Veolia is a member of national and international bodies in fields that include research, regulation and advocacy in favor of the circular economy. In 2016, Veolia signed up to the New Plastics Economy initiative run by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The aim is to re-imagine the entire plastics value chain worldwide.
At the end of 2017, Veolia contributed to the French government’s invitation to draft a roadmap for the circular economy, working through multi-actor organizations and waste industry trade federations.
We are also members of Factor10, the circular economy project of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. WBCSD is a global organization of leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable world.
In France, Veolia partners with the National Circular Economy Institute, an influential leader in matters relating to ecological intelligence and resource economics.
As a cycle of continuous positive development, the circular economy requires an ecosystem of actors, suppliers or beneficiaries to cooperate, connecting their skills and resources so that what is waste for one becomes a resource for another. A resource-based approach favors tie-ups with companies and startups and this makes it easier to get involved from the earliest stages. This in turn improves the recyclability of products and increases the use of secondary raw materials. It is an approach that is rooted in local connections, involving local bodies and residents as more than simply consumers. With waste, the challenge is not to pit one processing industry against another, but to unearth where they can be complementary. One example of this resource-based approach is Veolia’s partnership, in place since 2016, with social and solidarity economy startup Eqosphere. The aim is to help retail professionals to identify ways to cut waste and reuse unsold food.
Another example of our local focus is a collaborative platform developed with a French startup called Yoyo. This makes it easier for volunteers to help the planet by sorting their waste at home while also earning rewards. They simply place their used plastic bottles and packaging materials in one of the differently colored special Yoyo bags. The products collected are currently processed by recycling firms in and around Bordeaux, Lyon, Mulhouse and Marseille thanks to the partnership with Veolia, which in turn benefits from an extra stream of high quality plastic waste.
Veolia promotes innovation by cooperating with innovative startups. One such is the U-Start program in Germany. It has worked with 12 startups since 2016 in the fields of the circular economy, climate protection and resource efficiency. In 2019, the seventh U-Start campaign was held in partnership with EIT RawMaterials. The call for projects asked for innovative recycling concepts for electronic waste and alternative outlets for secondary products such as recycled paper, glass-fiber composites, recycled carbon fiber, and so on.