can harness to provide key services. Ecosystems have the power to regulate air quality and clean water. Examples include the biological treatment of untreated water and wastewater, and the use of ponds or grassy strips for their self-cleaning properties. Biodiversity, therefore, makes it possible to use simpler treatment processes that are less demanding on water and energy resources.
Integrating ecosystem management into our operations
Helping pollinate the urban environment
To provide a more favorable environment for pollination, Veolia Water in France adapted the maintenance schedule for the 75 green spaces it manages in the region around Paris. These changes result in the sites becoming home to large nesting colonies of bees, helping to re-establish a critical link in the ecosystem.
Meanwhile, up to 130,000 bees housed in three hives on the green roof of Veolia's biomass plant in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy (France) are helping to pollinate the surrounding urban environment.
Supporting ecological restauration
Wood plants species protected in Senegal
In Senegal, the Veolia Environnement Foundation supports an ecological program conducted by the Observatoire Homme-Milieux (OHM) of France's CNRS, based at Tessekere.
Senegal's water and forestry department, with support from the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, has launched a campaign to plant different wood plants species on 80,000 hectares, while providing socioeconomic support to the region's 30 rural communities.
As an extension of Veolia Environnement's everyday activities, the Veolia Environnement Foundation helps set up projects sponsored by the company's employees to protect and restore outstanding-yet-vulnerable ecosystems. The Foundation provides funding and exposure for these projects. Each is chosen on the basis of strict criteria, which include inventory assessment, the effectiveness of conservation measures and international scope.