COP23: Veolia mobilizes for the resilience of cities

The 23rd UN Conference of the Parties on climate change - COP23 - is taking place in Bonn, Germany from 5 to 17 November. It is chaired by Fiji, the first developing island state to hold this office. The challenge is to step up the fight against global warming and set the world on the path to safer and more prosperous development. The conference takes place against the background of the extreme weather events in Asia, the Americas, and the Caribbean, which have generated further emergencies.
More than ever, it is necessary to integrate and organize adaptation challenges at territorial level. Therefore Veolia today organized a conference in the French Pavilion entitled "Resilience of the territories: together protecting and building the city of tomorrow". Laurent Auguste, Senior Executive Vice President Development, Innovation and Markets, explained how the Group helps territories to adapt to climate change.

In territories exposed to extreme weather events, climate change adaptation strategies involving all the local stakeholders can be implemented. Apart from taking into account the risks related to climate change, resilience offers the opportunity to look at cities differently and build the cities of tomorrow with new, closer cooperation between actors at the territorial level.

Making risk a growth opportunity

As part of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative, Veolia has developed a joint offer in partnership with the reinsurer Swiss Re to help cities increase their resilience. This innovative methodology was deployed in New Orleans, USA. During 5 months of study in the field, Veolia analysed more than 200 of the city’s assets. Swiss Re used a risk simulation model to map the territory. This approach enabled the city to better understand its vulnerabilities and better protect its critical infrastructure.

Improving the resilience of a territory thanks to better management of its resources

Renewing resources through the circular economy also reduces the dependency of the territories. In Rostock, Germany, where every year Veolia recycles one billion plastic bottles, 31,000 tonnes of oil are saved and 110,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions are avoided. CO2 capture allows large-scale decarbonisation of industrial processes: thanks to a partnership between Veolia and Carbon Clean Solutions Limited, in Tamil Nadu in India a coal-fired power plant captures its 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and converts them into sodium carbonate used, for example, to manufacture glass at a cost of $30 per tonne of CO2 - 50% less than the cost of existing capture technologies.

Strengthening social ties and connections between inhabitants

Through social entrepreneurship incubators called "Pop Ups", Veolia contributes to territories’ social and economic dynamism. The Group also develops digital platforms, such as the Urban Pulse  application, which help to more effectively connect people to their city.

"A more resilient, more inclusive and circular city improves its attractiveness and the quality of life of its citizens. This new urban strategy is giving cities back to the people," concluded Laurent Auguste.



Urban resilience figures

Le nombre de catastrophes naturelles a été multiplié par deux depuis 1970.
Les pertes économiques qui en découlent s’élèvent à 314 Mds $ /an selon le Global Assessment Report on Disaster risk.
D’ici 2025, 4 600 milliards de dollars de PIB seraient menacés par les changements climatiques. 

Pour la Banque mondiale, chaque euro investi en prévention des risques permet d’économiser jusqu’à 7 euros après crise.

The conference brought together a high-level panel:

Jean Jouzel, climatologist and former vice-president of the IPCC
→  Laurent Michel, Director General of Energy and Climate, Ecological and Solidarity Transition Ministry 
→  Ronan Dantec, Chair of the association Climate Chance and senator for the Loire-Atlantique
→  Jean-Charles Lardic, city of Marseille Director of Foresight 

More : 

> See the film on New Orleans, a resilient city to tackle tomorrow’s challenges
> Resilient cities, for cities that are more resistant to shocks and risks 
> Veolia’s position on the climate 
> Veolia’s blog “let’s talk climate” 
> COP23